By Paul Brown
Even though he's unlikely to play for Villa in the near future, Stiliyan Petrov still commands enormous respect and affection among the claret and blue army.
That's sharply been brought into focus with the ace applause session by fans in the 19th minute of every game since his diagnosis with leukaemia.
But it's been topped off this week with news that 'Petrov 19' tops the sales figures when it comes to most name and numbers sold on home and away shirts so far this summer.
Merchandising head John Greenfield was thrilled when he found out the news after speaking to his number-crunchers in the shopping department.
He said: "It's just a lovely story isn't it. I am sure Villa fans will have a smile on their face when they hear about these figures.
"Stiliyan has had to go through a lot and I'm sure the support of the fans has been a big help as he's battled through his diagnosis with dignity and courage.
"I'll make sure he's aware of the figures here and hopefully that will give him another boost and show him exactly what the fans think of him.
"To have a player who hasn't played and isn't likely to figure in the near future top these charts is unheard of."
Karim El Ahmadi, Villa's new signing from Feyenoord, came in second in the poll.
Greenfield continued: "Karim has captured the imagination of our supporters with his elegant style in midfield. Paul Lambert said he expected Karim to do well in the Barclays Premier League after signing him and he certainly looks the real deal."
Ron Vlaar, who requested to meet supporters on the day of his unveiling, finished third, with Darren Bent and Gabby Agbonlahor in fourth and fifth respectively.
Greenfield added: "Ron's nickname is 'Concrete' and it's fair to say he's a firm fan favourite now.
"Darren is our iconic No.9 striker and a real, top-quality forward while Gabby, despite being injured, has provided excellent sales figures in the Villa Stores."
As Villa head into their opening game of the season at Upton Park ready to wear the lime green away kit, Greenfield spoke of the "absolutely fantastic" sales figures for the second strip.
Greenfield revealed numbers for the away kit are now "the best ever".
He added: "We always thought it would go well with our supporters but we certainly didn't expect this mammoth level of interest.
"The home kit, too, is providing good feedback with supporters. It's exceeding all expectations also. There's still great demand from all over the world."
Make sure you glow this season with the new away kit. It can be purchased from Villa Stores at Villa Village and New Street or alternatively online - click here.