It was one of the most unsavoury times of my career. I thought it was a ball to begin with, it was a big old thing. How the fan got it into the stadium I don’t know. It didn’t miss be my much. The fans can throw some things, but a cabbage? I went the next day so I didn’t have time to get angry about it. “I got criticised [by Villa fans], but for 18 months only Manchester City scored more goals than us … they’re a difficult lot. Great club, great support with great history, but it was in a mess.
It was arguably my most difficult job, even more difficult than this. We didn’t know if we were going to get paid in May and June. It was practically close to the wall. It never got that far but there was a threat at the end of the month that we couldn’t pay the wages. It was the worst and probably the most difficult six weeks after the play-off game, it was unrivalled from where we were. To be fair to the chief executive at the time he had kept it quiet for three or four months. We were aware we couldn’t bring anyone in but financially we didn’t realise the enormity of it until he got the sack. It was a really difficult time. Then…the new owners came in and everything changed very, very quickly. If they hadn’t come in so quickly I would have feared for a great club the way it was, because we were practically bust.