Villa Noise: Better than Obama and no Benteke fireworks
Paul Brown takes a quirky look at life in B6.
2nd May 2013

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Kevin Phillips made a welcome return to Villa Park for the second time since his departure to West Brom.

Phillips was the pre-match pundit on AVTV ahead of the clash with his former club Sunderland.

Super Kev had only been back to B6 once before - to watch Robbie Williams, Gary Barlow and Co in concert.

He said: "The last time I was here was for the Take That concert. It was in the summer and the place was packed. It wasn't for the missus. I fancied going to be honest."

Phillips was on good form during the interview with our online television channel, giving insightful thoughts on Christian Benteke, Gabby Agbonlahor, Paul Lambert and Paolo Di Canio.

The setting provided much amusement too.

Phillips hosted the programme alongside Jack Woodward from a variety of locations.

One of them was in the area between the subs benches.

Woodward said: "It's somewhat appropriate we're here Kevin."

Phillips laughed and replied: "Oh cheers Jack. I am used to sitting on these!"

Woodward added: "I meant your impartiality."

Phillips continued: "Yes. Yes. Of course you did!"

Ironically, Super Kev said that the Black Cats clash gave one of Christian Benteke, Andreas Weimann or Gabby Agbonlahor the chance to be a hero.

Little did he know that all three would take on that mantle after the 6-1 rout.


Stuart

Stuart James, the highly-respected reporter for The Guardian, was awestruck after Villa's 6-1 win over Sunderland - and not just with the claret and blue performance.

James thoroughly enjoyed the enthusiastic ebullience of Jack Woodward's commentary during the B6 rout.

James was sitting next to Woodward for the full ninety minutes of rip-roaring action and wasn't disappointed with his ringside seat as the wordsmith delivered his knockout blows.

Marching back to the press room, James exclaimed: "That commentary was quite simply extraordinary."

Woodward was at his enigmatic best and there was no better reason, with Villa showing plenty of six appeal in the remarkable victory in B6.


Jack Woodward is always positive about Villa even in difficult circumstances - as Paul Lambert discovered in his pre-match press conference ahead of Sunderland.

Woodward fired questions at Lambert about the clash with the Black Cats but also looked back at the defeat to Man Utd.

Discussing the Old Trafford loss, Woodward said: "Well Paul. You drew the second half."

Puzzled Lambert replied: "Yes thanks Jack. But I lost the first."

Cue much merriment among press men in attendance before Woodward added: "You know me Paul. My glass is half full."

Lambert, in reality, was appreciative of Woodward's optimistic and encouraging approach.

He finished the conversation by saying: "I know Jack. I do know what you're getting at."


Jack Woodward didn't curry as much favour with Paul Lambert during the Norwich pre-match press conference.

Woodward described midfield general Yacouba as "Sylla of the Villa" before adding that it had a "nice ring to it."

Boss Lambert's face was a picture as he visibly scowled at the overzealous reference.


Benteke

Christian Benteke was the man of the moment after the 6-1 win against Sunderland.

Gary Neville said he was superb, Ron Atkinson described him as the buy of the season while Fabian Delph called him "a monster with wings."

Paul Lambert, though, couldn't make up his mind about the powerful forward.

Speaking live to Ed Chamberlain on Sky Sports News, he said: "Christian is world-class."

Watching this on the giant screen in the press room, the waiting written media brought up the comment with Lambert.

Graham Hill from the Sun said: "Well Paul. You described Christian on TV as world-class."

Lambert smiled before saying: "I wouldn't go that far. He was alright."

Villa boss Lambert was clearly in mischievous mood.


Christian Benteke is head and shoulders above his rivals - and that's official.

Fresh statistics prove the spring-heeled Belgian is the continent's head boy when the ball is in the air.

Lambert was clearly impressed with his prowess in that area after his second goal against Sunderland.

He said: "I just saw the replay of his goal from the corner. He actually jumped the height of the crossbar."

He later added: "I hope he keeps his feet on the ground."

We assume the gaffer means mentally rather than physically.

Boss Lambert also stressed that Benteke is a class act with the ball on the floor too, hailing his technique on the deck.

If you need any evidence, check out the clip of Benteke juggling the ball in the video player above.


Paul Lambert has joked that he's going to do some spying on the lifestyle of Christian Benteke.

Pete Colley of Sky Sports suggested to Lambert that Benteke was a fantastic signing for two reasons - his goals and his tendency to stay out of the press because of his clean living.

Colley used the example of Mario Balotelli who, in Pete's words, "enjoyed column inches because of letting off fireworks and dating rock chicks."

Lambert laughed when this was put to him and said: "I have not heard about anything like that with Christian. I will have to find out where he's going."


Ismay

It was really sad to see the video footage of claret and blue staff we have lost over the past year on the big screen at half-time during the Sunderland game.

There were the likes of former head of community Dave Ismay, former ticket office favourite Keith Abrahams, Gordon Cowans's dad Walter Cowans and senior steward John Cassidy.

But it was great to see the lads go out and put on a show and see off Sunderland 6-1.

It felt like they were honouring our fallen heroes, which was fantastic.


Child

Just in case we were in any doubt about how highly Lee Child regards Gordon Cowans, we are now crystal clear.

Child, whose Jack Reacher novels which have sold 70 million copies, was absolutely thrilled to get together with the man popularly known as Sid when he called in at Villa Park a couple of weeks ago.

The New York-based author has since been in touch to tell us just how much it meant to chat with the classy midfielder who helped Villa to League Championship and European Cup glory in the early 1980s.

"Please tell Sid that I have met lots of people, including Bill Clinton, Barrack Obama and Paul McCartney," said Lee.

"But meeting him was better than all of them together."


It was like old times at Villa Park this week as Lee Hendrie and Mark Draper returned to B6.

The midfield duo were a big part of the popular claret and blue sides of the 1990s.

Hendrie and Draper were both star guests for AVTV's pre-match show, which churns out quality content week after week.

Ron Saunders and Ian Taylor have been stars on the show these past few years - and it was great to add Hendrie and Draper to the list.

Production Manager Lucy Finney said: "Fans look back fondly on the 1990s when we were managed by the likes of John Gregory, Brian Little and Ron Atkinson and won the 1994 and 1996 League Cup.

"Lee and Mark were popular players in that era and it was great to welcome them back to Villa Park.

"They were superb on the pitch and not too shabby in front of the camera either."


Security

Great to hear this week that Villa's full-time security staff have been rewarded for their hard work.

They have completed an NVQ Level 2 apprenticeship with Telford College.

They have been studying for over two years to achieve the qualifications and are among the first to obtain this certificate of excellence.

They have gained skills in communication at all levels, IT skills, use of CCTV, customer care and managing unlawful behaviour.

Security Chief Paul Owens said: "I am extremely proud of their achievements and the continued professional development they have undertaken.

"It also highlights how Villa as an employer value all of their staff."


Jordan

Jordan Goodridge has been given the boot by Villa players - but she certainly isn't complaining.

The young Villa fan is heading out to Africa this summer and the players have been donating their boots to boost her fundraising efforts.

She is volunteering for overseas children's charity 'Lively Minds' and will spend six weeks in Tamale, Northern Ghana.

Jordan will work in very poor villages, where children don't have the basic early learning opportunities that we in the UK take for granted.

Without education these children will never have the chance to break out of poverty.

Jordan will be training and empowering uneducated mothers to run Play Centres in their villages - reaching young children at a crucial stage in their development, giving them happier childhoods and improving their education, health and wellbeing.

Jordan said: "I am so blessed to be given this opportunity and to for the players to support this cause is fantastic!"

To help Jordan - and have the chance to win a pair of Gabby Agbonlahor's footwear - you can donate at www.justgiving.co.uk/childrenofghana or text POOR93 £5 to 70070.

Remember to leave your name so that Jordan can contact the winner.

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