Date:Monday March 4 2013
The mini-bus has departed Carrington for Villa Park with Maicon driving and Vital Villa's Mike Field tells us like it is ahead of tonight's big game...
1. What brought you to support Aston Villa?
'As I recollect, I was playing football with some friends who supported the Villa, they started telling tales of the players we had at the point, Gordon Cowans, David Platt, Paul McGrath and they were basically just better stories than I heard coming from friends of a blue persuasion. I have been to both grounds with different sets of mates, and Villa Park just fitted me better. That might just be a touch of nostalgia and wishful thinking though, I could've just been rebelling because most of my family were City supporters and I wanted to be different!'
2. If you could pick one reason why you are proud to be a Villa fan what would it be?
'I'd have always said our history, tradition and whether or not those days will ever return, there's a story to Aston Villa - especially through William McGregor - that few other clubs, even from that time, could ever share or revel in. It's that atmosphere, nostalgia and history that leaves me never ashamed to wear our colours, even in dark times on the pitch.
'Of course recently, our association with Acorns and all the community driven enterprises the club involves itself in always bring a smile to my face, and as shown by Villans everywhere, and the larger footballing family as it now seems to be termed, in their response to Stilyan Petrov's news, and the fundraising efforts the club have again involved themselves in in response to that, shows that there can be more to a club and the support of one than for just 90 minutes.
'It can be a vehicle for good and for helping to create change.'
3. Who is your favourite Villa player of all time and why?
'With some of the players that have graced our field over the years, I know you will get a variety of different answers from different 'vintages' of fans shall we say. For me, it has to be Paul McGrath. First real hero growing up, and I doubt I'll ever change that answer.'
4. Paul Lambert seems to be getting more support from his owner and board than most managers (well done). Do you think the club should stick with him whatever the outcome of your season?
'In some ways it's admirable the board have stood by their man, having set the foundations for how we are going to achieve sustainability and hopefully success, despite this season being more pant tightening than even the most pessimistic fan thought it would be when we kicked off. Others however would point to with our new direction being so influential in 'who' we signed during the summer, the only sensible reason to sack Lambert would've been for January and we splashed the cash again. Up until the Chelsea hammering, performances and results were steadying out, there was a tangible improvement albeit it small after our loss to you, which returned 9 points and gave some room to breath. So a January change, was unlikely because it would upset that modicum of progress.
'Unfortunately it then really fell apart for a while after the Chelsea loss, and whilst performances have most definitely picked up again lately, you won't find many fans happy with the results, the way we still blow leads and you'd be pushed to find many I think who would say conclusively, that whatever happens, we should still stand by Lambert.
'The practical person in me says it would be pointless to sack him, even if we went down, he knows his players, he should know our weaknesses, and of course he has experience of bringing a team up from the Championship, so he's maybe more suited to that job than the one he took.
'Others would say with how spectacularly wrong he has got it at points this season, our aim would have to be automatic promotion back, what would happen if he hasn't learnt from that, and would fresh blood in the hotseat galvanise people?
'I honestly don't know myself if I try to answer subjectively because I know a run of four wins would be more likely to see me say, yes stick with him, than I'd be inclined to if we lose the next four.
'Objectively, I'm as above, with the hope we firstly avoid relegation, but that he also fixes and learns from his mistakes, he adjusts the experience issue so it's more balanced, and our youngsters (many of whom won't have that excuse come the next campaign) have leaders they can look to when the gameplan isn't going to plan.'
5. If there was one player in the Villa squad that you would want to keep above all others who would it be and why?
'Andreas Weimann for me. Came through the ranks and for those that follow reserve football, he's been one we've wanted to see get his chance because he really does have everything - and the joy is, he's still got plenty to learn, so as long as he stays grounded (and he's shown no signs of not doing that) he is going to have a hugely success career.
'Christian Benteke may have taken most of the headlines this season, but media wise, Andi Weimann has been a relatively unsung reason for hope for many fans.'
6. If you could pick one player from the Manchester City squad who would it be and why?
'I'd love to have Jimmy Milner back. His drive, desire and ability is exactly what we miss in the middle of the park and he hasn't been sufficiently replaced - well he hasn't been replaced - and I don't see that even from the youngsters, that we have that type of player coming through who could give us that engine and lead by example.'
7. The Time machine. If you could travel back in time and change one thing from Villa's past what would it be?
'I have to go recent, because it was so key to things going pear shaped for us. Getting top 6 in our second season. The plan to grow slowly, snap up folks like Milner, Ash Young and so on went out the window because we got too close too quick. The foundations were forgotten about and we just became a one way revolving door of stop gaps coming in in an effort to clinch that top 4 spot. Those stop gaps were in time replaced by other stop gaps but very few ever left - well for money anyway, seeing contracts end was the only way we could really clear the deadwood, and of course, clinching that spot never happened, but that was all that was focused on.
'Couldn't last forever, and without trying to sound like the Tory party, tough decisions had to be made - that took too long to achieve in reality. We lurched around in manager appointments and this season should've been far different really.'
8. The lifeboat. The cruise ship you are on is sinking but you have made it onto a lifeboat. You can take one more person in the boat without risking it tipping over. Two other survivors swim up to the lifeboat desperate to be saved. One is wearing a Birmingham City shirt the other is wearing a Wolves shirt. You have to save one of them because the remaining survivors in the lifeboat just happen to be a BBC Film crew filming a documentary and, being consummate professionals, the camera is rolling. Who gets to be saved?
'That one's easy. The bluenose. Wolves barely register for me, in fact I think they only do when they get relegated and I think 'gone again?' At least with the bluenose the BBC crew can help keep spirits high by reminding the 'fan' of the time their club reprinted Villa's success list, discuss all things funny about Barry Fry, and we'd even have some thoughts in common...the current owners of West Ham."
9. The big one. Do you think Villa will avoid relegation?
'Yes...barely...by the skin of our teeth, but certainly not based on bloody goal difference. Unless we match more recent performances with something incredible in football known as all three points for a good run in our final matches, in three worse teams I trust/pray/hope/blindly believe/where's the valium.'
10. Final score tonight?
'I'd pay you now for a 0-0, but some of your recent results give me a little bit of hope we can absolutely rob you with a single goal.'
Very many thanks and respect going out to Mike and the Vital Villa team.
Vital Villa Link: An Interview With A City Fan
CLICK HERE TO FOLLOW THE GAME TONIGHT LIVE IN THE VMC FORUM
all times East Manchester
TONIGHT 20h00 Aston Villa, Villa Park, PL
Sa 09Mar 17h30 Barnsley, The Etihad, FACQF
Sa 16Mar 12h45 Everton, Goodison Park, PL
Sa 30Mar 15h00 Newcastle, The Etihad, PL
Mo 08Apr 20h00 The Rags, The Swamp, PL
Mo 15 Apr 20h00 West Brom, The Etihad, PL
Su 21 Apr 13h30 Spurs, White Hart Lane, PL
Sa 27 Apr 12h45 West Ham United, The Etihad, PL
Sa 04 May 15h00 Swansea, The Liberty Stadium, PL
Su 12 May 15h00 Reading, The Madejski Stadium, PL
Su 19 May 16h00 Norwich City, The Etihad, PL
City vs Wigan To Be Rearranged
Date:Monday March 4 2013
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|6.||Colin Is The King||218|
|Man City||2||-||1||West Ham|
|1. Man Utd||38||28||5||5||+43||89|
|2. Man City||38||23||9||6||+32||78|
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