Interviewing Joe Hunt

Two weeks ago my first ever Lioness Lowdown column was published on My Old Man Said, the website that I write for. The column tells the story of Aston Villa Ladies season so far, which you can read here: Lioness Lowdown - The Story So Far.

In amongst the Villa Ladies faithful you will hear a lot of commendation and admiration for Joe Hunt, who has pushed on the development of Aston Villa Ladies during his 10 plus years with the club, where he has worked at both the men's and ladies' Centre of Excellence in various capacities.

Speaking to Joe Hunt after the
game against Manchester City.
Following the game against Manchester City Women in the Continental Cup, I got the chance to interview Villa Ladies head coach Joe Hunt and here is what he had to say.

MJ: What did you make of the game?

JH: I thought it was harsh on us. It started with that first penalty and I don't think many people thought it was, it just bounced up and hit her [Elisha N'Dow]. I don't think it was deliberate, her going to the ball. When you concede after three minutes against a top team like that it's always going to be difficult. And then Chloe getting sent off, it was a sending off, she hand balled it on the line so she knew, everyone knew and then it's just hard work.

But, to be fair to the girls for 45 minutes in the second half I was proud of them. They did well. Down to 10 men against a full time [squad], lots of international players and they restricted them to two goals for 45 minutes and then, obviously, the last two in injury time. I just had a go at them because that wasn't good enough. They caused their own problems but they're [Manchester City Women] full time. We have five hours of contact time a week with the girls; they probably have that in a day.

MJ: Does the game highlight the difference between WSL 1/WSL 2 and full time and part time players?

JH: Very much so.

It's like the Aston Villa men's team playing against a Conference team... that is the difference.

Our girls do us proud every single day. They work hard and they've been doing alright in our games.

MJ: Has it been difficult on the back of three games in seven days?

JH: That's the annoying thing with our fixtures because we don't play for five or six weeks and all of a sudden you're thrown into three games in six days or so and it's really really hard. Then to have to play Man City at the end of it is even harder. They played once this week and we've had that.

MJ: Off the back of a tough game against Bristol City, especially having to come back twice, was it difficult coming into this game?

Joe Hunt, sitting on his infamous dining room chair,
alongside Ron Saunders (manager) against Man City
© Molly Jennens
JH: The girls were in good spirits. We played well against Bristol and they know they did. We probably should have won that game, so they were very positive today and they knew it was going to be hard. They're not idiots in there.

I said to them at the end that that's not our season. Our season is the league and we've got nine games left. We're half way through the season. We need to put a good run together now and stay in contention because the league is so open. People drops points all over the place like we have. We just need that consistent run, a bit like Everton, Bristol and Yeovil have had. We just need to do that now.

MJ: You've got Durham next, what are your thoughts?

JH: Durham away is always a difficult game because we have to travel on the day as well, so it's like a three and a half hour trip.

But we always have good games against Durham. They are a good team but we have beaten them once and if we play like we played against Bristol, we'll give any team in this division a game.

We just need to be a bit more ruthless in both halves, we need to take our chances and stop giving away cheap goals.

MJ: Finally, a message to fans who don't come to the games. How could you encourage them to come and support you?

JH: They need to come down and have a look. Obviously the men and women's game are different but the women's game has improved so much over the years. I've been doing it with the youth teams for 10 years or so and the development is massive. You take Katie Wilkinson for example, I had her when she was under-12s, so she was 10 at the time so she's come through the system. She's Villa mad - she wants to play for Villa all the time.

If they come down and watch, they'll be surprised how good the ladies are and I think there’s still that old fashioned thing where people think that the women aren’t as good. You can watch them in training and they’re frightening.

Since the game against Man City at Coles Lane, Villa suffered a disappointing defeat at the hands of Durham. Yet, following the loss, the Ladies have bounced back with consecutive victories over Millwall and Watford.

Molly Jennens

I'm Molly Jennens and I am an aspiring football journalist. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy it.

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