Feature: Oakland Raiders coach Saunders joins growing fan list
Villa have added highly-respected Oakland Raiders offensive coach Al Saunders to their growing USA fan list.
But there's a good reason he couldn't say no to Villa - his great uncle is legendary manager Ron Saunders.
California Lions chief Rick Leong was tipped off about the family ties by Kidderminster counterpart Paul Harris.
He sent Saunders full membership of his popular supporters club and the 66-year-old was only happy to accept the invitation.
Saunders sent back a thank-you letter accepting the honorary status, insisting he was thrilled to join and eager to talk about claret and blue matters over a "couple of pints."
Clearly the impact of Saunders Snr is still felt strongly despite the distance.
Al's daughter Kori was an All American soccer player in high school at St. Teresa' Academy in Kansas City, Missouriand went on to play first-team soccer at the University of Nebraska graduating in 1999.
Saunders was born in the London suburb of Hendon but moved with his family to North America when he was five-years-old.
He settled first in Canada before moving to California.
From 1983-1985, Saunders was the wide receivers coach for the San Diego Chargers before holding the head coaching position from 1986-1988.
From 1989-1998, Saunders was with the Kansas City Chiefs, where he served as the assistant head coach and wide receivers coach.
Saunders would then join the St. Louis Rams, first as the wide receivers coach and later as assistant head coach.
During this period, the Rams won Super Bowl XXXIV in 2000.
Saunders would rejoin the Kansas City Chiefs in 2001 as the offensive coordinator.
In this second stint with the Chiefs, he built the NFL's top offense, which was ranked No.1 in the NFL from 2002-2005.
The following year, he joined the coaching staff of the Washington Redskins as the associate head coach before joining the St Louis Rams in 2008 as offensive co-ordinator.
In 2009, Saunders was hired as an offensive consultant with the Baltimore Ravens.
Since 2011, Saunders has been with the Oakland Raiders.
Prior to entering the NFL ranks, Saunders spent 12 years as an assistant at the collegiate level.
He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at USC under the legendary John McKay from 1970-71 and served as wide receivers coach at Missouri in 1972.
Following three seasons as play-caller and offensive backfield coach at Utah State, Saunders spent six seasons at California as assistant head coach/offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach, helping the Golden Bears set 32 national, conference and school records and finishing each season ranked in the top 10 in the nation in passing.
His final collegiate stop was as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach under head coach Johnny Majors at Tennessee in 1982 where he tutored an explosive, record-breaking offense that included future Raiders wide receiver Willie Gault.
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