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Ridgewell to overcome Villa abuse

Ridgewell to overcome Villa abuse

Former Blues captain Ian Atkins has backed Liam Ridgewell to deal with whatever abuse Aston Villa fans throw at him during the Birmingham derby tomorrow - but admitted he may have problems if Martin O'Neill recalls Norwegian striker John Carew to his starting line-up.

Atkins, like many fans and pundits, has been impressed with 23-year-old Ridgewell since the defender moved from Villa Park, and away from long-ball tactics, for around £2million in the summer.

However, despite all of the hard work and effort Ridgewell put in for Villa during his six years with the club, there is little doubt the visiting fans will give him the sort of abuse that should be reserved for mass murderers - not professional players who made a career move in order to earn a wage.

Atkins was quoted in the Birmingham Mail as saying: "He's won them over because of his performances. He's just knuckled down and getting the captaincy has made him more aware of his duties. Sometimes that can keep you on top of your game.

"What's always been levelled is that he's got a mistake in him. But so has Rio Ferdinand, and he plays for England, one of the best club sides in the world and cost £30million.

"Olof Mellberg has got a mistake in him, a lot of players have. Yes, there might be lapses of concentration, but he's no different to any centre-half."

Atkins also had a dig at one of Martin O'Neill's more questionable transfer moves (and there isn't a shortage of questionable O'Neill transfers!) by asking whether £3million Zat Knight is any better than Ridgewell (note: he's clearly not!).

However, the suggestion that Ridgewell may struggle against the tall and physical John Carew may or may not be a fair point. While Carew does have the physical presence to put the Birmingham defence under pressure, the fact of the matter is he is not a very good striker.

In fact, Villa are currently suffering from a shortage of goals - and whether bringing the injury-prone Carew, who has yet to show he is any better than Milan Baros, the man he replaced, would be a good move for O'Neill is something the former Northern Ireland international will have to decide.

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Writer:Jasper's Parrot
Date:Saturday November 10 2007
Time: 1:01PM


Deserve all our support and I don't think whatever rubbish he gets hurled at him will worry him. Time for Ridgewell to stand up and show the club that held his career back that he has moved on.
The Blues Brother
10/11/2007 15:11:00
The club that held his career back? More like the club who made his career, nobhead. Was he in our academy? Did our coaches bring him up from the academy? Did O'Leary, Did O'Neill. All answers, yes. Held him back. Dont make me laugh. Your captain is your arch rivals reject who couldn't get on our bench. Laughable really.
10/11/2007 17:51:00
I cannot see Ridgewell getting more abuse thean the other ten out on the pitch. I am sure Brum and Villa fans will give it in equal amounts!!
11/11/2007 10:24:00
haha ridgewells got a mistake in him
12/11/2007 01:56:00
Ridgewells a Villa fan! Ridgewells a Villa fan! Ridgewells a Villa fan! Ridgewells a Villa fan!
12/11/2007 10:12:00
Hahaha! Great article.
12/11/2007 11:55:00
This article is hilarious! All of the attempted slights at the villa and O'Neil are thinly vailed jealousy. I wish i'd read this before the match. Ridgewell is not a premiership standard player. He is left standing by anyone that can run at all, he has zero pace and (As sunday shows) makes more than the occassional crucial mistake. Our reject became your captain! PMSL
The Usual Suspect
12/11/2007 13:02:00
What a stinker that was, but very very funny!!! :)
will it ever happen
13/11/2007 12:10:00
gotta be said that scoring an own goal is probably not the best way to get past the abuse!!
13/11/2007 14:35:00
whatever happens its a local derby and there will be a lot of abuse anyway as is the nature of such a thing................
20/11/2007 15:52:00
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