Fan's Eye View: Aston Villa

But there are so many to choose from...oh, hold on, Villa. We saved our best form for Newcastle last term and as the 3-0 win at St James' Park was slightly overshadowed by the fisticuffs between Messrs Bowyer and Dyer, I'll plump for the 4-2 victory at home earlier in the season.

And the worst?

Take your pick. That Newcastle win followed an insipid 3-0 loss to Charlton, and tame defeats soon became the order of the day. Obviously, having Birmingham City do the double was particularly galling. Not least because of the way the losses came about. Two errors by Thomas Sørenson were bad but the comical mix-up between Olof Mellberg and Martin Laursen was truly heart-stopping. It could not have been more embarrassing if they were wearing baggy trousers, oversized shoes and red noses. Then again, at least that would have provided some disguise.

Who was your best player last season?

Nobby Solano was streets ahead of anybody else and it will be good to see more of him now he's retired from international football. Again. His performance against Southampton was particularly memorable, coming off the bench to almost single-handedly turn a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 win.

Who was the most under-rated?

Despite a lot of criticism, I'd go for Ulises de la Cruz. Does not deserve his handy, if inaccurate, 'Useless' tag, as David O'Leary has said on enough occasions to suggest that he himself is far from convinced.

And the worst player?

A couple of early season games aside, Carlton Cole wins at a canter. If he were a horse, he would have been put out of his misery sometime around November but after a spate of injuries, his blinkered running was to be painfully viewed for much of the season.

What was the most memorable moment?

Villa, right? It has to be Thomas Hitzlsperger's sublime strike against Bolton Wanderers that stole all three points in the last minute of the game. Sam Allardyce's face was a peach - an adjective not usually used in conjunction with the Bolton manager's elephantitis-addled mug.

Funniest moment, If any?

Any of the Birmingham derby goals - before I realised Villa were not playing in blue.

Whose was the best individual performance against you?

The rotund Andy Reid ran rings around us at White Hart Lane, but then, so too did the rest of the Spurs side. Therefore the award has got to go to another diminutive winger, Manchester City's Shaun Wright-Philips who, well, ran rings around us in City's 2-0 win at Eastlands.

Best set of fans, besides your own?

With Spurs in 20th, the remaining 19 will have to fight it out. But I would say Everton for their passion, humour and conformity to lazy stereotypes.

Best chant?

A slight variation but Robbie Fowler's reaction to Everton's 'smackhead' taunts was excellent. Sadly Gerard 'it is a training ground joke where Robbie pretends to be a cow' Houllier was not on hand to provide another dazzling excuse.

Which ground is your favourite to visit and why?

At risk of repetition it has to be Goodison Park. A traditional stadium with good views - if you are not in the Gladys Street end that is - and friendly if vociferous support. Of the modern grounds, the imposing St

James' Park is pretty spectacular too.

What improvements need to be made this season?

I would settle for advances with the goalkeeper, defence, midfield, up front and with the coach. Oh, and the canteen. Shoddy burgers.

Individual with most to prove?

Jlloyd Samuel. An outstanding first season which deservedly earned comparisons to Ashley Cole, was followed up by a year of painful tripe more akin to the footballing prowess of Minder's George Cole.

Which game are you most looking forward to?

Behind Portsmouth? I would be tempted to say Birmingham.

Which of your young players has impressed you?

We have a number of youngsters on the fringes of the side. Peter Whittingham and Luke Moore both excel for the reserves but still look like startled deer for the first XI. Liam Ridgewell had a good run in the first

team last season but failed to grasp the opportunity, although Steven Davis definitely did. After making his debut, he became on of out three best players. Central defender Gary Cahill will hopefully soon emerge from the shadows after impressing for Burnley on loan last season.

If money was no object which player or manager would like to see at your club?

Well, as the saying goes, you can't polish a turd. But if anyone can, it's got to be José Mourinho.

What would you consider to be a good season?

A UEFA Cup spot. We now seem to be concentrating our pre-season work in Scandinavia. A shrewd move - the days of elimination by Helsingborg are surely over. We are ready to roll.

How would you sum up your manager?

By his nicknames. 'David O'Dreary' just about sums up his post-match interviews ("I can't ask the lads more than that. You know, we've got one of the smallest squads in the premierzzzzzhhhip"). Meanwhile, his snub nose and keen dislike for anything local succinctly fit the 'Tubbs' billing.

If you had to put a £1m bet on where your team finishes, where would you say?


Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little