Blog: Laursen was a class act - on and off the field
Paul Brown on the mighty Dane.
21st May 2014
Blog: Laursen was a class act - on and off the field

"Only the strong survive. Nice guys finish last."

How many times have you heard those phrases when you've been looking to make something of yourself?

Usually the words of a best friend, a mentor or a parent.

Basically, the mantra is that to make it good in any walk of life - whether it is sport or business - you have to be ruthless and not give a damn about anyone else.

Not so, I would argue - and evidence is to be found in the claret and blue universe.

I got thinking about the whole subject today as the 10th anniversary of Martin Laursen's signing from Milan for the measly sum of £3m came around.

Laursen won the Champions League in 2003 and Serie A in 2004 with Milan. He was capped 53 times and scored two goals for Denmark from 2000 to 2008. He was named 2008 Danish Football Player of the Year. He also represented his country at the 2000 and 2004 European Championships as well as the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

He skippered Villa to a very successful sixth place finish and also slammed home one of the most iconic goals of the past few seasons, with a brilliant headed finish against Ajax at Villa Park in the UEFA Cup.

He achieved all this yet still always behaved like a gentleman - with total and utter dignity.

Always willing to sign an autograph, never shy to give an interview after a defeat, desperate to wish the fans well on the final day of the season against Newcastle to make sure they were rewarded for their support.

In short, a class act.

From a media perspective, he was - and always will be - a dream to work with.

Getting players to talk to the press after a defeat can sometimes be difficult, given the annoyance at the loss and the feeling of devastation after three points dropped.

But Laursen was always the man to call upon when you were struggling.

That sense of responsibility was only heightened when he was named captain.

His behaviour on the press day to announce his retirement was humbling.

He answered every question, even though he was choking back unbelievable emotion and even thanked all the journalists in the room for their time in covering the event - and writing so glowingly about him over the years.

The man oozed class and he's still the same now.

He always answers his phone or texts back immediately when he's needed for a weekly blog on the official site and when he popped into Bodymoor Heath several months ago the answer was an immediate 'yes' when asked whether AVTV could do an extended interview with him.

Here's a man who has achieved plenty in his career but who managed to do it his way - with kindness, consideration and humanity.

Laursen openly admits he was lucky to play for a great club like Villa but the claret and blue army were genuinely privileged to have an upstanding man in Laursen playing for them.

paul brown, blogs,
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