Aston Villa Friendly 21/06/09 – Fan Preview
Vital Villa Glensider, kindly agreed to talk to Vital U’s, bringing you the latest views, ahead of Tuesday’s pre-season tie…
Q: You`ve got a pre-season on fixture on July 21 at Colchester`s new stadium, how many Villains will be going?
A: Now that’s a difficult one to respond to with any degree of accuracy.
I think its appropriate to say that we have one of the best away support (both in numbers and volume) in the country, but it is ‘only’ a friendly, and it is a Tuesday evening, and with work a factor to consider, it is probably not the easiest of journeys for your regular away-day supporter to make.
I can confirm that I and my three regular traveling cohorts will be making the trek, and I know of one other Vital Villan (Paul from Southend) who will be there, so that’s five of us at least.
We’ll be in good voice after the summer break, but I doubt that our vocals will drown out you fanatical U’s, who will no doubt be in attendance in good numbers.
No, I’d say you’ll see probably between 500-1000 Villans there. Some of us have nothing better to do.
Q: We`re not at Layer Road anymore, although it was a ground of really character. Did you ever go and what did you think if you did?
A: I made my first visit to Layer Road back in 1974, when as a then old second division team (our first season under the guidance of Mr Ron Saunders, who took us back to the top flight, and went on to build the team that was to go on and lift both the League Championship and the European Champions Cup), we beat you 2-1 in the quarter-finals of the League Cup. We went on to lift that trophy that year, beating Norwich City 1-0 at Wembley Stadium.
It was a tight game the night we triumphed at your place, and from what I recall your support was first rate, really getting behind your team, cheering them on to the end. A compact stadium, but with a decent atmosphere.
Q: Martin O`Neil will get a few boos down here because of his connections with our Conference rivals, Wycombe. What do you expect from the game?
A: Well it will be our second pre-season warm up game, so Martin O’Neill and his players will no doubt be looking for a decent workout from a reasonably competitive game, no injuries, and another opportunity to blow away the cob-webs, and get the old legs working again, after the excesses of the summer break.
Q: Are you fielding an XI or a first-team? In either case, who should we look out for?
I would expect that you’ll see a reasonably strong Villa team, but I wouldn’t guarantee appearances from the likes of Emile Heskey, Ashley Young, Gabby Agbonlahor, James Milner, or Craig Gardner.
Those guys were on international duty with Fabio Capello or Stuart Pearce’s squad until deep into the summer, and they might only just have returned to training. If they are back in the fold, MON might just give them a brief run out, but I wouldn’t bank on it.
Who to watch out for? Well you’ll no doubt know most of our guys from games you’ve witnessed on tv, so there will probably be no surprises there, but if our up and coming youngsters get involved in the game, take time to check out Barry Bannan, Nathan Delfouesno, and Marc Albrighton, three young lads of whom we have very high hopes. All three should be pushing hard for premiership involvement this upcoming season, they certainly have the ability and talent.
Q: What are Villa fans hoping for from the team next season and where will the game fit into those preparations?
A: Well the game at your place will be another valuable work out, before we initially head off to sunny Spain to compete for ‘The Peace Cup’, and then return to begin our 2009-10 Premiership campaign. We will also be back in competitive European competition again, competing in the initial Europa Cup tournament.
We’ve finishes sixth for the past two seasons, yet last season proved to be something of an anti-climax, as until early March we looked more than capable of breaking into the supposed ‘Big Four’, thus providing us with entry into the Champions League.
Sadly, for a variety of reasons we fell away, and it was a huge disappointment to most supporters, when we not only missed out on a top four finish, but then allowed Everton to pip us for fifth spot.
This season will be another real challenge for us as we look to build upon those sixth place finishes. The competition will be tougher, but hopefully we can rise to the challenge.
We need a stronger squad, a squad with additional depth, and if Martin O’Neill can bring in the necessary quality and numbers before the big kick-off, then hopefully a successful season will lay ahead.
Supporters want to see us challenging strongly in the higher echelons of the Premier League again, while enjoying lengthy runs in both domestic cup competitions, and of course the inaugural Europa Cup.
Not asking for too much, are we?
Thanks to glensider from Vital Villa and good luck in the game and during next season!
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