Spyin' Kop: Aston Villa Away

Posted by Tarpaulin on November 3, 2005, 09:42:01 PM

After two back-to-back wins, particularly Tuesday's comprehensive display in Europe, it's time to get back to the business of trying to sort out our domestic away form starting with a trip to the Midlands and Aston Villa.

Aside from the win they so desperately wanted over local rivals Birmingham in mid October, Villa have only picked up 1 point in the 6 games surrounding that. This coupled with rumours of Doug Ellis's departure as long standing Chairman with a take-over in the offing suggests things aren't going too well for the once great club.

Villa will be hoping to kick start their season with a win over the Reds on Saturday. With an injury ravaged squad it appears on paper to be a tough ask for the Midlanders, but they'll be mindful of Liverpool's poor post-European record in the last two seasons and will be ready to take advantage of any under-par performances. There's also the possibility of (European Cup winning hero) Milan Baros performing the usual trick beloved of ex-Reds and scoring in his first game back against Liverpool. This week's answers are kindly provided by fans from Villa Talk. Many thanks for their input.

Aston Villa
Saturday 5th October - Villa Park - KO - 12:45pm
Referee - Unknown as yet.

The Club
Original members of the Football League in 1888, Aston Villa are one of the FA Premier League's oldest clubs. Formed in late 1874, Villa were the team to beat in the League's early years with a series of titles and FA Cup victories. A move to a purpose-built ground, Villa Park, from their Perry Barr home in 1897 came just a week after their league and FA Cup Double triumph that year. The Villains secured their sixth league title in 1910 and added further FA Cup glories in 1913 and 1920 as their trophy cabinet bulged. FA Cup success in 1957 and a League Cup triumph in 1961 increased their haul of silverware, but by 1970 Aston Villa were playing Third Division football. However, the club were about to enjoy a remarkable turn of fortunes, with two more League Cups and a return to the top flight followed by their greatest triumph - the European Cup in 1982. Villa lost their top-flight status in 1987 but an immediate return and another pair of League Cups in the 1990s helped the club prosper in the FA Premier League, in which they finished runners-up under Ron Atkinson in 1993. Graham Taylor, who left the club to manage England in 1990, returned to manage the side in 2002. Taylor left in May 2003 to be replaced by current incumbent David O'Leary.

Club Honours
European Cup Winners: 1982
InterToto Cup Winners: 2001
League Champions: 1893-94, 1895-96, 1896-97,1898-99, 1899-00, 1909-10, 1980-81
FA Cup Winners: 1887, 1895, 1897, 1905, 1913, 1920, 1957
League Cup Winners: 1961, 1975, 1977, 1994, 1996
Charity Shield Winners: 1981
2nd Division Champions: 1937-38, 1959-60

Club Facts
Year Formed: 1874 by members of the Villa Cross Wesleyan Chapel in Aston, Birmingham.
Club Nicknames: 'The Villains'
Stadium Address: Villa Park, Trinity Road, Birmingham, B6 6HE
Capacity: 42,584

Season so far ...
Aston Villa     2 - 2     Bolton     
Man Utd     1 - 0           Aston Villa    
Portsmouth     1 - 1         Aston Villa    
Aston Villa      1 - 0    Blackburn    
West Ham       4 - 0         Aston Villa    
Aston Villa      1 - 1    Tottenham    
Chelsea      2 - 1    Aston Villa    
Aston Villa       2 - 3    Middlesbrough    
Birmingham    0 - 1         Aston Villa    
Aston Villa       0 - 2    Wigan    
Man City      3 - 1    Aston Villa    

Current position: 16th. Played 11, points 9.

From www.paddypower.com: Liverpool 5/4 Draw 11/5 Aston Villa 21/10

First Goal:
Liverpool: Cisse 11/2 Crouch 7/1 Morientes 7/1 Gerrard 9/1
Villa: Baros 6/1 Phillips 13/2 JP Angel 13/2 Berger 18/1

Spyin' Kop

This week's "Spyin' Kop" has been kindly answered by the Villains on Villa Talk.

I've taken the best four answers for each question from the fans who responded.

1. What are your expectations for this season? Have they changed from day one?

I thought we'd struggle and we are. The main reason I gave before the season started was that you can't go into a season with only one fit senior central defender and 2 fit senior forwards and expect to do well. We then got Baros in (injured now) and a few scufflers on loan. The tail end of last season was shite, and we didn't do the surgery necessary to rectify this - the squad is still too small, and has weaknesses is some key areas.

Day one my expectations were for us to challenge for Europe and actually get there, while playing the same neat quick passing football that has occasionally raised i's head under DO'L. Since day one I would like to see our first team available and fit at the same time. Now I want to see us reach the safety zone asap and see what happens then. 

At the start, or rather when the transfer window ended, I predicted us able, if injuries were at a minimum, of maintaining a top 8 position. Now, I think it'll be closer to 14th - 16th as we've had a ridiculous number of injuries to key players. And our squad depth is rubbish.

I'm now expecting us to be scrapping for survival against Sunderland, West Brom, Birmingham, Portsmouth, Everton and Fulham. Before the season started I was hoping to finish in or around the top 6, but knew that this would depend on us staying fairly injury free!

2. Who do you think is your most important player(s)? and your worst player(s)?

The ones down the middle of the team are the most important - keeper, central defence, centre mid and central forwards. Unfortunately they're not the best. Sorenson is fine, Mellberg too, Gav McCann is OK, Davis very very promising and Phillips OK. Ridgewell & Luke Moore are in at the deep end and flounder at times. JPA is off form, badly, and the back ups elsewhere are either not good enough or injured. I don't go for "worst player", though worst performing at the mo' perhaps is current scapegoat JLloyd Samuel.

I wrote an article for the front page of Villa Talk in 2004 about partnerships and the spine of the team - it seems to my eye that all successful teams have this. So Olly needs a partner, as he might not be on top form at the moment but that comes from trusting his partner. Gav needs someone to work with, someone who is available when Gav wins the ball. And up front Baros and JPA need to play together as I think they are still the best two strikers on our books who will be ably supported by KP and Luke.

Best player is Baros by a country mile. Used to be Mellberg but he's not been the same every since Alpay touched the head of God and got kicked out the club. Worse playe , well quite a few off song at the moment , not going to tell you the worst just in case your Benitez is looking for some help on Sat.

Most important? Baros - for his quality and stature in the side - and James Milner for actually trying and crossing. Worst? God who to pick? Jlloyd Samuel has been rubbish - though again he's been playing through injuries. Ridgewell is dodgy, Mellberg for a captain has been in dire form this season, Barry's been poor, and Angel is suffering a serious crisis of confidence.

3. What sort of line-up will put out against us?

Whoever's fit. Seriously. I suppose it'll be, assuming they're fit which is a bit hard to tell:

Sorensen, Samuel Ridgewell Mellberg Delaney, Barry McCcann Davis Milner, Phillips, Angel.

Personally I'd have Aaron Hughes at left back as he couldn't do any worse, and play Hendrie and Baros in place of Davis and Phillips if they were fit enough.

Whoever is fit! Seriously!

It's pretty much determined by who is fit.

4-4-2 , reckon DOL will include Hendrie in the starting line up with Barry dropping to LB. Baros has been out for 5 games so may not start .

4. Do you have a favourite/best chant(s) and perhaps any that require an explanation?

Villa fans don't really sing at home games , just like yours ... away games are more fun. We used to sing "always look on the bright side" but then Man U stole it and the press went all ga ga about the loyal red army etc etc, much as they do for the racist Geordie barmy army now.

"The Bells are Ringing for the Claret and Blue" and "Holte Enders in the Sky" are ours and ours alone and the simple "Villa" repeated to amazing grace, perhaps with the added holding the note for ages has the most power to make the hairs on the back of the neck stand up.

Favourite is "The bells are ringing for the Claret and Blue". Best chant you will hear will come from the Chelsea most likely and will be aimed at our neighbours; expect to here some stereotypes coming out too.... "slums, dustbins" "on the dole" ... sorry ...

Sorry they're all rubbish, but I like your chant, "He's big, he's red, his feet stick out of bed, Peter Crouch, Peter Crouch"   

5. What can our fans expect at Villa Park on Saturday? And where would you recommend we head/avoid for our matchday match tipple?

No atmosphere whatsoever, a crowd of around 30,000, can't say on locals though

A traffic jam getting onto the M6 most likely. I drink in the Aston Social , members only but you can pay a £1 on the day - but if you turn up mob handed or in colours you wont get in.

A poor game between 2 underperforming sides, in a poor atmosphere (they always are, these early kick offs). Pubs - if you want a beer near the ground there's 2 pubs for away fans near Witton Station (Yew Tree, Cap n' Gown). If you want some decent beer away from the match crowd then have a look at the CAMRA site for Brum.

Your fans can expect the usual stereotyping and to go home to all corners of the country with your tail between legs after a defeat. As for drinks for away fans, dunno these days. But avoid the Bartons Arms and The Cap n Gown most people do

6. We know domestically we have been below par this season - but who do you feel will cause you problems on Saturday, and what do you expect from us not only on Saturday but ultimately for the season?

Gerrard ran the game last year. He was brilliant. Miles better than anyone we have. Same again? As for your season overall - you seem to have a problem domestically scoring goals and playing away. So top 6 - maybe 6th at a guess.

Dangerous to us on Saturday - Gerrard and Riise are quite likely to hit a few fans with shots, oh you mean the team. Errm some tall guy up front will cause us problems as neither centre half is good in the air so it's pretty even. As for your domestic form it's as I expected, poor. You got too caught up in the CL thing last year to realise how mediocre you have become, like the Mancs this year but thankfully they're poor in Europe too.

Steven Gerrard. He was a one man team here last season and without him I think you'd be down the bottom with us. I posted here when it happened that I thought signing Crouch could cost Benitez his job long term and I stand by that. The Euro champions should have the pick of the bunch , not the runt of the litter. Cisse was the player I expected big things from, maybe the broken leg has put him back a bit - get him playing and you have a chance of a good season .

Everyone knows that liverpool dont perform unless Gerrard performs. Having said that on Saturday, you could be playing with 11 Peter Crouch's and still whup us, with the form we are in. Liverpool will probably finish about 5th or 6th if they are lucky with injuries. Probably get to the quarters/semis of the champs league though. Benitez' tactics are better suited to Europe than the Prem, so you will struggle in the league, especially if you persist on using Crouch as a target man. That always cracks me up when I see long balls being hoofed up to him - he may be a giraffe, but he cant head the ball for shit..

7. - Got to ask....what were your feelings on Milan Baros's move to the Midlands, and what have you made of him so far and how do you think he will perform in the long term plans?

Baros is a superb little player... hard worker with decent movement.. i think he will be a big player in our long term plans... its difficult to really talk about him based on villa performances, as hes been injured most of the time hes been here, but when he has played, hes been there or thereabouts for MOTM...

Quick , no very quick ... seems to be more of a team player than we were expecting based on comments from Liverpool fans ..I'm a huge fan but I've seen him since his days at Ostrava ..can't believe any manager, Champions league winner or not would prefer Crouch to Baros

Baros is our best signing under DOL. He looks like an amazing player and given a good run of fitness he will start to make himself a Villa legend with goals and assists.

At the time I thought he always does well for Czech Rep. and the first time he played for you lot that I saw (Bolton A?) he looked brilliant. We need pace in the team, he has it. He linked well with Phillips, then got injured... I think and hope he'll do well.

8 - From an outsiders point of view, what do you think about our club?

I've been in Lancs for 15 years now. Lots of redscouse mates. I like the ground, the fans, the identity of LFC - though it has become a bit of a parody of what it used to be "Theme Park Anfield" I call it. You've got a special club. Treasure it.

Having lived through your domination in the 70's and 80's I always wondered what was going to happen when you stopped winning things and to be fair you haven't got that arrogance that the Top3 today have, possibly because you never lorded it over everyone when you were winning.

Been left behind by man U ,Arsenal & Chelsea of late ..as previous answer winning the Champ league should have been a platform to challenge Chelsea this season , but it seems the club is paying the price for the dross that Houllier signed ..maybe 26m for Gerrard would have done you a favour ??

Biggest club in england...

9 - Do you have any young, up and coming players that we may not know about?

 Gary Cahill. Central defender but guess what? he's injured. Only 3 months. Oh and maybe Gabriel Agbonlahor - on loan at sheff wed - a striker

Apart from the obvious, steve davis, luke moore and gary cahill, theres gabriel agbonlahor whos quick, direct and strong... craig gardner looks decent after recovering from his knee injury... shane paul seems to be decent... probably others too... 

In theory our youngsters are quite good , but where as Boro , West Ham & City etc seem to be able to put them straight in the first team and they excel , ours seem to fail to deliver and end up playing in the championship before too long

Gabby Agbonlahor and Shane Paul look like being good strikers and Olejnik in goal too

10 - Are you happy with what David O'Leary has done so far, and do you think he is the man to help you push on to that next level?

Happy with what he has done but the general feeling is that it is time for him to move on. I think he should definately be given until January though...

What he did first season by getting rid of the deadwood and putting us in a position to challenge on limited resources was good, but since then we have fallen away. The only thing about getting rid now would be who would we get in.... not Burley I could do better and no-one else is available

He's not a bad manager but he's not the man to take us forward either , the club needs a shake up all the way through , don't think DOL can do it ...we over achieved in his first season but only really went back to where we already were before Graham Taylor tried to kill the club ..trouble with the prem is take the top 3 teams out and the rest are all as bad as each other , you can come 4th one season and 18th the next .. same players same manager just not the same luck ..play Man U now and you have a chance , play them in 10 games time and probably you have no chance , it's all about luck and timing

Im of the opinion that he is doing a decent job... hes working under the constraints of the board and we have finished where we have deserved to finish going by board ambition... of late, he has been lambasted for our results, and while i understand the frustration at seeing several squad players showing no fight or passion, i believe, if we hadnt been so unlucky with injuries, we would be midtable by now... but when we finished with 13 fit squad players at the end of the man city game, thats idictive of our problems... i do however, question things he does, with regards tactics, subs, motivation, transfers, etc, etc... 

11. Doug Ellis......he stirs different emotions in fans who are looking in from the outside, but no one can fault his support of the club for such a long time. What are you feelings on the man?

Support of the club?!?! dont fucking make me laugh... only thing he supports is his bank balance... i hate the man and i would be lying and being hypocritical if i said i cared whether he lived or died... if thats the only way to get him out of my club, then so be it... i certainly wouldnt shed a tear...

Bastard. In it for himself, massive ego as seen by the horrific stand he named himself, has kept us stable which is pretty boring and useless given how we've stagnated. Rmemeber when we challengers with you guys in the early nineties? Look at the gap now. I can fault his support of the club - it's been pathetic. 

I think Doug is a frail old man now and some people seem to have mellowed a bit towards him as he has suffered a few illnesses of late ... I've met him a few times and he is a nice man who genuinely believes that what he is doing for the club is for the best ..however fans see it differently ..trouble is Villa fans seem to have too much apathy , where as City fans removed Swales through protest , ours have been half arsed and resulted in different fan groups fighting each other more than anything

<struggles to control rage> That man has done enormously well for himself from Villa. He's done little or nothing for us, apart from hold us back. Aside from his personal vanity, ego, nasty vindictive side, scheming, manipulative personal qualities, he's simply inadequate for the job, and has been for a very long time. He's put not a penny into the club (why should he?) but you wouldn't know it from what he says. "Mr Aston Villa" my arse. He's a leech. Still, we're not Leeds so he must be a fecking genius, right?.

12 - The propsed take over by Michael Neville and his consortium. Is this a good thing, and in the long term what do you see this helping you to achieve?

Personally, though the temptation is to leap up and down with joy at the mere thought of ending the Ellis stagnation and mediocrity, We don't actually know anything about this approach, or the people behind it. It is, just on sheer chance, likely to be better than what we have now, but I'd like to know what they propose to do, how they will run the club, any guarantees etc... And I'm still scpetical it'll actually happen any time soon.

The proposed takeover seems good, it's too early to tell exactly what it will bring, but it couldn't really be worse than a board that budgets to finish 10th and stay in the black.

Who knows , 20m a year transfer kitty in according to reports , but it will take more than that ...as per previous answer the club needs a shake up all the way through ..we will never be a Man U but we always have been bigger than Chelsea and look how there fan base is growing ... every 10 yr old in Surrey is wearing a Lampard Chelsea shirt

It should be a superb thing... having people in the club with modern day business practices alone, would help push us on a little bit... a lot of people misunderstand villa fans when we make negative judgements on the way our club is run... they think its whinging and we want to be winning titles, etc etc... obviously that would be nice, but what we really want is some form of progression for our club... we have not seen this for many years even when the opportunity has arisen, simply due to that cnut ellis... so with ellis gone, i see progression for the club....

13 - Saturday sees another 12.45pm Kick off for Sky. Do you yearn, like many of us, for the 'good old days'. When the game was run primarily by the moneymen, without consideration of the fans?

3 o'clock kick offs? yes please. Sky Scum Sport can go bust for all I care.

Dunno about the second part of the question, but being run by a combination of Sky, people taking out, marketers and chancers is not for me. The dicking about with kick off times infuriates me. I've had enough of it frankly. Over-priced, over pampered players, managerial tiffs, pompous chairmen (you never used to hear a squeak from 'em, did you?) and media hype. It's all bollex.

 Yes, would have gone to it at 3.00 but will never make it for that time. plus we always do shite on telly

SKY can feck off

14 - Do you think that the football bubble will soon burst, and if so, what will we see?

Who knows.. maybe it will be a good thing.. less money, means less pressure and hopefully, less wanker football players.... but i couldnt really say what will happen...

I think it has got a ruddy great leak already that is being held together by a couple of big clubs with inordinate pockets of £. You are skint and you won the CL FFS. the Mancs are signing shite as they cannot afford the 'good' players..... and it will only get worse I feel as I can see clubs becoming toys for the mega rich.

It's leaking already. I have no faith that most of the people in charge will be able to take their heads out of their own arses for long enough to notice anything but the drop in gate revenue. I'd like to think we'll get our game back.

When the bubble bursts half the teams in England will prbably go part time or fold.

15 - And finally - go on, predict a scoreline?

I would say 3-1 With baros getting our goals and Cisse scoring for you

2-1 to us, you'll get a dubious penalty in the tenth minute. Then we'll come back at you equalising before half-time and Olly will score the winner from a corner

3-0 to the redscouse.... gerrard, crouch and morietes scoring.... you know its bound to happen.. crouch and morientes both cant score in a whorehouse with a fifty pound note tied to the ends of their cocks, so its inevitable that they score against us... gerrard simply because he will dominate our shit midfield on his own, let alone any of the other redscouse midfield...

2-1 to Liverpool , even with your away record we are a team lacking confidence and form at the moment

Thanks again to Villa Talk for the replies.

© Roper 2005

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