So, we put the same questions Gordon Nicoll answered yesterday to a younger Villa fan, 15-year-old karate star Andy Summers*, whose dad, Colin, couldn’t resist chipping in too. Highlights include fond words for the Ace Diver Gary McAllister (sorry lads, but he was with Liverpool anyway then), transfer bids for Bent and Cattermole and two more Villa votes for Toon Doon …
Salut! Sunderland: How could you go to St James’ Park and lose 6-0 and how do we avoid it when we go there a week on Sunday?
Unfortunately we played the Magpies too soon. First home game back in the Premiership they were obviously high on adrenaline and still had some momentum from their promotion. We think
it’ s best to play newly promoted sides a little more into the season
when they have had a few chunks knocked out of them and begin
to feel the pace a little bit. Having said that, Villa pressed the self
destruct button after missing a penalty. They lost their shape and
in some areas commitment was sadly lacking. Only one result after
that. For the Black Cats to avoid a similar result it shouldn’ t be too
difficult. North-east rivalry will have all players “ pumped up” and
this usually ends up with sides cancelling out each other. Steve
Bruce is a canny manager and we are sure he has firm ideas on
how to suppress Newcastle’ s flair players and exploit their lack of
pace at the back.
Life post-Martin O’Neill. Were you sad to see him go? What do you make of the Houllier appointment and his efforts in the short time since he took over?
We thought for the last 12 months that Martin O.Neill had taken us as far as he could. At first we thought it was a bad thing
that he’ d quit. However as time went on more and more rumours
and stories leaked out and it appears that he had “ lost the dressing
room” and had alienated some players. The appointment of
Gerrard Houllier is a positive step. He has an extensive knowledge
and experience of the Premiership and early signs indicate he is
a man-manager. Bringing in Gary McAllister could be a master
Mischievously, we could suggest clicking here for an utterly impartial account of Gary McAllister’s perfect dive at the Stadium of Light. But back to the questions: will Villa maintain their pushing-for-top-four momentum, or has the emergence of moneyed City and return of Spurs to the big boys’ stage complicated things?
Villa will probably spend the season re-structuring and laying foundations for the way GH wants us to play. Money is spoiling
the game. With the right owner it seems that top honours can be
bought. There needs to be a cap on spending brought in or clubs
will inevitably end up in administration through living beyond their
means. Look at the scare Liverpool recently had, and they’ re not
out of the woods yet. Could Man U be next? Or will the sale of
Rooney keep the loan sharks from the door?
Can Steve Bruce make Sunderland a similar force or would we need someone else to take us to a new level?
Steve Bruce can take Sunderland further yet it depends on a lot of things. Keeping key players fit, bringing in one or two class
players, developing some talented youngsters, managing a squad
of players not just a team, keeping dressing room morale high,
plotting and scheming to negate and then exploit opposing teams
and finally taking advantage of any good fortune that may come
along (beach ball assists accepted any time!!).
Is there any player in our team you’d take if given the chance?
Bent would be an obvious choice but I would take Lee Cattermole. He still needs to develop but is very industrious and one for the future.
Who are the greatest players you have seen in Villa colours, and who do you wish had never worn them?
Paul McGrath gets our vote for greatest player. A natural athlete and brilliant reader of the game and he supposedly had bad knees. (We think we are right in saying he didn’ t have a single knee operation whilst at Villa). Another favourite of ours is Dennis
Mortimer. Sometimes he would have a very ordinary game himself
but he managed to get the very best out of the rest of the team. A
great motivator and energiser.
We don’ t like to slag off any player. They all cross the white line
and want to be Roy of the Rovers. Unfortunately some have only
limited ability and will never be world class but we are sure they
do their best on a stage where there is definitely no hiding place.
We never boo a player you boo the shirt – and that is the cardinal
Have you forgotten the World Cup already or are you eagerly looking forward to the next one?
Was there a World Cup recently? We must have blinked!
Seriously, it was a bitter disappointment. Too many players off
form, not playing as a team, too little flair, and generally lack lustre.
It seems that there were problems behind the scenes and we
probably won’ t find out which one or two of the squad retires and
reveal the true facts in their biographies. Despite the anti-climax of
South Africa we are looking forward to both the Euro
Championship and next World Cup – ever the optimist!!
Is it time to abandon high-minded principles and accept cheating of all kinds – diving, feigning injury, trying to get opponents booked or sent off and ritualistic obstruction at corners – as part of the game. If not, how do we stamp it out?
Video technology has to be brought in. We are not advocates of using it for every deliberate decision as this would break up the game too much. However, as goals change games, it should be
used for goal awarding (or not) decisions. Video evidence could be
used for retrospective judgement of either incidents – elbow off the
And what about Danny Murphy’s comments on players and managers to be blamed for “mixing it”?
Danny Murphy should be congratulated for simply saying
something that we all know happens anyway. It’ s prevalent from
the Premiership right down to Sunday morning football. Maybe the
video technology would help to curtail it.
Name this season’s top four in order, and who is going down? If either Villa or Sunderland do not appear in either group (!), where will our clubs end up?
Down: Newcastle (is that a cheer we hear?)/West Ham/Wigan
Villa – 8th.
Sunderland – 11th (sorry)
Will you be at our game? What will be the score?
Yes we will be at the game. Our heart’ s say 2-1 to Villa but our heads say 1-1. (We told you earlier – ever the optimist!!).
May the best team win – happy days.
* Father and son on father and son:: I’ m Andy Summers (not the one who plays guitar for The Police). I’ m 15 and have supported Villa since my dad took me to Villa Park when I was five. I go to The King’ s School in Worcester, achieved my Black Belt in Shotokan Karate when I was 10 and now enjoy playing five-a-side football (with adults) and rugby.
My dad is Colin Summers and between us we will answer your
questions. He is 53 and says he can recall some really great
days out with Villa the best of which has to be Rotterdam in 1982. Five
days in Amsterdam, with five mates, lots of beer (don’ t tell mom) and no voice for three days afterwards. Dad played football (in the same team as Gordon Nicoll) and claims he was “an OK defender” – I’ ll have to believe him on that.
Interview: Monsieur Salut