The first two Fifty50 matchday draws of the season will directly benefit ex-Aston Villa players.
Proceeds from the home games against Wigan and Brentford will be used to set-up a benevolent fund for the Aston Villa Former Players Club, helping anyone who’s worn the famous claret and blue to cope with the physical, mental and financial sides of life after football.
The fund would be used in a variety of ways to support ex-players, including improving employment prospects by sending them on training courses, aiding their rehabilitation from injuries or paying for home adaptions arising from injuries.
Former Players Club Liaison and Fundraising Officer and a member of Villa’s 1982 European Cup winning side, Ken McNaught, believes buying a ticket for the draw would be a great opportunity for supporters to give back to the players.
He said: “Hopefully the ex-players have given the fans numerous occasions of joy, and it’s an opportunity for the fans to help out with what some of the ex-players are going through.
“I’m well aware that the fans have their problems too but every penny counts, and we’d thank every fan individually if we could.
“It’s a complete and utter shock when you come to the end of your career and that’s why I think it’s important that every football club has a benevolent fund put aside.”
Half of the proceeds from every draw goes to one lucky winner while the Aston Villa Foundation use the remaining 50% to enhance the club’s work in the local community.
However, the Foundation are using the first two draws of the season to support the Former Players Club, and Aston Villa legend Brian Little believes it’s a great idea.
He said: “A lot of lads go through a lot of pain and hardship away from football, and I think from our club’s point of view it’s massively important that we know where they are, what’s happening to them and if we can help them.
“I don’t know of many footballers who’ve played here and don’t think of this as being their favourite football club – that just tells you what it means to players.
“If we can support people a lot more through the benevolent fund then that will be fantastic.”
Fifty50 ticket sellers will be located around Villa Park at every game during the season, and tickets cost just £2 each.