Lee Billiard: I like it, I think we did some good business, a lot of young quality players coming in and a lot of “fringe” players on high wages going out. Paul Lambert set out his plan last season: he wanted young hungry players to form the bulk of this team. It was good to see he has not waived from that policy. Like everyone other fan it is always great to see big names coming into the club, but that also means big money. We are not in that position right now, we tried in the past, had little success out of it on the field and put the off field finances in some trouble. Lambert has not brought in nobodies. They might sound like nobodies, but all have national team experience, they are just younger players. I am sure nobody heard of Christian Benteke when he first came to the scene, and now as a 22 year old he is one of the hottest commodities in the premier league. I like the looks of Jores Okore (21 year old), Antonio Luna (24 year old) and two players we signed last year in Matthew Lowton (24 year old) and Ashley Westwood (23 year old) are, in my opinion, future England stars.
SB: What makes Paul Lambert a successful manager?
LB: You can tell by his passion that he is a manager players want to play for. He knows what he wants, how to achieve it and gets the players to buy into it. I think he is one of the most hands on managers in the Premier League, which is rare nowadays. I remember under the Martin O’Neil era, he was barely on the training field. He left everything to his coaching staff, then showed up when it was necessary ahead of games. I know this did not go down well with some of the players, whilst the flip side, they really enjoy having Lambert run sessions and put across his idea’s personally. I also think he has proven over the past few years at Norwich and at Villa that he can develop individuals and develop a team. Even though these players are in a job many of us dream of, paid stupid amounts of money, they still want to be in an environment where they are developing. I think we have one of the best managers in the league for developing players and implementing systems in Paul Lambert. .
LB: In order one to four – Chelsea, Man City, Man Utd, and Arsenal with Liverpool knocking on the door for fourth
SB: Which three teams will be relegated?
LB: Hull, Crystal Palace and Sunderland
SB: Your top 3 favorite Villa players of all-time?
LB: Tough question – when I was half the size I am now (width ways) I was a goalkeeper by trade. I grew up watching Nigel Spink and Mark Bosnich so those guys have a special place in my Aston Villa heart. On top of those I think Paul McGrath was one of the best footballing minds to have played the game, and Gordon Cowans or David Platt fill a top player spot for me. Both exciting players on the ball and Villa purists. Platt is now coaching at Man City, but Gordon Cowans remains at Villa coaching the reserve and youth teams.
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