View from the Newsroom - Constin Stucan

ProSport Editor-in-Chief Constin Stucan lifts the lid on opponents Astra Giurgiu
ProSport Editor-in-Chief Constin Stucan lifts the lid on opponents Astra Giurgiu... 

Last week's match finished 2-2, a good result for Astra?

"It was a terrific result and nobody expected it but now I think it has become tougher for Astra because the expectations are much higher than last week. Astra manager Marius Sumudica has complained about the their busy schedule because they have played a game every three days. Sumudica said a few days ago that he is worried that his players are fatigued." 

What do people think of Astra manager Smudica, is he well respected?

"Sumudica is seen as a bit of a joker. In Scotland, when Astra played Inverness, he joked ‘Is this your summer now? Because it is very cold!’ He is also seen as a bit controversial because he has been linked with match fixing in the past. After that he has coached some good teams here, Rapid, among others. He is also controversial because once he ran onto the pitch and kissed the referee! Even though he thought it was a bad decision, he was unhappy but he came onto the pitch to kiss him!" 

Who is Astra’s stand out player?

"Constantin Budescu is the star. He’s definitely the star and a lot of people are expecting him to be transferred soon to a better side. This is my feeling and it has been building for a while." 

What kind of game are you expecting tomorrow night, will Astra sit back or go for it?

"I think Sumudica will set up to be patient. He knows that 1-1 is good enough to go through, so he won’t go for the jugular.  So I expect Astra to wait and wait and try to frustrate West Ham." 

Do you think the hot conditions will benefit Astra, are they a factor?

"It is very hot and I think this will help Astra because they are more used to it. I am interested to see how the conditions effect the game, if they do. West Ham should have the quality to deal with it but we’ll see." 

The game is finely balanced, it should be a good atmosphere in Giurgiu tomorrow?

"Well, yes and no. Astra is a bit of a hybrid club. They don’t have many fans, they’ve recently relocated to Giurgiu. Three years ago they were known as Astra Ploie?ti. Almost all their fans are employees of the owner Ioan Niculae, who is now in jail. He is the richest man in Romania and has a chequered history." 

I hear you were at the Steaua Bucharest game in 1999, what are your memories of that game?

"I remember it well. I spoke to Harry Redknapp a lot before hand, as a Liverpool fan meeting Jamie Redknapp’s father was great. I also met the West Ham United stadium announcer Martin Godleman out there." 

If I had to push for a prediction for tomorrow night’s game, what would it be?

"I think West Ham will win, maybe 2-1 but it is going to be an interesting and close game."