Stuart Jinks, Jinksy* to pals, has been this way before, standing his Villa fan corner with admirable resolve in the various Bent and Bigger Club spats we’ve had. I expected some harsh words about the way things have gone at his club. I wasn’t quite prepared for this …
Salut! Sunderland: ”In a nut shell Alex Mcleish has more chance of getting a blow job off the Pope than he has of getting the Villa Job”. Your words! What did you think when you did get him and what do you think of what he’s done?
The worst ever feeling I have had as a Villa supporter was the day Randy Lerner and Paul Faulkner appointed Alex McLeish as manager of our once great club. Why they did this is just baffling because the man is a serial failure, a 3rd rate loser and his track record backs that up. We knew that with him in charge, we would play anti football and battle relegation and that is exactly what has happened. He has taken a top 8 squad and made us bottom 5. The fact that he came from the Sty had nothing to do with us all hating him. Let’s face facts: if he was coming on the back of his 3rd manager of the year award and had just won the double again, we would have been loving it wouldn’t we? No, the appointment was akin to your Mom marrying the bloke that shot your Dad, setting fire to your own house or shooting yourself in the head … all things a sane person wouldn’t do. Randy Lerner came into the play room, took all our toys and sold them, something which we understood because a certain Sunderland manager had been given far too much freedom and had wasted millions on a lot of average players, so we knew the books had to be balanced but not only did he take the toys he followed that up with a spiteful ginger poke in the eye..WHY???
And what did you make of Sunderland appointing Martin O’Neill, how he’s done and how that relates to your memories of him?
I was jealous when O’Neill went to Sunderland not because I rate him but because you got the man you wanted and that is how it should be. Find out he’s no plan B, find out he is tactically inept, find these things out over time because that is how it should be. Like signing a South American striker for £20m: at first he’s god but the chances are he’ll flop and you’ll all hate him after 3 years but that is how it should be. We got McLeish, the number one worst man for the job, and the effect it has had on our club is the opposite effect O’Neill has had on yours.
My memories of Martin … hmmm, well he came surrounded by a myth, a myth that he was this brilliant manager that was going to get us to the promised land but his track record didn’t back any of the hype up. I believed the hype just like everyone else did and that is why I believe Randy gave him too much of a free hand, because Randy believed it too. The problem after 4 years and £120m was we only finished 6th. Sixth is ok if you had top six money but Martin had top 4 money so he failed. There are Villa supporters that will disagree but they are the ones that don’t understand that Randy had a plan to get Champions League and the investment would then have been worth it. Once that plan was clearly failing, he decided to take the money back with interest and management fees, something that was always going to happen but with Villa in the Champions League it would have been less painful and obvious. In the last 2 years of his time at Villa only Man City spent more money & we as Villa fans are paying for it now.
Not so long ago, Villa had serious top six ambitions and you’ve certainly known glory days more recently than us. What is needed to bring them back or must you settle for midtable nearly-ran status?
No we shouldn’t settle for midtable nearly ran status but the only way things are going to change at Villa is by sacking the ginger one and bringing someone in that we can all get behind. That will start our recovery and the rest is down to how much money Lerner is prepared to give the new man. Or learner could sell the club to someone that has a clue about business.
Who are the greatest players you’ve seen in Villa colours, or wish you’d seen?
The greatest player I’ve ever seen in a Villa shirt in my 43 years was Paul McGrath; the man was a ball magnet, just brilliant. Running him close was Sid Cowans, an absolute magician with his left peg. My 1st hero was Bruce Rioch followed by Andy Gray… but then there’s Brian Little, Gary Shaw, David Platt, Dwight Yorke..
And who should have been allowed nowhere near them?
Well there’s loads of them. Alan Hutton springs to mind the worst right back in the history of football, Nigel Callaghan, Nigel Reo-Joker … Be aware Martin O’Neill paid £8m for Coker and £50,000 per week over 4 years… he quickly realised what a waste of money that was and hence he hardly played him after the 1st season.
When you watch Downing for Liverpool or Young for Man Utd, what are your honest feelings?
To be honest I don’t have any. Randy Lerner has made massive Villa supporters like me go numb to my own team so I don’t care to be honest. One thing I will say is: ”Can you blame them for leaving?” Downing would be playing left back in Mcleish’s team and Young would be watching the ball fly over his head for most the game.
And at the risk of restarting all that banter, which of us supports the bigger club and explain why you are right on this?
I think history, trophies won, fan base and Stadium dictate if you’re a big club. So on that basis I think Villa are a bigger club. Villa have just dropped out of the world’s top 20 on turnover which again shows you how big we are. If you based it on the here and now well you win hands down, don’t you!!! My club is in free fall and the sad thing is they have chosen to fail rather than have a go.
Another moot point: looking at things now, who got the better deal on Bent, you the player or us the money?
Good question I think we got a goal machine and you have to pay top dollar for one of those so I think it was a fair deal. The main question should be why did we buy him if we were going to sell his supply line? Very strange. But at £24m it was a good deal for both clubs at the time.
But much more important: what is your message to Stiliyan Petrov?
I am proud to say I was at Arsenal which was his last game in a Villa shirt and most likely the last game he’ll ever play. The news was so sad and to see him turn up and face the supporters with his family at the next home game against Chelsea just shows what a great man he is. I would just like to pray that he beats this and gets to see his kids grow up. You can beat it, Stan, be strong.
Name this season’s top four in order.
Who’s going down and who will win the remaining major trophies, including Euro 2012?
Going Down – Wolves, Bolton, Blackburn.
FA Cup: Chelsea. Champions League: Barcelona. Euro 2012: Spain
Where will our clubs finish?
Sunderland 10th, Villa 16th
Any good, bad or amusing memories of past Villa v SAFC games, player/manager links not already covered or your experience of our club, fans, city or region?
I’ve only been to Sunderland twice; the 1st time was on a Monday night. I can’t even remember the year but Julian Joachim put Villa 1 up & I think Don Hutchinson scored twice … I think! I’m sure you’ll know when Sunderland beat the mighty Villa or was it 1-1???
The 2nd time was in the Carling Cup a few years ago when Brad Guzan just kept pulling off brilliant saves, was it 4 penalties? And one on the stroke of half time that was heading for the top corner. I was with a few friends and my boss, a massive Sunderland supporter. We ended up going to every game right up to the final. My mate sponsored the semi at Villa Park: Villa 6 Blackburn 4. Mentioning my Sunderland fan boss leads me on to my Darren Bent Calendar, desk calendar and mug I had made after he made his debut against Man City. My desk faces my boss’s office door so on the Monday I placed my Calendars in his line of sight and made him a nice cup of tea. Well it made me laugh.
What is the form of cheating that most irks you and who is or are the worst culprit/s?
Diving, Ashley Young is a past master and it’s not good to see a player as good as him having to cheat. His dive for the penalty against Villa today was typical of him. Steven Gerrard is another dirty diver he’ll throw one leg across the other and down he goes.
What one step should Villa or the authorities take to make the ordinary fan’s matchday expereince better?
Sack Alex Mcleish
Club v country: who wins for you and why?
Club every time … I like England to do well and it was nice seeing all those Villa players getting what they deserved recognition but now they all play for other clubs so I’m not fussed.
Your club is your club, your players, love them or hate them. England is somebody else’s opinion and one I hardly ever agree with.
Will you be at our game and what will be the score?
I haven’t decided because as a season ticket holder for 25 years I’ve only been to 6 home games this season for my £600. I know it’s sad but I am finding it very hard to support a club that appoints Mcleish as manager and has no regard for its number one sponsor, the supporters.
The score….I’ll go for 0-0 and that would bring a massive big smile to the ginger loser’s face. Apparently he punched the air at the final whistle after the 1-1 home bore against Stoke … somebody pass me a gun!!!!
Jinksy on Jinksy: I’m 43, a service manager & for 25 years a season ticket holder, from Harborne in Birmingham now living in Dudley with the yam yams. I won’t be getting a 26th unless McLeish has been sacked. I went to my 1st game when I was 4 in 1972 and have been going ever since. Obviously the great time to be a Villa supporter was in the early 80s when we won the title followed by the European Cup which I got to hold when a club secretary that lived up my road was allowed to take it home one Sunday … can you imagine that happening today? We also won the European Super Cup over 2 legs against Barcelona. I feel very lucky that I grew up watching a game when all teams had a chance, I can remember at the start of every season thinking this could be our year and in 1981 it was. We did the double over Sunderland that season (had to get that in). We got relegated in 1987 but came back up and came 2nd in 1989 and should have won it. We came 2nd again in 93 the 1st Premiership season under big Ron Atkinson which for me was the season we played the best football, every home game we seemed to score another goal of the season contender, with Dean Saunders and Dalian Atkinson up front & Dwight Yorke coming through … great times indeed. That’s what it was like then, get a good manager and team spirit and you had a chance. We were also great in 96 under Brian Little we won the Coca Cola Cup, got to the Semi Final of the FA Cup and finished 4th in the Premiership. But now it’s about making up the numbers and having a cup run which to me isn’t what it should be about.
Interview: Colin Randall