Date: 14th December 2009 at 1:59pm
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An interview with JP Fear from Vital Villa:

1. Another big win for Villa, can you make the top four this season or you expect a similar collapse as last season?

I hope we have learnt lessons from last season and have certainly added more strength in depth which was a major problem last season (and for the 10 before that in truth!). Our defence is solid and has options which is another major step forward. I think we are light up front, although Gabby has come on leaps and bounds, I’m not sure Emile Heskey will wade in with the gaols needed (although he has started to look like he has settled and is starting to believe in himself a little more) and John Carew is simply an enigma, there is NO better striker than him on his day but he doesn’t have enough days. If he switches on and gets the 20 or so he should, then yes, we could well push the top four this season.

Having had years of false dawns under Doug, I’m not going to shout anything from the rooftops, but hey, it looks like things are moving very much in the right direction and we’ve picked up a useful habit of picking up points whilst not always playing well which is something I’ve admire about Man Utd for many years. I think with a top striker we’d have made more of the draws wins but hey, who knows what January might bring!

2. Who was the best player of the game on Saturday?

Difficult to name just one for us, I thought Ashley Young looked like he was getting back to his best and Gabby’s goal was very well taken but I’d also tip my hate to a great defensive display.

On your side, I’d have said Wayne Rooney until that dive. Personally I thought that was abysmal and was surprised he did it. I hope he NEVER does that again and most especially never whilst in an England shirt, I like to win correctly or not at all. That sort of stuff is just way way way out of order and totally not needed from a player with his much skill. Sermon over, what was the question again!?

3. Hands on heart: don’t you think that Fergie actually had a point about the amount of added time, bearing in mind all the injuries to Villa players in the second half?

I personally thought Fergie – who I am a fan of by the way – was totally wrong. He has no grace and doesn’t seem to realise that he gets more than his fair share of decisions his way. Sometimes you just need to shut your mouth, shake hands with the winners and realise football is a funny old game. Sir Chewalot, despite all his good points, is a bully to the press and a bully to the referees and I’m surprised he has got away with it for so long.

4. Can United win the Premier League with this squad?

Chelsea will push you all the way, you do have the experience but if you get a few injuries you are over and out I’d say. The likes of Berbatov don’t look like they are settling either which is a big blow – I’m happy about that as I thought the way his move was made was wrong and personally I’d play Michael Owen every minute he is fit as he needs games to get back to his best.

Can they? Yes, the experience of some of the older heads could push things your way and lets face it, all of the ‘top four’ are dropping points, Liverpool are already out of it imho and Chelsea aren’t invincible.

With a top striker alongside Gabby at Villa, I’d honestly say we would also be up there with a shout as we’d have converted more of our draws for wins.

5. Are you happy with Villa’s performance so far?

Wigan at home on the opening day was simply woeful, amongst the worst I’ve ever seen by Villa and I’ve been watching them a very long time! At that point it looked like something was VERY wrong. Then we went and beat Liverpool at Anfield. We’ve had mixed performances and we could/should have pushed a few games into wins (draws v Everton who were poor at Goodison and v Wolves at Molyneux spring to mind) but yes, as long as our fight continues and we pick up points against the teams around us and above us, I’m more than happy. Some of the footie isn’t pretty but again, not that bothered as long as we get the points.

With Stewart Downing now in the team (adding a bit of fresh inpetus) and James Milner in the centre, we are also now passing the ball instead of hoofing it. That makes me VERY happy!

6. Would you strengthen in January if the funds were there?

Yes, we aren’t at the stage where we don’t need to strengthen but are now in the position where we only need to make additions of better quality than what we already have, before we simply needed bodies as the squad was so small. I’d go for a top striker, possibly at the expense of Carew but very much doubt any will be available in truth.

I’d also still sign me, I might have cripple legs but I think I’m still worth a gamble… I was offered terms once (no, seriously I was) unfortunately it was for left-back-in-the-changing-room.

7. Ryan Giggs is BBC Sports Personality of the Year – did he deserve it?

YES, YES and YES. Love the fella. In my top five best ever Premier League players, a truly great player, a great professional and someone I’m told does a lot for charity. A great ambassador for your club and for the sport in general. Shame he wasn’t English, he’d have been an international star for us!

Our interview on Vital Villa: www.astonvilla.vitalfootball.co.uk/article