Pedal for Petrov: Barry, Bouma, NRC and Young turn up for Stan
Carlos Cuellar described him as one of the "best people in the world." Nigel Reo-Coker said he was a "bundle of joy." Ashley Young still refers to him as "The Skip." Gareth Barry says he's "perfect."
Stan Petrov may not have been able to attend the dinner hosted in his honour but the love for the club captain was there for all to see.
Andy Smith and Alex Butler completed their epic Pedal for Petrov bike ride from Celtic Park and arrived at Villa Park on Sunday at 5pm.
No sooner had they touched down in B6 than they were changing into their tuxedos to help celebrate Petrov's remission news and further raise money for leukaemia and lymphoma research in the company of a star-studded cast list.
Heroes past and present - Gareth Barry, Ashley Young, Nigel Reo-Coker, Curtis Davies and Wilfred Bouma to name but some - were there to honour their good mate and hail the effort of Andy and Alex.
Barry said: "I'm delighted to be here, having worked with Andy and Alex during my time at Villa. To see how much they have done and how much they have raised, I have just thoroughly enjoyed it.
"You only have to see the pictures before and after of Andy and Alex - they've probably both lost two stone! That shows the hard work they have put in.
"Stan will be emotional when he sees the pictures from the event. He's just one of the most perfect men in football."
Young continued: "Everyone is here for the same reason - for Stan. I still call him 'The Skip.'
"He's a massive personality. Wherever I was in the world - even if I'd been away with England - I'd have made sure I managed to make it to this event.
"I laughed down the phone when Alex and Andy first told me about the challenge.
"I thought 'it's not going to happen.' But what a fantastic achievement! I am proud of them both."
Davies added: "It seems easy to get on a bike and ride. But to do the distance they have done in the time they have done with the lack of training they've had is amazing. The fact they wanted to do it for Stan makes it extra special. The lads are brilliant.
"The lads were laughing and joking on stage at the dinner but I think that was to stop them welling up. They genuinely care for Stan. They love the guy."
Cuellar continued: "It's amazing. For the reason they have done it - for one of the best people in the world - it's brilliant.
"I am very proud of them. Everyone should be proud. It's very special.
"He should be proud, happy and he should never feel alone. Everyone is here for him to support. Everyone is doing the journey with him."
Bouma added: "It's unbelievable. Obviously I knew they were planning things and I was thinking: 'No way, they can pull this off.' Respect to them.
"When we all knew what happened to Stan it was a shock and the only thing we can do it support him. It's good we all came together. He couldn't be at the event but I hope to see him in person. He means a lot to me."
Reo-Coker ended: "They have done fantastic.They told me about the initial idea and I kept contact with them because they're terrific lads and I know all the hard work they have put it. It's a fantastic achievement.
"It shows the camaraderie at Villa, it's a tight family unit. The foundations of the club are of a family unit.
"Stan is a terrific character. He's unique - a bundle of joy, so warm, an all-round nice guy. I had to be here for him."
Andy and Alex were exhausted at the conclusion of the challenge but thrilled to finally end their epic trek.
Andy said: "I felt very emotional at the end. I felt tired. The turnout was amazing.
"We saw tweets and texts on the journey and it was incredible. It shows the love of Stan."
Alan added: "Celtic were fantastic. Newcastle were brilliant. Things like that meant everything.
"We spoke to Stan a couple of times along the route. He was surprised how quick we were going.
"He's in good spirits. We know he's going in the right direction and that's key."
To donate to Andy and Alex's Pedal for Petrov campaign, text Stan91, followed by the amount you wish to donate, to 70070.
You can also make a donation by visiting the Just Giving page - click here.
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