Villa Noise: Afghanistan army heroes cheering us on against Man Utd!
The latest goings-on at Villa Park.
9th Nov 2012

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Dozens of Aston Villa fans serving with the Armed Forces in Afghanistan are preparing to mark Remembrance Day this weekend.

But before the nation joins in silence on Sunday to pay tribute to those killed in conflicts and those who continue to serve, Villa fans from 4th Mechanized Brigade (The Black Rats) in Helmand Province will be hoping for claret and blue success!

They will be joining their fellow supporters in praying for a positive result in one of the most important home matches of the season against Manchester United.

They will be following the action on BFBS [British Forces TV] and screaming their lungs out for Paul Lambert's men.

Here's a few of their thoughts:

Major Adrian 'Grin' Grinonneau [Royal Anglian Regiment]: "I am a born and bred 'Villan', who grew up in Leamington Spa and have supported the Villa all of my life. My most memorable moment was when they won the European Cup with a 1-0 victory over Bayern Munich in the final in Rotterdam courtesy of a Peter Withe goal. I'd just like to say: "Get well Stan from Afghanistan."

Lieutenant Drew Gibson [Royal Navy] said: "I have always been a Villa fan and try to get to every game when back in the UK.I was born and raised in Solihull so Villa was the only choice for me. My best memory was going to the final of the 1994 League Cup where we beat Manchester United 3-1. My heroes were Dalian Atkinson and Dean Saunders. Come on boys - Beat Manchester United tomorrow!"

Sergeant James 'Jimmy' Mayo [4th Regiment Royal Artillery] said: "I was born in Coleshill and have been a life-long 'Villan'. My favourite memory was the 3-0 victory in the League Cup final against Leeds. As for Manchester United this weekend? Let's get behind the boys. Holte Army!"

Lieutenant Tom Reynolds [1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment] said: "I'm a Villa fan because my dad is from Birmingham.I've always been a Villa fan.My favourite memory of them was being there to see them beat Manchester United 3-1 in the Coca Cola Cup final. I was only eight! In terms of Remembrance Sunday? It's very important to me. It's a grounding for all of us in the Army, to remember our roots, regardless of which war your comrades have fallen in.People who have made sacrifices aren't forgotten, it's a constant reminder.I'm following the game from here in Afghanistan! We get some coverage on BFBS (British Forces Television) and word of mouth from my Mum and Dad. They're both season ticket holders."




The match day is being dedicated to the troops doing their bit for queen and country at home and abroad.

Of course, Villa's game against Manchester United will be dedicated the military.

A military events team will be on hand in the Indoor Academy before kick-off with a host of fun demonstrations and activities, including a paintball range and an inflatable assault course.

There will also be a British Legion information point and an army recruitment stand for anyone interested in a career in the forces.

Personnel from HMS Daring and TS Vanguard will be doing a poppy collection around Villa Park, before forming a guard of honour in front of the players tunnel before kick-off.

Supporters can take an up-close look at a military display vehicle outside the Trinity Road stand.

The Mercian Regimental band are back for another performance after their successful appearance at our home game against Norwich City last November.

And before-kick-off the stadium will fall silent for a minute's silence in tribute to those who have lost their lives in battle.


Harry Potter star Oliver Phelps is a true gent but he admits he could have been mistaken for a movie diva after one Villa v Man Utd clash.

Waiting at Copenhagen Airport for a flight to the film premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One, Phelps nearly missed the plane after being alerted to the big game playing in one of the many airport lounges.

Villa were 2-0 up in the November 2010 clash as goals from Ashley Young and Marc Albrighton gave Gerard Houllier's youthful side an impressive lead.

We'll let Oliver take up the rest of the story.

He said: "I was there with my brother James and a couple of mates, who are mad Villa fans too.

"We realised the Villa v Manchester United game was on in one of the areas and we were over the moon when we went 2-0 up. It was amazing seeing Ashley hit the penalty and then Marc scoring to double the lead.

"We were just about to board the plane when United scored. The 'final call' came up but we couldn't tear ourselves away from the screen.

"Our agent from Warner Brothers was in a real flap because she was really worried we wouldn't make the flight. I just told her we'd be fine.

"Then United scored the equaliser and we stormed off to the plane. We must have looked like real divas. I had a face like thunder!

"One of the flight attendants said to my mate: "It can't be that bad sir." He just turned to her and said: "Oh shut up!"

"That just shows how much Villa means to the fans who support the team. I'm confident this season though. It's about time we beat United. I'm going for 1-0!"

Phelps is the special guest star of the pre-match show, which is now available to watch on AVTV.


Paul Lambert often claims he wasn't that good a footballer but his skills on the training field prove otherwise.

Lambert gets involved regularly in sessions with the first team and has impressed many with his fleet-footed approach.

He said: "I was never a great player or anything like that. I had a good team and good team-mates. I gave the ball to creative players so they could go and do their magic."

However, Marc Albrighton, for one, has been impressed: "The gaffer joins in a few sessions and you can see the touch is still there. It's only his pace that's not there.

"He reckons he had me in his pocket the other day. That was good fun."

Check out the video footage above of the Holte End during the Villa v Manchester United game from 1992.

It's virtually 20 years ago today that Ron Atkinson's men saw of Alex Ferguson's side 1-0, courtesy of a goal from Dalian Atkinson.

Are you one of the faces in the crowd?

If so, contact us by email!

Sir Alex Ferguson

Sir Alex Ferguson admits he loves B6 - but he's certainly not counting his chickens ahead of this latest encounter!

Nice to see him praising the claret and blue support too!

He told MUTV: "Although we have a great record at Villa Park, we have never taken them for granted.

"We've always had to perform there but it's been a good ground for us as a team. We've always enjoyed it.

"It's one of the old traditional grounds and always has a good atmosphere, their support is always fantastic.

"Hopefully we can keep the momentum going as it's got us into a good position at the moment."


Jack Woodward manages to use his influence as a media mogul to persuade first team stars to commentate on their younger team-mates at the NextGen Series games at Villa Park.

The latest to join Jack on the microphone was Marc Albrighton, who gave his verdict on the 90 minutes against PSV Eindhoven.

Photographer Neville Williams managed to get this cracking photo of the pair on the gantry, as they were joined by cameraman Bobby Bridgeman [right] and media student Sean Fletcher [left], who helped Jack with a range of stats for the game.

Andreas Weimann gave his verdict on pal Albrighton's commentary skills on Twitter - see below.


Good to see the claret and blue family wishing Ron Saunders a Happy 80th Birthday this week.

Saunders will undoubtedly go down as the very best manager in the history of the club.

The fans loved him, his players loved him - although some, as you can see below, did take their fair share of stick from him when he was in charge!



Well done to Villa's marketing and merchandise team who emerged successful in the first-ever Football Business Awards.

Villa's campaign surrounding the new Macron kit deal was rewarded with a top business gong.

Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea, hosted over 450 grandees in a black-tie ceremony to announce the winners.

Villa won the 'Best Retail/Merchandise Initiative' at the sparkling event.

Villa's club chiefs were keen to introduce the Macron brand to supporters after the completion of a five-year deal with Nike.

Maximum effort was put into creating content to show fans the level of love for the claret and blues from our new Italian kit suppliers.

AVTV travelled over to Bologna to film behind-the-scenes footage of the design and production process, as well as capturing interviews with the main men at the company.

Then a 'Beware of the Lions' microsite was created, with exclusive video, text, wallpaper and image content appearing for supporters to peruse and download - check out the website.

This engagement with our fans, seen as "vital" to the club, was influential in incredible sales figures when the home and away kits finally became available in stores.

Make sure you're here to roar on the lads against Manchester United.



paul brown, blogs, avfc,
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