Who are you? We’re Aston Villa (1)

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They’re cock-a-hoop after winning at Old Trafford. We’re down in the dumps after a draw that, as Steve Bruce admitted, felt like a defeat. Pete Sixsmith has yet to deliver his considered verdict but his post-match seven-worder – A horrible game that exposed our weaknesses” – gives you an idea of what he thinks.

Many Salut! Sunderland readers have already seen the second instalment of our Villa previews. A technical hitch meant it was briefly live on Saturday – even before Sunderland’s lamentable surrender of two points aginst Pompey; it was quickly removed but this the link could still be seen at newsnow.com and worked.

But back to plan A: over in the States, Dominic Wren*, discovered via the VillaTalk fan site, is a PE teacher and “soccer” coach (he probably means football). So a few press-ups with the Salut! Sunderland questionnaire – he’s originally from Dorset, the product of Villa-supporting Brummies – hardly brought him out in a sweat. Oh, and Dominic, pictured with John Carew, thinks Villa will beat us 2-1 on Tuesday night …

Salut! Sunderland: Villa seem to be doing the business this season. Has your time come again at last?

No, we’re back where we belong in terms of modern EPL, in the mix amongst the big boys, we still need more creativity (who doesn’t!) to trouble the top four consistently.


What is so good about Martin O’Neill? How good a manager and how does he rate when compared with greats of Villa’s past?

What you get with MON is intelligence, he’s a very astute and smart man, he is a good man motivator and has created an atmosphere at Villa (along with the new regime) that a lot of players want to be a part of


Did you go to the Carling Cup game at the Stadium of Light? What do make of Sunderland this season, leaving aside any residual antipathy towards Steve Bruce and do you have any strong memories, good or bad, of previous games against us?

Did not attend, as I live in America. I like what you guys have done over the last few years. Bruce has come in and done what he does best, something similar to MON, built a hard working squad, that play to their strengths and on there day can be a match for the big boys.


What do you really think of Birmingham City? Do you like having them back in the Premier because of the great rivalry or do you just want them to sink without trace?

God, the unwashed, they’re a blight on to the PL and the sooner they go back down where they belong the better, although there is no sweeter feeling than watching Gabby tuck another one by them to win the game!


Who do you most want to see in a Villa shirt and who wouldn’t you mind seeing the back of?

Realistically – a Wesley Sneijder type player who can create and run at defenders in the central area of the pitch, I would guess Gardner, Shorey, Harewood are on their way out.

Name this season’s top four in order, and the bottom three.

Chelski, Man Ure, Arse, Villa! Small heath, Portsmouth. Can I name Small heath twice just to make sure? If not then the Dingles (Wolves).

If Villa didn’t appear in the first list, why not. If we weren’t in either, where will we finish.

I’d like to see you guys in Europe, so I would say 6th.

Sunderland, no real bad blood. All the lads that have come on VillaTalk have been sound.


Club vs country. Rooting for England all the way in S Africa or too concerned with Villa to care much?

100 per cent Villa, 100 per cent English. COME ON the three lions!

The Eduardo question: you’ll finish second or even top if you win your last game. Young flies into the box in the last second and falls over dramatically. Everyone knows it’s a dive except the ref who gives the penalty, which you convert. You take it guiltily, you take it gladly or you’re so ashamed you almost wish you’d only drawn and missed out?

Great question, Villa is a club built on class, especially this new regime, so I would like to think Villa fans would think the latter


Given how much cheating goes on, should N’Gog and Thierry Henry and maybe others be added to that question?

Sadly becoming a too common part of the game. Give more powers to punish after the fact, but you will never eradicate completely and I guess, sadistically, that is the joy of football.


What one thing would you change in the way football is run to improve the game or the lot of supporters?

Honestly, I would just try to connect the fans and players again, the players in the modern game often have no real connection to the club and fans. Its not their fault, but would def do more fans forums, fan days, special stuff, which Villa does a superb job of.


Will you be at our game? What will be the score?

Nope but hope it will be on the telly here in the states, I’d like to say 2-1 Villa


* Dominic Wren on Dominic Wren: I’m a middle school PE teacher and soccer coach here in America. Born and raised in Weymouth, but all family is from Birmingham, so obviously Villa over the knuckle draggers was the only choice!

Colin Randall

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Salut! Sunderland is written, illustrated and edited by - and principally for - supporters of Sunderland AFC. The site aims to be sufficiently literate and entertaining to appeal to people who do not follow SAFC but enjoy good football writing.

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