Villa Noise: Baker's beard, Zola hails Delph and Vlaar stumped
Paul Brown on B6 life.
20th Mar 2014
Villa Noise: Baker's beard, Zola hails Delph and Vlaar stumped


Gianfranco Zola insisted the fabulous flicked goal from Fabian Delph on Saturday was one he'd be proud of - and that really is saying something.

Zola was an absolute maestro and a forward who transcended club rivalries.

The former Chelsea ace was a pundit on Sky Sports for the match between Villa and his former team.

Zola admitted in the post-match reaction that Delph's finish was truly brilliant and one he'd have been delighted to score himself.

As fellow guest Jamie Redknapp said in his Daily Mail column two days later: "Gianfranco was genuinely impressed by the quality of the goal. Praise doesn't come higher than that."

Couldn't agree more!


Allen

It's fair to say the columnists in the Daily Mail were highly impressed by Villa's win over Chelsea - and Mad Dog Martin Allen was the most glowing in his praise.

The former QPR and West Ham ace, who is renowned for his eccentric yet engaging personality, is tipping Paul Lambert's men for great things after their victory over the Blues.

He wrote: "I expected a Villa victory against Chelsea when I appeared on Hawksby and Jacobs.

"When I said that, Andy Jacobs - a Chelsea season ticket holder wearing his wonderful tweed Cheltenham suit - looked at me like I was crazy.

"But I knew there was a chance of a slip up, with the energy and athleticism of Lambert's young team and the outstanding quality of Christian Benteke, coupled with a Champions League game just a few days away for Chelsea.

"Lambert has never once criticised his players through some testing times this season and, mark my words, the players at Villa will be challenging next year towards the top end of the league, rather than worrying about the bottom."


Delph

Twitter always causes great amusement after matches - with fans showing their humorous side with funny images, phrases and comments.

This one above took my fancy after the terrific 1-0 win over Chelsea.

The image was added to a tweet which read: "The Wolf of Villa Park returns to the dressing room after the Chelsea win."

Nice one!


Baker

Panic averted at Bodymoor Heath this week.

Despite the great result against Chelsea, I had a worried mood at the training ground when I conducted my weekly interview session.

Colossus Nathan Baker has emerged as a real success story in the past few weeks, impressing alongside Ron Vlaar in a very competent back four.

One of the key attributes for Baker has been his Thor-esque beard, as he draws on the power of Oden himself to command in the central defensive zone.

Fans believe the sterling performances of the former academy graduate have come as a result of his brilliantly bushy creation.

So there was obvious concern from me when I discovered he had trimmed it as a result of, as Andreas Weimann told me, it being "too itchy."

Thankfully Weimann, who himself has sported a similar look at various points in the term, told me Baker is planning to start the growing process again as soon as possible.


Vlaar

Skipper Ron Vlaar wore a huge grin at the training ground this week as he was reminded of his matchday programme goal vote.

Vlaar told us in his captain's column for the Chelsea match of his top three goals of the season to date.

He picked out Christian Benteke's wonder goal against Norwich: "I didn't expect that! He was closely marked but the way he controlled, swivelled and volleyed into the top corner was simply amazing."

He also chose Fabian Delph's screamer at Southampton and his thunderbolt against West Brom - while he selected Leandro Bacuna's class finish against the Canaries as another special effort.

Little did he know that Delph would score another remarkable goal the very evening his choices were published.

So when Vlaar approached programme editor Rob Bishop two days after the Chelsea match about the deadline for his column against Stoke, he said: "We'll have to do that vote again, then!"

Vlaar was a busy man this week as he conducted interviews for AVTV [above], Premier League Productions and Sky Sports on the eve of the Potter clash.

Watch the club interview now.


Managed to catch a quick word with Fabian Delph at Bodymoor Heath about that amazing Chelsea goal - and it's fair to say he was still on cloud nine about the winning strike.

When asked whether it was his best goal,  he admitted it was one he'd always remember although he hinted that his strike against Southampton led the way - due to the fact it was his first in the Barclays Premier League.


Jed Steer was another happy man at Bodymoor Heath this week - but this had nothing to do with matters on the pitch.

Steer was told, as he made his way to the canteen, of plans for Mike Bassett 2.

Set to film later this year, Mike Bassett: Interim Manager will see the old fashioned boss of the 4-4-2 formation - portrayed again by Ricky Tomlinson - brought in to play second fiddle to current England coach Jorgen Mannstein.

Its filming will coincide with this summer's World Cup in Brazil, where Bassett - against all odds - took England to the semi-finals in the original film.

The hugely-popular comedy, which featured a cameo from Pele, made over £3m at the UK box office.

The original movie is Steer's favourite film so there was obvious excitement when he heard the news about a new instalment.

Interestingly, his potential future father-in-law Kevin Piper played the newsreader in the opening scenes of the first movie.


Programme Editor Rob Bishop showed his psychic skills on the eve of the Chelsea game.

Bishop happened to walk past chief executive Paul Faulkner and manager Paul Lambert as he made his way to the press room on the eve of the game.

CEO Paul asked: "What's your prediction today Rob?"

Now it's fair to say that Rob always plumbs for a draw in every match forecast.

But, with the boss staring him down, Rob replied: "I'll go for a tight 1-0 win."

After getting his calculation spot on, we reckon the two Pauls will seek Rob out on the eve of every match now!


Bishop

On the subject of Rob Bishop, the illustrious scribe is in hot water with the missus - and fans can reap the benefits this week.

The price of the Villa News & Record for the Stoke match is £4 - £1 up on normal as we look to raise big funds for Acorns Children's Hospice.

But everyone buying can enter a competition to win 1,000 old programmes - donated by the former Birmingham Mail reporter.

Bishop has been ordered by his wife to clear the loft, so he is offering the super stash of home and away programmes from the past couple of decades to the winner.

Rob will feature on BBC Radio WM on Saturday to promote the fundraising offer.

The printed version is available around the ground on the day of the game or you can buy it now on eBay.


Froggy

Villa's performance on the pitch against the Blues gained big praise - as did Steve Froggatt's display off it.

Froggatt has been hailed by the claret and blue faithful for his insightful anaylsis on AVTV.

Froggatt has been a guest on the pre-match show for the games against Norwich and Chelsea - and fans on sites such as Heroes & Villains have liked what they've seen.

The former winger discusses the opposition in the popular preview programme - and he will return for the game with Stoke.

With a 100% win ratio so far, there's no way he wouldn't!


Benteke

Villa have a new Belgian strike force - Christian Benteke and Tim Kwanten.

Young Tim was a guest at the Norwich game as family friend Jon Ismats sponsored Benteke's shirt for the 4-1 win.

Tim was overjoyed to meet the two-goal hero in the tunnel after the match as the new buddies chatted about claret and blue life.

Tim was even more thrilled to be handed a special framed drawing of himself and Benteke as a deadly forward pairing.


Broadhurst

Villa fanatic and former Commonwealth King, Don Broadhurst, was crowned Midlands Area Super Flyweight Champion at the home of his beloved Villa Park on Friday, writes Dan Mole.

The lifelong Villan (now 16-3) recorded a hard fought points victory over teak-tough opponent, Brett Fidoe, in the Holte Suite.

It was Broadhurst's first title win since he lifted the Commonwealth strap by defeating Isaac Quaye - just a stone's throw from Villa Park at the nearby Leisure Centre - in 2008.

Much has changed since then but Broadhurst, after an 18-month absence, appears to have his mojo back under trainer Jon Pegg and promoter Tommy Owens.

Fidoe was Broadhurst's opponent for his initial comeback fight, also at Villa Park, in November.

'The Don' edged that 4x3's 40-37 but, over 10 stanzas this time around, was expected to make lighter work of his Scott Lawton-trained opponent.

However Fidoe's record (now 2-10-1) is deceiving.

The 23 year-old came to fight and, particularly in the earlier rounds, gave Broadhurst a few problems.

By the seventh round though, Broadhurst was in control and although Fidoe kept throwing until the last bell, The Don's accuracy and control saw referee, John Keane, score the contest 98-94 deservedly in his favour.

The popular Birmingham boxer will be hoping that under the guidance of TOP Promotions, he can fight for bigger titles in the near future.

Elsewhere, fellow Villa fan, Chris Truman, marked his own return from boxing abstinence with a points win over novice, Lewie O'Mara.

The Trumanator was boxing for the first time since September 2013.

There will be more action-packed boxing events taking place at Villa Park in 2014.


Jon Davies was the latest winner in our Fantasy Football competition.

Every four weeks, we offer a cracking claret and blue prize to the supporter at the top of the Aston Villa Official division.

Davies was the main man in February and was given a signed football.

He was thrilled with the win and said: "This puts the icing on the cake after the brilliant victory over Norwich!"


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