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The Big Interview Pt.1: Dunne on Villa, Man City, Blues debut and Collins

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The Big Interview Pt.1: Dunne on Villa, Man City, Blues debut and Collins

This week, for The Big Interview, we chatted to former Villa and Man City defender Richard Dunne.

Dunne played for Villa between September 2009 and May 2013, after a nine-year spell with the men from the Etihad Stadium.

We've split the fan Q&A into two parts - check out part one below.

Q] What was it like to win a Birmingham City derby on your debut?

A] It was brilliant - what an ideal way to start at your new club!

There were three of us making our debut that day - Stephen Warnock, James Collins and I - and we'd been told about the game and the rivalry.

We hadn't trained together much because of international duty and things like that but it all came together on the day.

It was a great afternoon and I was delighted with the win. It really did live up to expectations.

The rivalry is massive and the atmosphere inside the ground - whether it's Villa Park or St Andrew's - is always electric. It's an intense feeling and you get that feeling in the week leading up to the derby.

It really is a great game - one of the very best derbies around.

Q] How difficult was it to play as three new players - along with Warnock and Collins - in a new team in that Birmingham City derby?

A] It's more in your head. It's a psychological thing.

You're thinking 'we don't know each other.' But once the game started we gelled instantly.

We did what we'd be doing for our respective clubs in the years before.

We were all defenders really, first and foremost. We were typical defenders - clear balls, tackle, head balls away.

On the day, we kept a clean sheet and it's only afterwards when you're chatting together on the coach that you say 'well that went really well.'

We built on it and became a very good unit together.


Q] Best player you played with at Villa and why?

A] I'd say James Collins because I played alongside him for so many games.

You looked across and Ginge was a player I could trust.

We brought the best out of each other.

I knew if I missed a ball or a tackle, he'd be there to help out - and vice versa.

Q] How gutted to see Villa struggling now?

A] It's such a big club - it's a Premier League club, it's a Premier League stadium, it has Premier League history and it has Premier League fans.

It's been sad to watch the way the season had gone so far.

It must be very hard for the fans and I'm sure it's been very hard for the players.

It's been a very difficult run and I think the lack of confidence is a big thing.

It's a vital, vital commodity in football and it's been in short supply.

They'll still be trying to turn things around.

If they can't and it's a season in the Championship, they have to make sure they finish this season on a bit of a high to create some momentum.

You can't finish the season feeling sorry for yourselves.

Q] How do you see this weekend - Man City v Villa?

A] It's a tough game for Villa.

They can take the positives that Man City haven't been doing great in the league of late - and they got beat heavily on Wednesday by Liverpool.

Villa have everything to play for - they have to start winning now.

It's going to be difficult but, as we all know in football, stranger things have happened.

You have to be optimistic as a Villan.

Q] Who will you be supporting?

A] I will be neutral, of course!


Q] How strange was it to score against Man City so early on in your career at Villa?

A] It was a big match for me, really.

It wasn't long since I'd left City and they were a club on the up.

It was going to be a tough game and when I scored, I was more shocked than anyone in the stadium!

It was a nice feeling.

It's strange to leave a club after so long and then score against them so quickly afterwards.

I didn't score many so it was pleasing.

Q] League Cup final 2010 - how gutted were you?

A] It was really awful - the complete opposite feeling to the semi-final.

It was great to win that semi-final but the final was heartbreaking.

To think there were 90,000 in there at Wembley but as a player you feel completely alone afterwards.

You don't want to see anyone. You don't want to speak to anyone. It's as low as you can get as a footballer.

I remember the Gabby Agbonlahor incident - Nemanja Vidic should definitely have been sent off.

It would have changed the game but that kind of thing - incidents not getting picked up - happen every week in football.

It was unfortunate but that's football for you. I think it could have been a different result if he'd got the red card but we can't go back and change it.


Q] What was your favourite game in claret and blue?

A] There were a couple.

I enjoyed the 2-1 win over Chelsea where Ginge and I scored the goals.

That wasn't long into our career in claret and blue - like my goal against City - and it was nice to get one over Chelsea because they were always a difficult, powerful side to face.

The other was the 6-4 League Cup semi-final against Blackburn Rovers in 2010.

It was a strange match because of the way it ebbed and flowed - I think we were 2-0 down at one point.

The crowd were unbelievable.

Look out for Pt.2 on Friday where Richard Dunne picks his Villa five-a-side team, talks about Brad Friedel and discusses the majesty of Villa Park.

By @AVFCOfficial 3rd March 2016
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