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Talking To The Enemy- Season Review- Part One


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Here is Part One of the Talking To The Enemy Season Review- The European Contenders. We go from Villa to West Ham. Enjoy.


Aston Villa

Final Position: 6th



1- What would your assement of your season be in comparison with your pre-season hopes and expectations?

The_Rev: If you look at our points tally and final place, they would be pretty much what I hoped for. Of course, the manner in which we earned those points throws up all kinds of other questions and concerns. Im sure those will be covered in another question.


Bof: Against my pre-season hopes I think both would be identical. If our mid-season peak had continued and we actually managed to break the top 4 then that would have exceeded pre-season expectations but other than the fact we finished where we did last season, I think the fact that we closed the gap on those above us and seriously threatened them for a long time shows progress and that's all we can ask for.


2- What would your season highlight be?


The_Rev: Call me shallow and petty, sending Newcastle down has to be up there.

Other particularly great memories? Six points off of West Brom, the win away at Arsenal, the win at home over Ajax and of course, injury time at Goodison Park.


Bof: Briefly being 3rd in the league at a relatively advanced stage of the season.


3- What would your season low-light be?


The_Rev: The way the team just rolled over and died from mid February onwards. The exits from the League Cup and UEFA cup. In fact, our whole attitude to the UEFA cup. We played our reserves in more games in that competition than we played our first XI. Oh, and the 90th minute in both games against Stoke. And the form of Emile Heskey, the bloke is a fucking cart horse.


Bof: Martin Laursen announcing his retirement.


4- Would you like to see you take Europa League more seriouly next year or would you prefer to solely concentrate on the league or a domestic cup?


The_Rev: I dont think it would be possible to take it less seriously than we did to be honest. I predict more complaints about how many games we have to play next January and February.


Bof: I think we learned lessons this season. Even if you DO decide to dismiss the European trophy you are not guaranteed to continue playing well in the league. In fact if anything, our dismissal of the UEFA Cup gave us a huge morale hangover in the league that destroyed our chase for CL. So I think we absolutely have to take Europe more seriously next season and I expect us to.


5- Would do you need to bring in during the summer and who would you like to see leave the club?


The_Rev: More bodies! We have the smallest squad in the league and it shows big time. Before Everton fans pipe up (as they tend to) some stats came out today saying that Aston Villa used fewer players (21) and made fewer substitutions (61) than any other team in the division. You can find them on The Guardian. Our first XI is pretty good. We cannot cope with injury, suspension or loss of form though. We were crippled by the loss of Martin Laursen this season, and lord knows how the hell we got away with Freddy Bouma being injured.


Bof: We need to replace Laursen. We will likely need to replace Barry though that's no longer a given IMO. We need a top class finisher at the club and we probably need a leftback as Bouma looks crocked and Shorey isn't quite up to it. Other than that I think we're OK. Maybe get rid of some midfield dross and bring in another quality player.


6- What should the aim for next season be?


The_Rev: More of the same would be nice. Just without the 13 game winless run and maybe a bit more effort in the cups. Oh, and good luck in the FA cup final. I would much rather see Everton win it than Chelsea.


Bof: Given that we have finished 6th twice in a row, the aim has to be to improve the league position. Though the most important thing is that we keep chipping away at the gap to the top 4 so even another 6th place would be OK if it was very close to 4th place. A cup of some description would be nice.



Final Position: 7th



1- What would your assesment of your season be?


Bigmamma: I thought we would do well this year but I'm not sure if that was more in hope than expectation. I couldn't have gone through all those nerves on the last day of the season again.

It's been great to enjoy it all and it's been really great that other teams no longer look this way for 3 easy points (except Everton who never got 3 points at Craven Cottage until now )


WHITEwitch: I can't ever remember feeling complacent before but it's been lovely to travel without that stone in the pit of my stomach. I've loved every minute watching their growing confidence and tactical discipline.


After four emotionally draining seasons prior to Reading last Spring it's been great to bask in the sun for a bit and get off the anti depressants.


2- What would your season highlight be?


Bigmamma: Fulham v Man U. Rooney and Scholes sent off. Beating them 2-0 after losing 4-0 to them a couple of weeks previously. Their arrogance was unbelievable, followed by their petulance when it didn't go their way. The only bit of a letdown was that Ronaldo didn't get sent off too as he should have been. But we loved it all .


WHITEwitch: Finishing above the Lying Cheating Bar Stewards (WH) and the Spuds.


Gera's goal against Man Utd. Watching Nevland as a super sub.


3- What would your season low-light be?


Bigmamma: Fulham v Hull. We completely dominated the game, should have won 5-0 and lost in the last kick of the game with their only shot on goal. It was a horrible game and even more horrible result.


WHITEwitch: Wet Spam at home - never been so puzzled watching a match - major hiccup and a lot of fear it was all about to fall apart.

4- How do you think you will fare in Europe next season?


Bigmamma: It depends on money and purchases. If the club get it right, we could do very well, if not, we could sink all around. I can't see Hodgson getting it wrong as he made that mistake at Blackburn and lost his job because of it. He's not going to make the same mistakes again in hurry.


WHITEwitch: I think we'll thoroughly enjoy the qualifiers and then make a tacticasl withdrawal or use some of our very capable reserves and academy graduates.


5- Who would you like to see brought into the club and who would you like to see the back of?


Bigmamma: Jagielka please. (Along with Hangeland, I think they were the true players of the seasons. Giggs? Don't make me laugh).


Truly though, we need a couple of decent strikers. You can have Johnson back and I don't think Zamora wants to be at Fulham. He is less and less interested every week. We also need back up in practically every area of the pitch. Any injuries cause us big problems. Even if we need to shake it up a bit, we haven't really got any options at the moment. So we need a lot of money spent wisely in all areas - I hear there are a few Newcastle players looking for new clubs on a cut price deal (oops, I said money spent wisely )


WHITEwitch: Tom Huddlestone.


The bloke who sits behind me and yells nonsense like 'offload him' and 'Davies you lazy bar steward'.


6- What should your aspiration for next season be?


Bigmamma: I would like to establish ourselves in the top 8 of the Premiership. It's going to be tough though with Man City spending £billions, Spurs sorting themselves out, Aston Villa and Everton on a steady cruise, and Wet Spam have a good manager and some good talent.


And of course, to win the FA Cup




A very big to all those Everton fans that stayed behind after the game and applauded our players. It was a really nice gesture. All the best in the cup, I hope you


WHITEwitch: 8th or 9th ( just about attainable given that Spuds and Man City will be up there next season ).


Continue being consistent and hard to beat.


Tottenham Hotspurs

Final Position: 8th



1- What would your assement of your season be in comparison with your pre-season hopes and expectations?


Irishspur: Well hopes were really high at the start of the year and most posters on here, me included, felt we could break into the top 4 at the expense of arsenal or liverpool. However 2 points from our first 8 games had the more faint-hearted among us worrying about doing a 'Newcastle'! Harry Redknapp has done a great job for us but all in all it was an up and down season.


Keanoldinho: If you're going to go by pre-season expectations then we had a CRAP season. We won feck all, didn't qualify for Europe and Ramos got canned. After the start we had most of us are just happy we got a manager in who knows what he's doing and the 2 from 8 dead last form is a distant memory.


2- What would your season highlight be?


Irishspur: The season highlight has to be the 4-4 draw at our biggest rivals, Arsenal. 4-2 down in the 89th minute only for a cracker from Jenas and a last gasp equalizer from lennon saw us snatch a draw. The game was also fondly remembered for David Bentleys only meaningful contribution, a 40 yard screamer to open the scoring.


Keanoldinho: Highlight for me if I had to pick one moment probably beating chavski 1-0 with the to light weight to play in the EPL Modric scoring the winner. The 4-4 comeback against the scum was pretty great to with Modric hitting a awesome shot that banged off the post then little Lenno tapped in the rebound in the dying seconds.


3- What would your season low-light be?


Irishspur: There were a few of those but for me the capitulation at West Brom has to be up there, a 2-0 defeat and ending with ten men after a straight red for Assou-Ekotto against officially the worst team in the league really hurt.


Keanoldinho: Right after we got done by Udinese and Ramos got canned we had lost 4 out the last 5 games and were deadlast in the league with 2 points from 8 games the team just looked like a fish outta water andcould buy a win. Then in comes Harry Houdini to save the day.


4-Each season you are tipped for great things but they have yet to materialise. Will expectations be as high next year or will you be more cautious?


Irishspur: Well expectations are always high with us and i dont expect things to be a lot different with Harry at the helm and hopefully a few top new signings. Also the fact that we failed to qualify for the Europa League could be a blessing in disguise as we can focus all our attentions on the league and i would be highly surprised if we didnt make the top 6 next season.


Keanoldinho: We are Tottenham Hotspur so of course expectations will be sky high as per usual lol. Seriously I think most of us will try to exercise abit of caution but if we have a good summer transfer window we could get overly excited again. Since Harry came in we have shown top5 form so with a couple of upgrades in the squad we could be a force next season but Villa, City and Everton will be our main competition next season.


5- Would do you need to bring in during the summer and who would you like to see leave the club?


Irishspur: Well Gomes has been fantastic for us in the second half of the season and Carlo Cudicini is a quality backup so i dont see us looking to change anything there. The defense has been excellent all year not a lot needs to change perhaps one adaptible player like Bassong or Demel to cover for the injury prone King and Woodgate. In midfield we need a few bodies an upgrade of Jermaine Jenas and an out and out left winger are top of our priorities. Also up front we have been linked with the likes of Kenwyne Jones, Chamakh of Bordeaux, and Santa Cruz. I personally would like to see Bent replaced by a target man who can put himself about and score headers. Players id like to see leave would be Bentley, Zokora, Bent, Chimbonda, and Dos Santos. They should raise a good amount of money.


Keanoldinho: This is hard to say because you never know how a player will adapt to a new team even one that's been in the EPL for example look at Bentley nobody thought he'd flop like he did and then Modric who was widely tipped to flop by many pundits and duchbags alike but was a shining star at times. I can tell you the kind of player we need to really push on. A CM to partner Palacios who is big and strong he can be box to box or more defensive it really doesn't matter Palacios just needs a partner who isn't a soft touch who frequently goes into hiding like JJ. Then we need a forward someone tall strong with good aerial ability who can hold up link up and finish moves off. Carrick and Berbatov would be ideal ffs.


6- What should the aim for next season be?


Irishspur: Well next season our sole focus will be on league position and a top 6 finish should be our goal. Anything above that is a bonus. Also a good run in the FA cup would be excellent.


P.S. Good luck for the final i really hope you beat Chelsea.


Keanoldinho: Progress under Harry forget about previous managers and what they achieved. A European spot through the league and winning a Cup would be ideal. I just hope we can break that top 4 but arseshavings might help the scum hold on for alittle while longer. Then you got sheik shitty who will buy up everything they might have very good team next season Sparky just needs to get the balance right ie sorting out there defence. Shitty are going to be a big threat next season.



West Ham United

Final Position: 9th



1- What would your assement of your season be in comparison with your pre-season hopes and expectations?


TonyP: Speaking personally I was merely hoping for a season of further consolidation and to avoid a relegation battle. We finished 9th (a place and 2 points better off than last season) so in fact I got improvment not only in position but in the style of football


IronsTillDeath: Well when Curbs was still in charge, I was expecting another season of mediocrity, because of all the financial trouble we had I could not see us getting into Europe. When Zola came in, I was unsure but soon the good football I saw improved my expectation. Coming 9th with the squad we had and a first time manager is good but the good football was better. So all in all, the season we had was a very good one.


2- What would your season highlight be?


TonyP: No one thing stands out to be honest. Our away form was so unlike West Ham and has to be applauded. More academy graduates making their first team debuts. The new managment team and style of play. Sorry that I cannot pin it down to ONE highlight


My season highlight would be the run we had going from 17th to 9th. Also, you can't ignore our 4-1 win over Judas and also our 4-1 win against Portsmouth.

3- What would your season low-light be?


TonyP: Losing TWICE to Spurs and failing to score a single goal against them. Add to that they finished above us on goal difference


IronsTillDeath: Lowlight would be when we dropped near the relegation zone. And the performances in the 2-0 home loss to the spurts, the 0-0 draw against WBA (that I went to shit) and the loss against Middlesbrough in the FA Cup replay...that was painful to watch on tv.


4-Your much aclaimed youth acadamy is starting to show some new prospects. Who should we look out for?


TonyP: Some of the ones to "look out for" are already playing in the first team. The two stand out youngsters are Jack Collison and James Tomkins. Junior Stanislas, Josh Payne and Freddie Sears have all turned out for the first team too. In the wings we have Bondz N'Gala and Jordan Spence both England regulars at lower levels


IronsTillDeath: Well the players that Tony mentioned. I would say Collison is actually our best player at the moment. Very energetic and creative which are things we need more of. Also Tomkins was very assured at the end of the season. Freddie Sears could do with some bulking up but he is still great for our reserves. Stanislas brings some pace to the team and attempting to push through at the moment are Bondz Ngala + Josh Payne.


5- Would do you need to bring in during the summer and who would you like to see leave the club?


TonyP: I cannot put names to the positions that we need to come IN to the club right now but we certainly need a "fox in the box" striker, a creative midfield player and another right back. As for departures I would like to see Quashie, Davenport, Di Michele, Tristan and Luis Boa Morte leave the club


IronsTillDeath: I would love to see players who play attractive football and are creative. For example, the rumoured loan signing of Carlos Vela would be great. I would want Gabbidon, Quashie, Tristan and Di Michele to leave


6- What should the aim for next season be?


TonyP: A top six finish a good cup run and keeping Dean Ashton fit! Expectations should be kept under control too. We will be competing against Everton, Aston Villa, Man City and Spurs for that top six finish. It is not going to be easy at all


IronsTillDeath: Just to build on this season... increase the squad size so we can rotate more and keep everyone fit. That would be the basis for getting into Europe. So I'd like a top 7 finish. A nice cup run or two would be nice aswell.

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I enjoyed that, they seem nice genuine fans. (Bigmomma of Fulham seems to have a soft spot for us, so it seems our travelling fans are real diplomats. Keep it up guys. We know we are the best fans in the business, lets just prove it to everyone else.)

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