Today sees the return of the Premier League and the first game for Villa fans is an away trip to Stoke City. I have asked Stoke fans on The Oatcake fanzine what they think about the opening day fixture.
1) How do you feel the summer transfer market has gone so far for Stoke City?
An excellent summer so far. We need another right-sided winger and then it is just a case of getting rid of the fringe players. We’re very pleased with who Hughes has brought in and how much he spent to bring them to Stoke City.
2) Many believe that the signing of Bojan is a bit of a coup. How has he performed in pre-season and do you believe he will be a hit?
He’s performed brilliantly from what I’ve seen – three very good goals in three games speak for themselves. It will obviously be a step up playing in the Premiership and he’ll have to adjust. I just hope the fans are patient.
3) With Port Vale several leagues below you, which team do you consider as your derby opponents?
West Brom. Not Villa because I’m still brainwashed into thinking they are bigger and better than us even though the table shows that last bit isn’t true at the moment.
4) Mark Hughes or Tony Pulis? Why?
I’ll always like Pulis. I am not sure Mark Hughes would have kept us up back in year 1 plus I liked being feared and loathed by hipsters and journalists but Hughes has done well and if he stays for a good long run he’ll surpass Pulis.
5) What are your thoughts on the situation at Villa, looking on from the outside?
It shows me that the owner/chairman is always the most important man in the club. We’ve been very lucky with Uncle Peter. I am well past fifty years watching professional football and I can’t recall Villa ever being a well-run club. Doug Ellis was a perfect example of a bad owner. I think you’ve had two or three good managers recently – O’Neill and Lambert are both in the top rank of domestic managers – but the owners have been poor.
6) Which Aston Villa player would you like to have in the Stoke City team?
Vlaar because I’m not sure how Huth will recover from his injury from last season.
7) Who do you consider to be the best and worst signings so far in the Premier League this window?
I’d go for Alexis Sanchez as the best signing. He is a fantastic player; it is a shame he had to sign for such a horrible club. As for worst, I’m sorry to say this but I’d have to go with Senderos for you guys. He’s looked awful for a long time so I’m not sure what your transfer team are playing at.
8) Which player/players should we fear this weekend and why?
Stephen Ireland is quite creative. Oh, you probably know about him already! He seems to have a good understanding with Bojan. Arnie’s work rate – never stops running. Jon Walters is a clinical finisher and goal poacher. Glen Whelen’s shooting from outside the box is deadly.
9) Match prediction?
1-0 – I reckon it’ll be a bit messy as everybody tries to figure out how to play together.
10) Messi or Ronaldo?
Messi – less hair products, more end product.
11) North or South?
Thanks to the members of The Oatcake fanzine for participating in our Opposition View for the opening day of the 2014-15 season.