What’s your name and where do you come from?
My name is Daniel Skyba and I’m from all over the place! I’m originally from Kings Norton in Birmingham but when I was about eleven my parents moved us all down to sunny Cornwall and I currently live in a little village just outside of Bath and Bristol called Midsomer Norton.
When and how did you become a Villa fan?
I was born a Villa fan. Some people are born into religions and faiths but I was born into the Villa. My dad was a huge Villa fan and followed them home and away for over twenty years so there was no doubt about which team my brothers and I would support. Our right of passage was the first home games after our fifth birthdays.
It’s almost twenty years since the terracing went from the Holte End. What’s your favourite memory of being on the terraces?
I think my favourite memory of being on the terrace has to be the 1994 League Cup semi-final against Tranmere. I was only nine years old and, as usual, my brother and I would go to the front of the Holte to get close to the pitch and the players while my dad stood in his usual place with the season ticket holders. We thought we were out as the game drew to a close so my brother and I started walking to the back to meet my dad again. About halfway up the stairs, the crowd went crazy as Atkinson’s goal went into the back of the net. All I remember was a stranger picking me, jumping around and screaming, “We’ve scored!” Immediately, my brother and I ran back to the front to see us eventually go on to win the game on penalties.
Describe your most painful moment as a Villa fan.
As Villa fans, we get pretty used to painful moments but I think my most painful one in recent memory has to be going to Wembley to see the League Cup final against Manchester United in 2010. By then my family had moved to Cornwall so we no longer attended games as regularly and therefore couldn’t get tickets for the Villa end, even though we tried extremely hard. Luckily, a friend of my dad’s could get tickets through his company based in Bolton but, unfortunately, they were in the United end. We went and we stood right in line with the area where Gabby was dragged down for the penalty. I think being there and standing amongst quite possibly the most boring fans I have ever witnessed was painful enough but to lose like that, knowing that Vidic should have been sent off, was very painful.
Who would you like to see replace Paul Lambert should he leave B6 at the end of the season?
I don’t really know. I would like to see Pep Guardiolla but we all know that isn’t going to happen so failing that just someone who plays the game properly. Laudrup has been mentioned a lot and he could probably do a good job but maybe we could find our own version. I’m not very up to date with European football but there must be a budding manager looking for his chance.
Which player from the current squad would you most like to go for a pint with?
Well, I don’t drink but if I did it would probably be Gabby as I’d be interested to hear stories of the Martin O’Neill era and what it was like to be in that team that seemed so promising.
Which footballer from the Premier League era would you have liked to have seen in claret and blue?
For me, it would have to be Thierry Henry: he just seemed to be able to do anything when he was at his best. When he was in that Arsenal team, I think it was probably the best team for a neutral to watch as the team never failed to entertain.
If you could give Lambert an end of season gift, what would it be and why?
If I could give him anything, I think I would give him Randy Lerner’s debit card and PIN so he could go out and buy some quality additions in the summer and take the Villans back to their rightful place – fighting it out at the top of the Premier League.