Behind Enemy Lines: Aston Villa
Our first home game of the season is almost upon us, Talk Of The Tyne speak to Jonathon Fear, Editor of Vital Aston Villa...
1) So, Jonathon...St James' Park is sold out, what are you expecting from the new look NUFC squad?
Well, first home game, so I'd expect your team to be fully up for it and will certainly be taking Villa seriously. Also, the whipping by Man Utd (lets face it, you'll not be the only team to get that this season) will no doubt have been used to wake up those players who still thought they were on their summer holidays.
2) Would you be happy with a point?
Well, yes and no... but mostly no! I don't think you can ever really complain about a point away from home and St James Park is (or was) always a difficult place to go to. However our lot are meant to be up for it, are well versed in attacking football apparently and so I'd love to see us start our away games in the Prem this season with a win.
But hey, a draw would be better than a loss...
Fence? Me? Never mate.
3) MON has gone, as has Milner, do you think this will have an affect on your performance?
YAHOOOO! MON has gone. Breath of fresh air. Things in my opinion had gone stale and he was starting to quote Brian Clough too much! We played so much better v West Ham last weekend, (they were poor, we were good... how good is difficult to guage) because the long ball was stopped and we were using Albrighton and Downing, along with Ashley Young in a freer role, to get forward AND play the ball where it should be played, on the pitch.
Shame to see Milner go, as you all know, he is tireless, however he isn't irreplaceable and despite the fact I loved his attitude, I don't think he was a £30m player, so we got a great deal. Stephen Ireland I believe will be a very very good replacement and also has a massive point to prove, is also young and I think has more goals in him.
Also, the players seem to be happy MON has gone, not one has come out in the press with anything other than positive vibes, so we could be doing the business again this season. Not totally dismissing MON, he did help us get back some stability, now for a bit more football on the ground hopefully!
4) Whats your thoughts on Milner leaving?
Money talks. Can't say I blame the lad I guess. Gutted in one way but hey, if I was offered the chance to become even richer, I guess I would take it as well. Not sure how it work out for him, Manchester City have 345 midfielders at last count but that isn't my worry now really!
5) Who would you like as Villa manager?
Well, I threw my hat into the ring and the buggers threw it back out - and I swear they'd stamped on it. :(
Kevin MacDonald probably deserves a chance. He's been with us 16 years, has won us 3 reserve titles and has experience playing at the top level as well. If not, I don't know, Martin Jol seems to be a sensible shout. As long as we don't go for the Gareth Southgate or Alan Curbishly types, we'll be ok.
6) Whats youre opinion on Newcastle United as a club now?
Always liked Newcastle. I lived up in Richmond for a while and love the tribal nature of the City and the football. Also liked the birds but you weren't asking me about that were you... trots off for a quick think about his youth... right back. Where were we? Oh yes. Well, you've been shafted haven't you? Maybe expectations at one point were raised too high, although your day in the sun was great fun wasn't it? I hate what Ashley has done and what many owners have done to the game.
7) Do you think with the happenings at Villa, you are starting to get the same issues that we had, that eventually saw our demise?
I honestly don't. Our own is a breed apart in my opinion. He has done what he said, there is some debt on the club but there was plenty of re-building on and off the pitch that had to be done and not all debts will be called in I'm sure. The guy is in the background, respectful to Villa and has good staff around him. He's got me convinced, hope I'm not proved wrong, a bit like the women, you don't want a Fear scorned!
8) If you could sign any of our players, who would it be?
There are a few battlers I like in your team, Alan Smith for instance, also had hopes when we got Wayne Routledge that he would 'come good'. Also think your keeper Harper is good. But, without meaning to be arrogant in anyway, I don't think any of your players would jump out as better than what we have already?
9) Come on then, lets have your prediction?
I'll go with a 2-1 to the mighty claret and blue.
Good luck for the season folks, REALLY hope the Toon stay up.
Thanks very much Jonathon, I do hope your prediction is complete rubbish though, 2-1 to the Mags...