Villa Noise: Arty Richardson, Shaw v Withe and Vlaar mascot thrill
15th Jul 2014
Richardson is a creative soul away from football and his drawing of the Manchester skyline was a parting gift to Sir Alex Ferguson when he left Old Trafford for Roy Keane's Sunderland.
Then Man Utd manager Ferguson was so impressed when he saw the drawing that he hung it in his office until the day he left in 2013.
"I loved art at school," said Richardson.
"When I was very young I wanted to work for Disney but I went full time into football and didn't pay that much attention to it.
"If I hadn't made it I would have gone to university and studied art and design.
"I did a piece in a school and Sir Alex Ferguson liked it and put it up in his office.
"It was a landscape drawing of all the buildings around Manchester in blue wax crayon.
"He must have liked it! I thought it was a good one!
"I must admit, I haven't done it for a while now. They key is if you're going to do art then you need to be doing it all the time - keeping your standards up.
"I wouldn't say I'm that accomplished anymore."
Paul Lambert won't mind that - he will want the 29-year-old to be picture perfect on the field.
By the way, it was Kieran Richardson who signed for Villa!
Former Man Utd, Sunderland and Fulham utility ace put pen to paper on a two-year deal, becoming Paul Lambert's third summer signing.
Unfortunately, fans mistook him for his namesake - Hollyoaks actor Kieron Richardson.
The star, best known for playing Ste Hay in the Channel 4 soap opera, was forced to take to social media to confirm he wasn't joining the claret and blues.
Maybe the British Soap Award winner will start supporting us now, though!
Ron Vlaar made it into Rio Ferdinand's FIFA World Cup team of the tournament - with not a second to spare!
Ferdinand, along with fellow pundits Chris Waddle, Tim Vickery and Alan Shearer, filmed a video montage - which was screened just before the showpiece final at the Maracana - where they selected the best XI players of the fantastic festival of football.
In it, they agreed on Costa Rica's Giancarlo González and Germany's Mats Hummels as their centre-half partnership.
But when that particular montage was over and the cameras returned live to the studio with Gary Lineker, Ferdinand quickly interrupted and said: "I've changed my mind. I'm putting Ron Vlaar in there. He's been brilliant."
Shearer looked slightly concerned at the late change - but Alan Hansen - a man of defensive integrity - didn't disagree in the slightest.
Ron Vlaar was a true gentleman - even in his lowest moment of the epic tournament.
Villa skipper Vlaar was accompanied on to the pitch for the Netherlands v Argentina semi-final by mascot Yan Qimai from China.
Qimai told us he was too nervous to talk to Concrete Ron on the eve of the match because of his stature.
But the youngster plucked up the courage to congratulate him on a fine display - which saw him keep out Lionel Messi for 120 minutes - after the game.
Qimai said: "Ron is very big man. I tried to talk to him in the tunnel before we walked on to the pitch but I was so nervous at that moment.
"However, I didn't want my special moment to pass me by with any regrets, so after the game in the tunnel I had the courage to say "good job" to him - that is the only few English words I know.
"Ron gave me the thumbs-up. I can't tell you how excited I was. He is my favourite player forever now."
His father also told us: "My son was so excited to be a World Cup matchday mascot with Ron Vlaar.
"He felt so proud of Ron's excellent performance in that game.
"He just kept talking about him - days after the match was over.
"This is an incredible experience for him. He is a big Ron Vlaar fan now.
"I am going to buy him a Villa shirt, with the captain's name and number on it, for him as a birthday gift."
Gary Shaw popped in to deliver the new away shirt as part of #ThePerfectSunday campaign - only to find Rachael Foxall was a huge Peter Withe fan.
Six European Cup legends were on the road to hand out the second shirt for the 2014-15 term, which is a throwback to the top worn by those aces in 1982.
Shaw arrived in Shirley, only to discover strike partner Withe was the resident's favourite.
The golden boy had it covered, however, as he slipped a Withe mask out of the glovebox to surprise her.
In the end, Rachael admitted she was joking - and over the moon to meet the strike ace.
Once again, a big thank-you to DPD and Lions & Legends for their help.
Villa Ladies ace Hayley Crackle spoke on the eve of the Oxford Women game of a desire to get her own back on her team-mates who had singled her out for good natured teasing.
Villa's young and promising squad take it in turns to name and shame players in a range of categories for the official match programme.
Crackle's name has come up in a host of areas.
The reliable right-back is ready to take no prisoners when it's her turn - and her resolve was only heightened further when she was picked out yet again in the weekend matchday programme.
England star Sherry McCue said: "Hayley Crackle likes to break out a dance when any song comes on in the changing room.
"But she's definitely not the best dancer! Haha!"
Expect the revenge to be swift and substantial!
On the subject of Villa Ladies, it was great to see a special guest at our game against Oxford Women this Sunday.
The official Villa Twitter suggested on the eve of the game that the match would be a good opportunity to check out the on-field talent of the girls with no men's football on show at present.
And we enjoyed a good turnout - including midfielder Ashley Westwood.
Great to see the central ace there and his attendance obviously worked a treat as the team worked hard for a 1-0 win over the impressive Women's Super League 2 side.
paul brown, blogs,
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