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The Big Interview – Shaun Teale on Aston Villa’s Current Travails

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Shaun Teale was at the epicentre of an Aston Villa defence where himself and Paul McGrath became eponymous with solidity and authority in the early to mid-1990’s.  He was part of the 1994 League Cup winning side. In an exclusive interview for Pundit Arena, he speaks to Brian Strahan about Aston Villa’s current travails and reflective of his playing style; Shaun pulls no punches.

Brian Strahan:  Is it fair to say Aston Villa is still close to your heart?

Shaun Teale:  Yes it is, it’s always the first result I look for.

BS:  Why more so than the other clubs you have played for?

ST:  That’s hard to explain really.  I think it’s the affinity I have with the fans, the whole history of the club and the fact it was my most successful time as a player and the club gave me the chance to show what I could do at the highest level.

BS:  So having that affinity, how does probable relegation make you feel?

ST:  Well I think the probable is now a guaranteed with a team with no fight, passion or togetherness. Relegation makes me feel sad, disappointed and angry the fact the owner and management don’t give a damn; angers me and the fact the players seem to not care about our once great club.

 BS:  Surely there is some element of the club that cares?

 ST:  Yes the fans.  The owner doesn’t or he would have done everything to make sure we stayed in the Premier League.  The players are too busy picking up their large salaries, I didn’t see one player trying to rally the team last week {in the 6-0 defeat to Liverpool}.  The manager is out of his depth and the executives have mismanaged everything.

BS:  Can you be more specific?

ST:  More specific?  I don’t think anybody cares that this great club is losing its premiership status except for the fans

BS:  Does Remi Garde not care or did he simply underestimate the task he had on his hands? 

ST:  As far as Garde goes he is so out of his depth it’s frightening. That’s not really his fault as he probably didn’t realize the task he faced.  If he continues playing the same players week in week out and I’m talking about players like Gabby {Gabriel Agbonlahor}, {Joleon} Lescott  and a few others.  Considering the  position we are in then, he will show he has given up and does not care

BS:  Do you think he doesn’t care?

ST:  He probably cares in his own way.

BS:  It’s hard to fathom though that players don’t care, when someone like Lescott apologises for his and the teams lack of commitment, how does that make you feel?  The club you played for is on the brink of relegation and the captain is admitting the team isn’t fully committed.

ST:  After Lescott’s recent misdemeanour’s at Wycombe and after Sunday {the Liverpool defeat} I don’t think his apologies are worth anything.  The only way to put things right is by giving the club and fans the performances he and the other players owe for the wages they earn.

BS:  Has relegation been accepted. Is that where the apathy comes from or does it run deeper?

ST:  Definitely  I think up until Sunday there was still a belief but now there is none.  I cannot speak for the players but looking from the outside I think they threw the towel in weeks ago.

BS:  Randy Lerner has said he will deal with Chief Executive Tom Fox and new Chairman Steve Hollis at a further distance.  How would you rate his level of interest in Aston Villa?

ST:  Zero.

BS:  You played under Ron Atkinson at Villa.  A capable man manager who could stir players emotions, similar to Tim Sherwood.  Would Villa be better off with Sherwood still at the helm?

ST:  Arguably yes, as a motivator, but his tactics were questionable and his substitutions made no sense.

BS:  Who would you have liked to see come in?

ST:  There are many good coaches but the simple fact is who would of took the job under this regime.  The answer is none of the obvious choices that’s why we end up with Remi Garde.

BS:  So in the almost certain event of relegation, is this a Villa side that can bounce back up?

ST:  No chance at all.  We need players who are hungry not a bunch of Prima Donna’s. 

BS:  That doesn’t bode well for potentially several seasons.

ST:  We could quite easily be in the championship for 10 years 

BS:  Looking back on your own time at Villa then, what attributes did players around you have to avoid this type of malaise?

ST:  We had a pride and a Passion firstly for our performance week in week out.  We had a pride in playing for such a huge historic club and as professionals we demanded a performance out of each other.

BS:  If you could pick three players from your time there who would turn things around for Villa, who would you choose?

ST:  Dean Saunders, Paul McGrath and Mark Bosnich.

BS:  Why?

ST:  Bossy {Bosnich} the best keeper we have ever had, Paul the best player we have ever had and Deano because in my opinion the best goal scorer we have ever had  To pick just three was hard as I probably could have mentioned another 10 at least.

BS:  Ultimately, is there anything Villa fans have to be hopeful of over the next 2-3 years?

ST:  No nothing we will probably see more average players come in.  We will see asset stripping and we will see the train wreck that is Aston Villa roll on.

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team. If you would like to join the team, drop us an email at write@punditarena.com.