Skip to main content

Hinchas y Jugadores - Villarreal with Allen Dodson (7th May, 2017)

Allen Dodson runs the VillarrealUSA.com blog, a SBNation blog dedicated to all things Villarreal and the official penya of Villarreal in USA. You can follow it on Facebook here and on Twitter here.

A bit about yourself and your background...

I live in central California, have been a football (soccer) fan since the early 1970’s. We didn’t have youth soccer anywhere when I was growing up so I’ve had to satisfy my craving for the game by writing about it rather than playing it.

How long have you been a fan of Villarreal and what made you support them in the first place?

I started following Villarreal when they had that incredible Champions League run in 2005-06. Ironically, what started me following their results was that I had grown up a Liverpool supporter and Villarreal defeated Everton, Liverpool’s rival, in the qualifying round, so I liked them immediately!

But what really got me following the team in earnest was that Marcos Senna, who was just incredible in the 2008 Euros, played for Villarreal - he and Juan Capdevila were pretty much the only players not from Madrid or Barcelona. I liked the story of a team from a small industrial town taking on the big boys and doing pretty well.

Given the transfer windows and the squad that was assembled at the start of the season, is Villarreal where you want it to be?

It was a difficult summer - we lost our sporting director to Monaco, we lost Roberto Soldado to injury, and then Marcelino was fired just before the season started. I thought we’d be more like 9th or 10th, frankly, so I am OK with how we are.

Of the signings made this season, which one worked out the best/had the most impact and why?

Hard to say - Roberto Soriano has had some incredible matches for us, so I would go with him. Álvaro Gonzalez has been an important player as a third center-back, too - Ruiz and Musacchio have both missed a good deal of time and Álvaro has filled in capably.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of Villarreal this season? Any standout players?

Strengths: midfield, and until Asenjo went down, goalkeeping.
Weaknesses: lack of a consistent finisher, lack of a really physical defender who can close down a star forward consistently.
Standout players: Manu Trigueros, Mario Gaspar, Bruno Soriano.

List some things you appreciate and some things you can’t stand about the club management. Rant away :)

I appreciate the management’s commitment to the project - not just the first team, but all of our teams, from the youth on up. And I appreciate their fiscal responsibility. We don’t have any external debt, we own our stadium, and we have a balanced budget every year.

Things I can’t stand: Well, I don’t have any significant ones, and they are more personal than anything else. I think the biggest thing is just that because the club is so provincial, they haven’t really interacted with overseas fans very much, or figured out good ways to do it - especially if you’re outside Europe. When you visit Vila-real, everyone is great - but it’s hard to keep things going when you’re back home.

For instance, it’s impossible to order stuff from overseas on the club website - they need to set up PayPal or something so it’s easy to pay from the US.  That’s probably my biggest complaint! I’d love to see the team play over here some summer - that would be nice. The club is doing a lot more in English now on Twitter/Facebook/official website, so that is good.

What has the mood among the fans been during the campaign? Do you generally agree/disagree with them?

The fans have been all over the place this season. I think a lot of the younger local fans have grown up with Villarreal always doing well in Europe and the league (they conveniently skip over our relegation season) so they tend to expect too much.

Are there any talented youngsters at the club that you expect to have a big future?

We’ve got some very talented players. Rodrigo has played a decent amount in midfield and is the future Bruno Soriano I feel; Adrián Marín has been on loan and has had some injury issues but is going to be an excellent back-line player. I think Alfonso Pedraza is an outstanding talent and I hope he stays with us; Leeds United have an option to sign him if they get promoted though. And Leo Suárez is an excellent player as well - has had some injuries this season playing with our second team but is a quick player, can shoot and pass very well in the final third.

If you could make one realistic signing for Villarreal this summer who would it be?

We need a strong young central defender - Emanuel Mammana (Lyon) would fit the bill. And another striker or two would be good - how about Monaco’s Guido Carillo or Valère Germain? Or a young player like Adama Niane from Troyes? Only 23 and has scored a passel of goals in the French second division.
Of course I would love Mbappé from Monaco or Lacazette from Lyon but those may not fit the ‘realistic’ requirement.

Finally, predicted finish for Villarreal?

I think we will hang on to 5th place.

A huge thanks to Allen for taking the time to do this.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Hinchas y Jugadores - Gimnàstic with Marius Helgå (14th May, 2017)

Marius Helgå is a 40 year old Gimnàstic fan who lives in Oslo. He is originally from Mo i Rana, Norway (1000 km north from Oslo). He has two hobbies: "playing bass trombone and watching football." 

He runs the Twitter account @nasticnoruega for Gimnàstic fans in Norway. As if he wasn't hipster enough, he also supports Stålkameratene who are in the fifth level of Norwegian football. Not to mention Tromsø (Norwegian top level), Manchester United, Juventus and Eintracht Frankfurt.

Follow him on Twitter here.



How long have you been a fan of Gimnàstic and what made you support them in the first place?

I visited Tarragona on a trip to Spain in 2006, and immediately fell in love with the city. As I didn’t have a club I supported in Spain then, it was an easy choice to start supporting the club.

Given the transfer windows and the squad that was assembled at the start of the season, is Gimnàstic where you want it to be?

After a great 2015-16 season, I was really expecting more of Nàs…

Hinchas y Jugadores - An exclusive interview with Román Golobart (1st May, 2017)

When did you make the decision to pursue football and what motivated you to do so?

I never realized I took a decision, since a very young age I knew that would be my life so I took it for granted that I was going to become a footballer.

The motivation was nothing other than enjoying it a lot!

What were your initial thoughts when you were at Espanyol and Wigan became interested in you, and what motivated you to move to England?

Both moments were very satisfactory. I went to a summer camp that Espanyol organizes and after it I got a letter from the club. I was excited, willing to do it - I was nervous, but the kind of nervous that one gets when you know you have a nice challenge ahead.

With Wigan it was a call, but still a very similar reaction. The thing with Wigan was that even though I was bad in English class, I knew I would end up going to England to play football so I didn't bother paying attention as I knew I would learn it there. And so it happened.

Did you find it difficult t…

From Catalonia to Heybridge - the story of an eighth division club (19th October, 2017)

After spending his whole life at UDA Gramenet and a season at Europa, Guillem Ramón moved to Terrassa in the summer of 2014. It was just another Catalan player transferring between two clubs in the Catalan regional leagues - nothing extraordinary.

But it was consequential.

In March 2015, in a match against Sabadell, the full back suffered a complete meniscal rupture, and his season was over. So was his contract - and a big chunk of the 2015-16 season as well. He ended up signing for Cerdanyola, without pay (as he was recuperating), and the doctors said that January would be his return time. However, he debuted in November.

In hindsight, it was a mistake.

After two games, in a training session, on November 25th he got injured again - this time in the quadriceps in the same leg. After two months of recuperation, and still no guarantee of pay, Guillem left for new pastures in February 2016. A trial at Coplestonians FC followed; so did an opportunity at Needham Market FC, in the seventh t…