Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Thursday December 27 2007
Wigan Athletic entertain Aston Villa at the JJB on Saturday in what will be the last game of 2007 for both clubs and both appear to be hitting form as the year draws to a close
In the run up to the game I managed to speak to Vital Villa editor The Fear and asked him a few questions about Villa, the Latics and Saturday s match, lets see what he had to say.
How long have you been a Villa supporter erm Mr. Fear and why?
Its The Fear to you Mr !!!! ;-p
Since birth, my dad took me down to a game in 1977 (I was 8) and I was hooked.
Basically just a family of Villa fans, there were no options as there is only the one team in Birmingham!!
Are you pleased with your season so far?
Its been ok, nothing more nothing less. We are slowly building and are certainly in transition following the departure of Doug and David O'Leary.
I do think we could have pushed on more but that would have required some cannier spending last summer but the transfer window ended up a bit of a disappointment to put it mildly.
We've had some real highs like beating Chelsea, but also some lows for instance the cup exit v our old foes Leicester City.
Hopefully we'll finish higher than last season and see some more progress. If we bring in the right players in January then we could even push for (and possibly obtain) a European spot.
It is certainly high time Villa returned to Europe.
How's life under Martin O`Neil?
Ok, not dazzled yet but still full of hope. Wish he'd spent better last summer but maybe there were reasons for such a poor transfer window and hopefully the next two will bear more fruit.
I hope we can slowly (in fact I hope we can quickly) drop the long ball to the big man up front tactics because when we play it on the floor we are pretty good and the likes of Ashley Young can cause all sorts of problems.
I hope MON is the one to help us re-build our empire, I'll reserve judgement until the end of next season I think, but with luck progress is being made.
Were you happy with your summer signings and do you need to strengthen in January?
Oh, sort of answered that. No, not happy or impressed at all. Nigel Hokey Cokey was an ok buy that could become a great buy if he sorts himself out. But the fee was a bit on the high side.
I thought the purchase of Marlon Harewood was an insult to the club and fans and the least said, the soonest mended, especially as he has hardly featured since coming!
We need to strengthen, especially as we have no recognised right-back.
There is also the need for more quality and I'd say that includes the need for a top striker and maybe another winger.
That said, what do I know?!
Who should the Latics fans watch out for in the Villa team?
There are a few. If John Carew is on song and given space, he'll cause you problems.
Ashley Young is also developing very nicely and can run rings around defenders if they aren't careful.
How do you feel Villa will do this season can you make a European spot?
We are one of a few clubs who could, whether we will is another matter.
To do it, we have to beat teams like Wigan away, especially having only picked up a draw against Sunderland, that result was very much 2 points dropped and at the death it could have been even worse!
How do you feel the Latics will do this season now that we`ve got your old mate Steve Bruce in charge?
Old Potato Head.
I was surprised when Wigan went for him, it will be interesting to see how he does, as he has never appeared to be anything other than average to me, and that isn't just because he was at Small Heath!
I do often wonder if he puts a coat on, does that make him a jacket potato?
I think Wigan can pull away from danger, I'd say after such a bad start, survival is all that matters for you guys and with a good owner that is probably no more than you deserve.
If you had to pick one of the current Latics players to be in your squad who would it be and why?
I'm struggling a bit here to be honest, not sure there are any I'd really jump in for but maybe if you are going to force me to take one, I'd say Jason Koumas because on his day he can distribute the ball well and we lack a playmaker at the moment.
Who do you think will finish in the top 4 and bottom 3 this season?
Top four are pretty much set in stone, Man Utd will win the league. Arsenal second, Chelsea third and Liverpool fourth. I don't think Manchester City will have the legs to hold on.
Bottom 3. Derby are gone already.
Sunderland will probably go and then it is anyones guess, there is usually a team slightly higher sucked into the fight so hopefully that will be Blues!
Prediction for Latics Vs Villa?
Villa win, looking forward to coming up as I've not been to the JJB before. I will go for a 2-1 with an own goal by A Mule Heskey to cheer the Villa faithful up.
Thanks for the tip on the steak and kidney pie, I might even have two in your honour!
Have a good new year you Vital Latic boys!
Thanks for the answers The Fear, you`ve provided an insight into Birminghams second club for all the Latics fans that weren`t aware of you (only joking)
Hope you all have a safe journey up the M6 and a safe one back but a miserable time at the JJB as your side gets a good beating
All the best to the Villa fans for the New Year, boys and girls ;)
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Date:Thursday December 27 2007
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