Do you think there's any chance of a dead cat bounce against United? After all, this should be a relatively easy three points given how terrible we are.
"Given how terrible we are" he says to the guy forced to watch Aston Villa limp their way to sixteen points. Sixteen points that are 30% of Manchester United's season total (despite having played one more match). Sixteen points that come to a total of .48 points per match. Sixteen points, only three of which have come in the last ten matches.
He asks of the blogger who has not seen Aston Villa travel to Old Trafford and win since 2009 (or beat Manchester United since 2009, for that matter). Of an Aston Villa team that have been in the Premier League with Manchester United since that league's beginning (RIP streak) and who have only beaten Manchester United in that league on three occasions.
I'm sorry, what was the question? Dead cat bounce? No. Not happening.
Is there a relatively brief summary of how you came to be in such a desolate position?
The briefest version. Since 2010, Aston Villa have been managed by: Martin O'Neill, (Kevin MacDonald), Gerard Houllier, (Gary McAllister), Alex McLeish, Paul Lambert, (Scott Marshall and Andy Marshall), Tim Sherwood, (Kevin MacDonald), Rémi Garde, (Eric Black). That sort of turnover when combined with horrible decision making as regards player selection and management means that Aston Villa have no stability and haven't in this decade.
This is the relegation that's been five years in the making.
Do you think there are reasons for optimism in the boardroom changes, or do you anticipate the rot continuing until you change owners?
I think that the appointment of the new members of the board, and the reorganization of how the board works, certainly provide for some optimism. Steve Hollis has been cleaning up the upper management and firing the right people (goodbye Tom Fox, you worthless so and so).
But my optimism is absolutely tempered by the fact that I was optimistic at the beginning of this season. And the beginning of last. And plenty of other times. Aston Villa have been headed for relegation for five years, but there have been countless opportunities to put a halt to that slide. And none of them have been successfully taken. So while I do have some optimism, I don't have enough faith in this club to not screw up to make it worthwhile.
Get a new owner, like you mention, and I'll buy in. Until then, I'm wary of being burnt again.
Who are the biggest threats that Villa have against United, who should we be worrying about?
Oh goodness. I know you want a real answer here, and I swear to god I'm not trying to be that cynical, but the truth probably is "no one." Our leading scorer in the Premier League this year is Jordan Ayew with six goals. After that it's Rudy Gestede with five. We're a club who have scored 23 goals in 33 matches.
So Ayew is probably the biggest threat, but keep in mind that the term "biggest" is relative. If I had any hope he'd see significant minutes, I might add in Adama Traoré. He's blazingly fast, talented, and can cut his way through several defenders with ease. If he actually plays, he could wreak havoc on any team at any given moment. But we've barely seen him this year.
Villa Park is an excellent FA Cup semi-final venue, how is it for Villa fans?
I've never been, myself. But I know that the reputation is well earned. When it's full and when Aston Villa are playing even competently, it's one of the loudest stadia in England. The actual amenities are apparently fantastic and the atmosphere can be astonishing.
But lately, it's been a terrible place for Villa fans. It's been a place where shouting "Football is nothing without the fans" can get you kicked out of the ground and have your season ticket revoked by former CEO Tom Fox. It's a ground where banners of protest can be ripped down (ironically, for maximum visibility, as it was a tiny sign that most wouldn't have noticed without the kerfuffle). It's a place where there is almost nothing to cheer for (see: 12 goals in 17 matches). So right now, it's a bit of a downer.
Lastly, do you think if he really buckled down in training, lost weight and recommitted himself to improving his form, Wayne Rooney might get into the Villa team when they drop into the Championship?
We'd welcome him with open arms! Gabby Agbonlahor needs someone to compete with in eating contests.