It’s the one-year anniversary of Aston Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov being diagnosed with acute leukemia (on March 30 2012). Stan’s fight against the illness has obviously not been an easy one. Despite the news in August last year that he was in remission, the battle goes on.
As his friend and Villa manager, Paul Lambert spoke for many this week when he said, ““I can’t imagine what he has been through and I don’t think anyone can and the way he has battled strongly. For him to come through that has been unbelievable.”
The past year has been a tough one for Villa supporters in terms of what has happened on the pitch, but Petrov’s fight has proved an inspiration and acted also as the glue to bring them together. The continued tribute on the 19 minute mark at matches is testament to that, and it’s also sparked attempts at building a better atmosphere overall. We’ve pretty much nailed the away supporter side of things, but the home atmospheres are definitely improving and will prove vital in the run in.
It’s fitting to have Liverpool visiting Villa Park on such an anniversary, as their supporters have been particularly noble and generous in joining in our tributes to Petrov. Anfield was indeed Villa’s first away trip after the terrible news was first announced.
I’m sure today’s game will provide a louder than normal tribute to Stan.
Petrov’s contract is due to run out in June, but this week Lambert stated that if Stan was fit and well, and also interested, there could be a coaching role at Villa Park for him. He’d certainly be an inspirational and knowledgeable character in life and football to have around for any player to learn from.
Finally, we also hope the club will be looking to make the fan wish of a Aston Villa vs Celtic tribute friendly, a reality in the forthcoming pre-season. When/if Petrov is ready, there can surely be no better way for supporters of both clubs to celebrate his recovery. UTV
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