Writer: Gary Johnson
Date:Monday January 3 2011
1) Hi Jonathan, how has Xmas and New Years been for you as a Villan? Made any new year resolutions that will last a week?
Bah humbug and I nearly died New Years morning via an incident with some twiglets... I might be slightly exaggerating the incident!
No new years resolution, I`m pretty much perfect so I don`t need to bother! ;o)
2) What exactly is going on at Villa Park, last year you were flying and had a great team and manager. Now you seem to be struggling and fighting at the wrong end?
We weren`t exactly flying but yes, we have taken a backward step. The rot (as per usual) kicked in last Feb/March where we promised so much only to tire. Sixth, sixth, sixth + the last season two good Cup runs, not bad but to have me smiling a Cup WIN would have been so sweet! Still, all in all, a decent season. The timing of the walk out (and I`m SO over talking about whose fault it was) made it very difficult to get a manager in as most were in jobs and now we are either in transition or free fall, I guess only time will tell. I err on the side of transition most of the time although having gone to Man City, that did scare me as there was no heart of soul in the team at all... Lawro said it was embarrassing and he was right.
Still, we fought back v Chelsea, now we HAVE to continue that against you and all comers! We are still in the FA Cup mind you... only because we`ve not played our third round game I concede!
3) What is needed for your team to get away from the bottom half and aim for top 10 again?
Heart and spirit. We also need a striker. Biggest 'mistake` Villa have made is not buying Darren Bent. His goals last season would have seen us win a final and finish top four, of that I`m (not at all) certain!!!!!!!
Some of the players who don`t seem to get on with Houllier need to grow up and show some professional pride. Partly shown v Chelsea so there is hope.
4) What signings are you looking for and who are you looking to sell?
We have a few players like Nigel Hokey-Cokey and John Carew out of contract at the end of the season, so I would think they will run down their deals and leave on frees. I`d let Carew go now to be fair. He should be our Drogba but he`s 'gone` already imho.
We need a playmaker (who doesn`t) and a striker (who doesn`t!) but don`t look to me for names, not my job! I wouldn`t be surprised to see us grab a loan or two and then have the major action in the summer.
5) We are all very glad that Stephen Ireland chose your lot over ours after a shocking season so far, why is he not delivering?
Million dollar question, there is a great player in their somewhere, but quite where is anyone's guess. Looks like he needs an arm around type of manager, not sure Houllier talking about him in the press was what was required and his confidence looks totally shot. He probably didn`t want to leave Man City and so needed someone to really take him under their wing, he hasn`t helped himself either though. Shame, seemed perfect to me and thought we`d got a good deal there. Think unless something miraculous happens, he`ll be on his way out. I did notice he was linked to Sunderland again the other day, would Steve Bruce take that big a risk?
6) We have been very strongly linked to Downing but would he leave after only being there a few seasons?
No chance, Villa won`t sell him. He`s been a bit inconsistent but is our top scorer and probably our player of the season so far... although that is damning with feint praise I`ll admit!
7) Who are you scared of from Sunderland on Wednesday?
8) Does it worry you that we have kept nine clean sheets this season and also had all three strikers on the scoresheet on Saturday?
I was happy being oblivious to that fact, now I will worry. Thanks a lot! Tough game for us but then, aren`t they all? We need a home win, that is 100% for sure
1-0 to the Villa, own goal by Darren Bent...!
Good luck for the rest of the season and happy new year to you all.
Date:Monday January 3 2011
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