Date:Tuesday September 23 2008
Let battle commence in the battle of the billionaires once more - but Vital QPR speaks to a Villa fan who believes his owner comports himself with more class.
Aston Villa fan and Vital Villa editor Jonathan Fear speaks to Vital QPR about why he feels Villa are a much different prospect from the side the R`s faced in 2006.
Martin O'Neill has been in charge since August 2006, what sort of job has he done at Villa and what remains to do to make Villa a top 4 side?
He's been steady and assured in his actions, he seems to know what he wants and he will stick to his guns. At times there have been a few daring to question what he is up to, especially with what seemed an unwillingness to spend in the transfer windows despite the funds being there, but he has gone some way to quell that area of unrest this summer. Basically we have gone from 16th to 11th and last season 6th. Seems obvious to me that the pattern will continue and we'll win the PL this year!!! We do have a realistic chance of being able to compete for a top four place, that isn't to say we will get it, for no team is it a given and the clubs above us might do well to remember that, especially the ones with mounting and massive debts! I think we are at least one striker short of a serious challenge at the moment UNLESS John Carew and Gabby can stay fit for 90% of our games but with MON, who knows, he seems to have the luck and the good judgement, not a bad mix to have!
As clubs, both Villa and QPR have exceedingly wealthy owners, in stark contrast to the R's style of things, Randy Lerner has gone about his business quietly - What do you make of the American's time at Villa Park thus far?
Love his style, he has class about him. None of the talk of boutique football in Aston thank you very much! He has provided the funds when asked for, is restoring much pride around Villa Park and all this with no debt to the club at all. He has also spent a great deal on Bodymoor Heath which now has a full size replica of the Villa Park pitch and we have training facilities up there with any club in Europe. The sponsorship for free for Acorns charity was just the cherry on top of the icing on top of the cake... you see, I'm in touch with my feminine side and know all about recipes and stuff....!
Villa bolstered their squad in the summer with some considerable talent, which of the newest signings has most impressed the Villa faithful?
Bit early to say who has impressed most yet, Carlos Cuellar hasn't really had a major chance yet as he came with an injury, but when he played he looked solid. James Milner is another top arrival but he is having to bide his time to get in the team. Curtis Davies has been in great form this season, although we did have him last season that was on loan, now he is our permanently. The left and right backs have been steady as well.
Martin O'Neill's policy of buying British is proving popular with Villa fans and the wider English footballing community - are you happy with this policy, or would you rather he went further afield for cheaper quality?
I do like the backbone of the side to be British, John Gregory did similar a few years back. I am not a huge fan of all the cheap foreign imports, that isn't to say ALL foreign imports, some like Bergkamp and Zola graced any pitch they played on and were a great addition to the Premier League. All in all I'm happy to see a good tough British (and in fact mainly English) side being formed.
Villa last won this competition in 1996, Rangers in 1967 - Do you feel that you have a realistic chance of taking the League Cup this year, and is it a priority in terms of honours this year?
We do have a chance but I'm not one to get too excited too early, unless Danni Minogue walks my way..! We do have to be careful not to over stretch ourselves but we do have the luxury of options in defence and midfield now. Where we are still light is in the striking department and I don't think we can rely on John Carew and Gabby Agbonlahor to be able to play all games in all competitions, especially as we are also in the UEFA Cup this season.
Villa currently sit in the fourth Champions League spot - is that something you feel is a realistic possibility come the end of the season - and does it contrast with your thoughts going into the season?
We could do it, we weren't a million miles away last season until just one awful month of results. As above, I think we are a striker short, if we could stay in contention until January and then maybe bring in a top striker to compliment what we have....hmmm! I thought top six at the start of the season, I still think top six. Even if we improve by 'just' one place, I'd be happy.
The sides last met in the League Cup in 2004 where goals from Vassell, Angel and Solano put the R's to the sword - do you expect a similar encounter this time round?
Would be nice!! There are bags of goals in our side, we scored over 70 last season so if we are on song, we can rip most teams apart. IF John Carew really gets some belief and menace, he could be a top striker.
Depending of course on what side Villa choose to field - Which player should Rangers fans watch out for as the man who could do the most damage?
Ashley Young can run rings around players not on the look out and his distribution is impressive. Gareth Barry is the engine of the team and then we have Gabby and Carew who, given the chance, seem to be taking them for fun so far this season.
Conversely is there any player you fear from QPR going into the encounter?
There is nothing to fear but fear itself, I should know with a surname like mine! I don't fear individuals in your team, I fear that the occasion and team ethic from you. On paper we should have wiped the floor with Leicester City last year in the Cup but .... I don't remember what happened, I have erased it from my mind! So my worry is that your guys will be more up for it, to stick one up a big Premiership team. Does that make sense!?
Finally what are your predictions for the clash on Wednesday night?
2-0 Villa and off we march on our way to Wembley!
Many thanks to 'The Fear` at Vital Villa >>> Click Here.
Conversely for my interview on Vital Villa, Click Here
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Aston Villa v QPR - Match Preview.
One Day In History - Aston Villa 1984-85.
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