Villa Noise: Elvis Given, Delph dancing and Superhero Benteke
Paul Brown looks at the quirky claret and blue stories from the week.
21st Dec 2012

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One of the key factors in Villa's upturn in fortunes is undoubtedly team spirit.

There's a great camaraderie in camp and Paul Lambert has mentioned it numerous times in interviews and press conferences over the past few weeks.

Everyone contributes to the success of the team - not just those playing. Even those on the bench!

And you can see that in the video player above.

Leading comfortably at Anfield, Villa are set to make a change, Fabian Delph gearing up to replace Brett Holman.

The midfield ace is told of his imminent arrival into the action by the management staff - and Shay Given decides to give him an extra nudge - via paper express-delivery!

Delph looks to see who the culprit is - before grinning from ear to ear at the prank!

Evidence if it was ever needed of the togetherness in the team.


Shay Given was the guest of Chris Kamara and Ben Shephard the following day as he joined the dynamic duo for Goals on Sunday on Sky Sports.

Given was his usual ebullient self as he discussed Villa in a positive and enthusiastic way, while still remaining humble about the tough run of games coming up.

However, he was rather less effervescent when Kamara and Shepherd played a trick on him at the end of the show.

Chatting about the festive pantomime season, Kamara said: "What's that thing they always say on the stage?" Shepherd replied: "He's behind you!"

Given was heard immediately uttering: "Oh no, you're joking."

The hosts then played Given's most embarrassing moment, when he dropped the ball out of his hands with the intention of kicking it long to Alan Shearer during one Newcastle game against Coventry.

Unfortunately, Dion Dublin - who later went on to play for Villa - was lurking behind the goal and came charging forward before turning the ball into his net.

Given, as you'd expect, took the joke in the right manner!

There was a break from the norm in the usual BBC Sport post-match interview with Paul Lambert after the Liverpool win.

One of the key jobs of any television reporter is to check the sound levels of the microphone before the record button is pressed by the cameraman.

And that's usually done by the reporter himself by way of a few words here and there.

But following the ace Anfield victory, Steve Bowers decided to mix it up a bit and said to the boss: "Just tell me who you are and where you are."

A rather bemused gaffer said: "Paul Lambert. Anfield" before looking up with a "did you really just ask me that" expression!

Christian Benteke received huge plaudits following his performance in the remarkable win at Liverpool - and rightly so!

Indeed, the Sunday Express called him 'Drogba Mark II', the Sunday People labelled him a "classic No.9" while the Independent on Sunday described him as a "dominant, irresistible figure".

But the Sun on Sunday went a stage further, creating an impressive image of Benteke dressed as a superhero.

Well, the way he leaps for headers makes it clear he can fly, the way he bosses defenders shows he has super-human strength and his backheel must surely act as an example of his microscopic vision.

I'd say the tabloid was spot on!


Christian Benteke not only received praise from the pundits, he's been a revelation with fans too, earning quite a cult hero status for himself already.

One of the chants assigned to Benteke during games is: "He scores when he wants."

So it was somewhat appropriate that Twitter user 'The Original Cat' posed for this picture with our powerful forward when he made a visit to the club store at Villa Park for a meet-and-greet this week.

Benteke saw the funny side, as you can tell from the image!


Talking of visits, Christmas wouldn't be the same without a club call at Acorns Children's Hospice, with the players spreading joy at a very important time of the year.

People always presume that it's a sad place but my experience is that it's exactly the opposite, a venue where the human spirit is cherished and the power of laughter is exalted.

The players were certainly in festive mood as they paid a visit to the Selly Oak branch, putting smiles on the kids faces as they handed out presents before reading a festive story.

As you'll be able to see in the video above, Fabian Delph and Gabby Agbonlahor were the stars of the show throughout the afternoon.

Delph joined in with the moves when a 'Dancing Santa' toy figurine got going in the main room while Agbonlahor was out to be comedic throughout the day.

Agbonlahor made faces in front of Matt Lowton as he took part in an AVTV interview and also joked with host Jack Woodward that he's not brought any presents yet because he's like 'Scrooge'.

The charity ambassador is always warmly welcomed at Acorns because of his unique personality and that came across loud and clear on a really special afternoon before the holiday season.

This Christmas 'Now is the Time' to support your local children's hospice and make a difference to life limited and life threatened children and their families.

Text AVFC12 £3 to 70070* or donate online.

*Acorns can now receive 100% of your donation via JustTextGiving. Denominations available are £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10.

Make sure you check out AVTV's special report on the visit to Acorns Childrens Hospice.


Before the visit to Acorns, the first-team players had their festive lunch at Bodymoor Heath before facing the AVTV cameras to wish fans 'Happy Christmas', a video which will appear on on Christmas Eve.

The senior stars were entertained in the canteen during the meal by the youth players, who were tasked with singing songs to wow them.

One youth player, who will remain nameless, elected to sing the 'Christian Benteke' chant, which went down a storm with everyone in attendance - including the senior players - who joined in to create a huge singalong!

So it's not just the fans who hero-worship the powerful forward!

There weren't too many takes to complete the festive video afterwards, although Shay Given did elect to begin his with an impression of Elvis Presley!

Come on Shay - It's now or never!

It's one thing for a fan to receive two wins for Christmas - the victories at Carrow Road and Anfield proving to be ideal festive treats - it's quite another to be visited by one of your heroes!

As part of a simple club initiative, Ian Taylor went around the houses of several supporters in the surrounding area to wish them 'Merry Christmas' and hand them a festive card.

It's fair to say 'shock' is the one word that describes the reaction of those chosen.

Taylor tweeted: "Just spent the night surprising #AVFC fans in their homes with @AVFCOfficial. Some of the looks on their faces seeing me on doorstep! #Funny.

"Another great night surprising fans on their doorsteps! #SoFunny. Especially the woman in her pyjamas! Lol!! #AVFC."

Check a few of the photos below.




#VillaFilmFriday on Twitter this afternoon certainly didn't disappoint.

The theme was Christmas movies and the fans did us proud with an array of classic Villa-themed answers.

Check them out below.


Paul Lambert was in good heart this morning for the pre-match press conference ahead of the Chelsea game.

He was in particularly ebullient mood with Pat Murphy, of Radio Five Live, who came into the radio section of the media briefing with a new, large, fluffy microphone.

Lambert simply said: "What the hell is that Pat? It looks like something you'd have used on Blankety Blank!

"And, another thing, be careful with it. You could have my eye out with it!"

Paul Lambert was keen to downplay the Capital One Cup semi-finals, instead concentrating on the importance of a tough run of league games, starting with Chelsea on Sunday.

But when pushed on it, he was keen to stress the difficulty of the tie, saying cup football is always unpredictable.

He'll be heartened to know, however, that Hercules the Lion has already landed some silverware in the competition, emerging victorious in the mascots match-up which took place this week in the run-up to the draw.

Check out the exploits of Hercules below. Well done champ!

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