Villa Noise: World Cup tribute, Cruise interest and Friedel funny
29th May 2014
Brazil hosts the World Cup, which starts on Thursday June 12 as the the samba-loving nation face Croatia in Group A.
Vlaar is in the preliminary Dutch squad of 30 - and will be aiming to make Louis Van Gaal's final 23-man selection - as the finalists from 2010 look set to battle it out in Group B alongside Spain, Chile and Australia.
Goalkeeper Guzan heads off with Jurgen Klinsmann's USA for their Group G encounters with Germany, Ghana and Portugal.
BBC Sport have done a series of promo videos to introduce their comprehensive coverage from South America, which features Gary Lineker, Rio Ferdinand and Robbie Savage.
The entertaining promos were made in Bristol by Aardman Animations, using a combination of computer generated imagery and live action.
The promos follow 'flick figures', as they leave their toy box in the UK and go on an adventure to Brazil, aiming to get to the famous Maracana Stadium.
One of them romantically hails Brazil as the "spiritual home of football" - but another disagrees, picking somewhere closer to home as his soccer heaven.
Check out the video below.
Callum Robinson will be keenly watching the World Cup this summer - because, unbeknown to some, his best mate is Southampton and England ace Luke Shaw.
The pair came through the Three Lions youth ranks together - and have kept in touch ever since.
Robinson is now trying to help the U19s to the 2014 European Championship in Hungary.
Shaw, of course, is with the senior side as they set off on their journey to Brazil.
Robinson couldn't be happier for his pal - and believes his call-up is well-deserved.
"I still chat regularly to Luke - so it will be nice to see him again before he goes off to the World Cup.
"It's so special seeing someone your age going off to the World Cup. It is just incredible.
"I gave him a quick call after I heard about the call-up. The season that he's had, it's not really a shock to me.
"He completely deserves it. He's a great player.
"Off the pitch, I don't think he actually realises how good he is because he's so down to earth.
"But you should never lose that no matter what you achieve - and I know that he won't because he's not that sort of guy."
Shaw attempted to make Robinson laugh as he watched the rookie striker take part in an AVTV interview in the B6 tunnel after Villa v Southampton.
Real Madrid won the Champions League, beating rivals and neighbours Atletico Madrid, to ensure Le Decima - their 10th triumph in the prestigious competition.
This led to a social media picture frenzy as an infographic of all the winners of the contest through the years appeared on Twitter.
Of course, it was brilliant to see our crest featured, celebrating our victory in 1982, a 1-0 win over Bayern Munich in Rotterdam.
It may be 32 years ago - and we may be miles off it now - but there's no harm dreaming that we can appear on this once again in the future.
Does Tom Cruise follow the interests of Villa?
In a very tenuous and roundabout way, we've discovered he does.
Thriller writer Lee Child, whose books have sold 40m copies worldwide, is an avid Villa fan.
In his second novel, Die Trying, Jack Reacher - the hero of all of Child's novels and played by Cruise on a big screen - is caught up in a kidnap and is handcuffed to Holly Johnson in the back of a truck heading on a 1,700 mile journey from Chicago to Yorke.
Not many conversations about the greatest night in Villa's history - the European Cup - can have taken place in such fraught circumstances.
Here's the extract as Reacher discusses the Rotterdam evening:
"You picked up on the soccer in Europe?" he asked.
"Right," Holly said. "Really big deal there. We were stationed one time near Munich, right? I was a kid, 11 maybe. They gave my father tickets to some big game in Rotterdam, Holland. European Cup, the Bayern Munich team against some English team, Aston Villa, you ever heard of them?"
"From Birmingham, England," he said. "I was stationed near a place called Oxford at one point. About an hour away."
"I hated the Germans," Holly said. "So arrogant, so overpowering. They were so sure they were going to cream those Brits. I didn't want to go and watch it happen. But I had to, right? NATO protocol sort of a thing, would have been a big scandal if I'd refused. So we went. And the Brits creamed the Germans. The Germans were furious. I loved it. And the Aston Villa guys were so cute. I was in love with soccer from that night on. Still am."
Reacher nodded. He enjoyed watching soccer, to an extent. But you had to be exposed early and gradually. It looked very free-form but it was a very technical game. Full of hidden attractions. But he could see how a young girl could be seduced by it, long ago in Europe. A frantic night under floodlights in Rotterdam.
Band The Struts - featuring Villa-mad guitarist Addo Slack - are enjoying the best of times at present.
Their singles 'Could Have Been Me', 'Kiss This' and 'I Just Know' have received critical acclaim - and their first album 'Everybody Wants' is out on July 28 - you can pre-order now on iTunes for just £8.99.
They were unbelievably eager to play the Villa kit launch festival but were unable to commit, understandably, after being invited to play at the prestigious Isle of Wight Festival.
And now, they have received the incredible news that they will support the Rolling Stones.
They will play the "biggest gig of their lives" to 80,000 people at the Paris Stade de France on June 13.
Addo, who is a regular in the Trinity Road Stand, told us: "Supporting the Stones - one of the very best bands of all-time - is a dream come true. It's honesty amazing!
"Now all that's left is Villa winning the FA Cup. Let's hope I get some satisfaction next season."
Villa are the world's 23rd biggest football brand in the world.
The claret and blues have moved up eight places this year on 'The Brand Finance Football 50', an annual study conducted by the leading brand valuation and strategy consultancy, 'Brand Finance'.
Various criteria is used to determine which clubs around the world command the most valuable and powerful brands.
Brand value is the cost that a third party would have to pay to license the use of a brand.
The analysis of brand strength benchmarks risk, strength, longevity and future potential of the brand, relative to competitors.
The financial factors taken into account are revenue mix and growth, plus football specific measurements such as squad value, club heritage, kickdex data, UEFA coefficient ranking and the average attendance, amongst others.
No.1 is Bayern Munich, No.2 is Real Madrid, No.3 are Man Utd, No.4 are Barcelona and No.5 are Man City.
Villa are No.8 in teams of teams in England - with Man Utd, Man City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and Everton the only sides above us.
Brad Friedel has promised to wind Brad Guzan up on Twitter after taking part in BT Sport's 'Mean Tweets' programme.
The premise of the show is that star footballers are made to read out the harshest social media messages about them.
Friedel was berated for his lack of hair, his age and his lack of speed.
He was comedically compared to Guzan on one tweet, which had him in stitches - and he promised to forward on the message to our No.1 keeper.
Watch it below.
Tasha Baptiste showed great timing to help Villa Ladies to their first Women's Super League win of the season against Millwall Lionesses.
Baptiste headed home the first goal and Jade Richards nodded in the second in a comfortable 2-0 win.
Richards must have been shocked to see Baptiste in the right place at the right time, after commenting on her in the matchday programme.
On who were the worst timekeepers in the squad, she said: "There's two - Emily Owen who is absolutely dreadful and Tasha Baptiste, who has awful timekeeping too.
"I don't know what clock they are running on but it's different to everyone else.
"They are always late! I don't know the reasons.
"Emily doesn't drive so Tasha brings her in.
"I think Emily is always making Tasha late! Those two are terrible."
Here's the moment one commentating legend met his hero.
Incidentally, Jack Woodward was pretty happy too.
Woodward and John Motson had a chat about the claret and blues on the eve of the Tottenham game at the end of last season.
Woodward, now an AVTV veteran of 13 years, was only too happy to discuss football matters with Motson, a frontman he has admired for a long time.
Woodward said: "Motty is up there with the likes of Des Lynam, Brian Moore, Barry Davies and David Coleman.
"He has done it all - covered World Cups, European Championships and FA Cups.
"Let's hope - in the not-too-distant future - that we're both commentating at Wembley on a win for Villa in the world's oldest cup competition."
paul brown, blogs,
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