Spyin' Kop and a half: Liverpool vs Aston Villa. Sat 15th Dec 3pm
Posted by Harinder on December 10, 2012, 02:39:24 PM
Not to be confused with Cop and a Half as no children were harmed in the making of this post
The half means there will be a mini part two post the match
As we entertain the Villa this coming Saturday, I asked long standing brother in law and friend to accompany me. We have history. I went to Villa Park in 2011 on the last day of the season and sat with him, with the Villa fans, and saw a Downing goal. He walked away triumphant, I left saddened and on to a miserable jaunt back down the M40.
Revenge came in the form of Craig Bellamy and Martin Skrtel. 2011-2012 season, back to Villa Park and this time in with the Travelling Kop and my brother in law in tow. Maybe Darren Bent, who was out shopping whilst his team-mates were losing 2-0, was buying him something to make up for it? Who knows?! His lesson for the day were a couple of our songs and it pleased me no end hearing him sing "You'll Never Walk Alone".
Good practice as he's now coming with me to sit in the Kop this weekend
With that in mind we have Spyin Kop and a half. We'll get to revisit this post the match with his thoughts and closeness to predictions. Not so much Lawro and Football Focus but more two Mr Singhs and a Domino's pizza Harinder: Morning. So as I revel in the glory of a win here’s the questions to answer!
From India to the UK to Wolverhampton to the US and back to Wolves… just how did you become a Villa fan?Jas:
Probably the simplest, moved to UK in 1992 and that was the first season of the premier league with villa finishing second. Cousin was a Villa fan and this was the first club that he spoke about. The rest is history Harinder: We share a common theme in ownership from across the Atlantic. Our first bunch were a disaster and the new guys are perceivably still finding their feet. 6/7 years on how are you finding Randy Lerner? Is he still learning or has he given up the ghost? Jas:
Austerity has well and truly struck the Villa. The club tried hard to push into the top 4 and paid millions for it, we are now seeing the outcome of failing to achieve that, as has been documented players salaries were approx 80% of revenue – that is not sustainable for any business so the chop had to come. Randy had a mixed following amongst the Villa fans, some hate him for not spending again others say well thank god he didn’t do a Peter Risdale. From my perspective football as much as we hate to admit is a business and a business needs to be self sufficient and sustainable in football that means success on the pitch bringing in more revenue. This is where it went wrong at Villa. We spent and spent but didn’t achieve much. Some bad buys (Heskey on 50k a week plus, Curtis Davis, Habib Beye on approx 40-50k etc) have meant that Villa have been short changed and need to start again. Randy is backing his manager as we are building a new younger team but with a bit more sense to it than the heydays of O’Neill. Most Villa fans will accept survival this year with a push towards mid table next year.Harinder: Managers come and go. Something we’ve seen at Liverpool over the last 3 years and something you’ve seen at Aston Villa. Under Paul Lambert what are the key differences you’re seeing? Jas:
I haven’t really watched the Villa much this season as I’m still getting over the horror of the McLeish season
In all honesty being near London has meant that I have lost a little bit of touch however all the news reports/forums etc do seem to indicate that the team plays a lot better than last year (although that is not particularly hard to achieve). The team is young and can grow together. They all seem to want to play for each other and for the manager. The strategy clearly appears to be taking the short term pain for hoping a long term gain.Harinder: New boys. Benteke being the most obvious but with the wee-man Weimann no longer on loan after loan I guess he feels like a new player to you too. Alongside Ron Vlaar and others how do you feel they’ve been doing especially with Benteke keeping Bent out of the side? Jas:
In addition to Benteke and Vlaar there is also Bradley Guzan – re-signed after leaving. He doesn’t get the credit he deserves and was always in the shadow of Brad Friedel. Ron Vlaar has been a rock that we needed particularly with how young our defence is and Benteke has already been well documented in the press.Harinder: Old boys. Well. I think we both know who got the better of that deal with Downing. How does he compare in your opinion to his Villa days? Still believe he was the better of the two in respect to him vs. Ashley Young? Jas:
I still remember going to see the last game of the 2010-2011 season where Downing scored for the 1-0 win, I think that swayed Kenny’s judgement on him. He had one wonder season and then you guys took him, for once we got the better of the deal. The opinion on whether Ashley is better or not than Downing will always be biased. All Villa fans hate Downing because of his two faced approach. However bringing it back to football, they both complemented each other and brought balance to the side. If I however had to choose out of the two would say Ashley Young as he brings a lot more to the team and can play on either side of midfield and up front.Harinder: The dreaded drop. Hovering above and final fights in relegation survival being the norm now at Villa. How do you think the season will pan out for you? The next 3 matches for you are us, then Chelsea away and Spurs at home. Jas:
I think we will be safe but only just. We’ve been fighting this for the last three seasons but frankly that is to be expected given the playing squad has been obliterated of any top 10 team player. Chelsea away as the only bright point of the year last year so I am hoping for the same and we somehow manage to get the team up for the bigger matches (Man city aside). Spurs will be trickier we don’t tend to do too well against them, would like 4 points from those two games but would settle for 2. It’s the teams around us that we really need to start beating.Harinder: Fairs fair – what do you make of our season so far under Brendan Rodgers? Jas:
I think you guys have been inconsistent, but hopefully the win against West Ham does the trick (obviously hoping that you don’t repeat the same feat on the other claret and blue team). Much like us you guys have had managers come and go and on top of it all the board change. It affects the consistency of the team. I have a bit of a soft spot for Liverpool (aside from this coming weekend obviously) so I would very much like to think you guys can get into the Europa League finishing just outside the top 4.Harinder: Who do you think will cause the most danger to Villa from Liverpool? On the reverse side who should we be scared of? Jas:
I worry about Suarez. On his day he is totally unplayable, and obviously Gerrard is well Gerrard, plus I thank God Craig Bellamy is not there either – he ran circles around us at Villa Park last season. Being honest haven’t followed Liverpool too closely this season so don’t know much of your team, however I still remember all those years back when I saw Gerrard play for the first time and said he will be special, I seem to be hearing very similar things about Shelvey and Sterling so maybe they will be the ones to watch out for.
The Villa side - you never know. Bent just might make an impact and convince you guys to buy him off us
(as like most villa fans I am convinced he is off in Jan). I think Benteke will be a nuisance and painful to deal with. I don’t believe we have an out and out stand out player that we can say yes he will cause you issues – it will be a team performance and that seems to be Lambert’s style.Harinder: The big match. It’s a huge 3 pointer for both sides. Head to head of matches we’ve been to together it’s a 1-1. You saw us lose against you at the end of the 2011 season. Then you saw us win around a year ago in 2011-2012 season. This time you’re with me in the Kop. Expectations of the Anfield roar? Do Villa have a song? Jas:
Really excited about going to Anfield with all its history and have heard so much about the Kop, I’ll admit even if Villa did have a song I wouldn’t know it – I am not quite as die hard as you and I doubt even if I knew one that I would sing it sitting in the Kop Harinder: Finally, as we get to come back to this post match to see how close we are in the predictions, whaddya reckon to the following? My questions in red your answers in purple
***First goal scorer? I am going to have to go for Benteke (we certainly need to score first otherwise can’t see anything but a Liverpool win) First card, irrespective of colour? Yellow to HerdMan of the Match? Holman if Villa win as the guy just runs and runs or Guzan if it starts to rain shots on the Villa goalWill Suarez get a penalty? I certainly hope not Final Score? 1-1
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