SHOWBIZ NEWS | HISTORY SPOTLIGHT | LIONS CLUBS | EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS
Issue 7 | £3.00 | www.thevillatimes.com
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ASTON VILLA’S UNOFFICIAL MAGAZINE
& NEW FACES TO VILLA PARK
Peter Lowe meets up with the England Cricketer, to talk about his love for
tells us about VILLA’S 12/13 season...
LAURSEN New Feature Training with Brian’s Football Academy
Exclusive interview with the former Villa and Denmark International about life at Villa Park and his new movie Me, Myself and Martin Laursen
VILLA LIONS Chris Fetters
VILLA WORLD Fan Pictures
PETE GOUGH Celtic To Villa
The former Villa and Denmark star tells The Villa Times of his love for Villa, the highs and lows of his career and his new film Me, Myself and Martin Laursen
In This Month... 2012/13 SEASON REVIEW
Villa author, Simon Goodyear gives us his views of the 2012 /13 seaon.
HISTORY Adam Keeble tells us about the successful 1992 season.
Peter Lowe meets up with Villa fan and England Cricketer Chris Woakes
PAGE 50 4 The Villa Times Magazine
Prince George Welcome to the family PAGE 24
New Faces PAGE 19
Pete Gough Stan Meets Pete at Villa Park
Villa World PAGE 72 Pictures of the Month This month we have pictures from Peter Lowe and Michael McCaffery.
30 Was That A Goal
Villa Lions latest news from from some of the Worlds lions clubs with articles.
Villa World Pictures sent from Villa fans not only from the UK but from across the world..
68 James Leyfield
Lions Interview We interview Villa fan and Seattle based Chris Fetters about his best moment, match, player and love for the Villa.
We take a look at the new goal technology installed in Villa Park. News and fixture of Aston Villaâ€™s exciting youth teams. The Villa Times showbiz writer gives us some Villa showbi gossip. 53 Andy Evans
Andy counties his column of his love for Villa while growning up. 77 Save That Date
Villa Events that are coming up.
38 Pete Gough
The story of Pete and the fantastic achievment of running from Celtic to Villa in aid for Stan. 43 Gaming
The new section from fot-line.com, the new Villa fan run only gaming. 69 Travel
We take a look at the Arsenal and Chelsea matches ahead, the grounds and were to drink. 66 Shopping
We look at whats new to offer from the new Villa clothing range.
and Much More
IN ACTION: Martin closing down Chelseaâ€™s Claudio Pizarro
10 The Villa Times Magazine
But in January 2009, when everything seemed to finally be in place, Laursen suffered the injury that ended his career, at home to WBA. away that the mentally and the culture and the way they play football in England was perfect for me. I enjoyed it very much. The problem was that only after three games, I got injured and had a lot of problems that year – injury wise and with David O’Leary, who could not understand my problems and didn’t treat me that well. He couldn’t understand my situation and didn’t have any patience with me. You couldn’t trust him. He could say something and mean something else and I don’t think he was a good manager or a good person. So it was a difficult first season.’ ‘And then it wasn’t good at the beginning of the next season as-well. I only played the first game. I remember I took some pills to play and then I had a lot of pain after the game and I said, ‘Stop!’ I could feel that my knee needed help. So we contacted Richard Steadman in Colorado and we flew over there and had a consultation, and then we decided to make a microfracture, which is a big operation and a risky one as-well, but he invented the technique so he was the best man to do it. I felt secure with the situation. He could only give me an 80% chance to come back, but it went well and it was just great from there.’ Laursen subsequently spent nine months rehabilitating in Bologna before returning to B6 in the summer of 2006. His return coincided with O’Leary’s departure from Villa Park and Laursen has nothing but praise for his successor. ‘When Martin O’Neill came to the club, I had a manager who understood me and my situation,’ says Laursen. ‘It was just so nice to work with a manager that told me that the most important thing was to play games. He said, “What you do from Monday to Friday, it interests me but it’s not so important to me, as long as you play well on Saturday,” and that was so good for me because then I could do my special training. He understood – because he was intelligent – that I couldn’t train normally like the other players; that I had to do some different things because of my knee. He understood that from day one and I had a great relationship with him all through my time at Villa.’ O’Neill’s man-management skills allowed Laursen to flourish and the next three seasons would be, in his words, ‘the best period of my football life’. ‘I played most of the last part of the third season, and from there it was just up. I enjoyed the best football of my career in England where I can see now I should have come before because it suited my game. It was just so perfect for me. In England they saw everything that I was good at and didn’t see the things where I wasn’t so good, so it suited my game perfectly. It was just amazing. It was so fantastic for me. I had two great seasons with Martin O’Neill and they were the best years of my life – a great, great time. I played every match and I was captain as-well – something that made me very proud. I wanted to play well and pay back all the good words that everyone had said to me, especially Martin O’Neill, and also be someone you could trust when things didn’t go so well on the pitch. I would try to help others and be a good example, and it was just very special for me to be named club captain and do all
the things that a captain does. Just to have that armband on my arm was a great honour.’ But in January 2009, when everything seemed to finally be in place, Laursen suffered the injury that ended his career, at home to West Bromwich Albion. ‘It was a bit strange because I got injured with my other knee. It wasn’t my bad knee, so to say. It was my other knee, my right knee,’ explains Laursen. ‘I had some problems throughout the Christmas period and had some minor surgery that took away part of the outside of the cartilage, and then I got those problems at the West Brom game. I did some rehab and when I was about to run, my knee flared up. So we contacted Richard Steadman again and he said that I needed a microfracture again, but because of the problem I had with the outside of my cartilage, he said it was going to be very difficult for me to come back and play football again. I had one year left on my contract and he said to me that I should think about retiring because of my future life as well. At the time I was only 31 and I hadn’t hurt my knee so much that I couldn’t play football with my kids or have a normal life, so my decision was that it was better for me to stop and I haven’t regretted that. I stopped at the top, I have a good life now and it was a good decision.’ Following that decision to retire, Laursen appeared on the Villa Park pitch for one last time on the final day of the 2008/09 season. Before the game against Newcastle United, Laursen had the chance to say his final farewell to the fans.
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18 The Villa Times Magazine
H Benteke’s maiden soiree in English football probably couldn’t have gone much better
By Jason Connolly
e was described as ‘unplayable’ on his Villa debut by manager, Paul Lambert. Michael Owen tweeted that he was ‘seriously impressed’ by the Belgian forward. He became the first Villa player to surpass 20 goals in a season since Juan Pablo Angel back in 2003-04 and overtook Dwight Yorke’s 18 goal record in a single Premier League campaign with 19 strikes. He finished runner up in the PFA Young Player Award category to Spurs’ talisman, Gareth Bale. All in all, Christian Benteke’s maiden soiree in English football probably couldn’t have gone much better. Talismanic displays following his £7m move from Genk on transfer deadline day in August brought cult status on the Holte End and prompted envious glances from opposing supporters who would love the talented to be playing for them rather than terrorising their defence. From the moment Benteke came on as a second half substitute for Andi Weimann and dinked the ball over Swansea goalkeeper, Michael Vorm before casually stroking the ball in to an empty net to seal a 2-0 victory and Villa’s first win of the season, he showed what shrewd signing he was. He has strength in abundance - glaringly evident in front of the Sky cameras as he shrugged off Chris Smalling like he wasn’t there before picking out Weimann to smash home against eventual champions, Manchester United – along with skill, creativity and top drawer finishing ability shown by his two goals and unbelievable back heel assist for Weimann as he de-
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THE NIGHT GAME Aston Villa hosted Burnley in the Carling Cup on the 24th Octobr 2010 with Villa winning 2-1. Taken from a series of 'Fans Fotos' in and around the stadium. This photograph is looking in on the Doug Ellis Stand and the North Stand from Witton Lane. Picture of the Month by Michael McCafferty
Picture of the Month
Lions Seattle Lions Chairman
Chris Fetters Interview With
Chris and members of the Seattle Lions Club outside the 'George And Dragon' pub when the Seattle Lions Club was founded
Our overseas Villan this issue is none other than the founder of Aston Villa's new Lions Club in Seattle, Washington, U.S.A., Chris Fetters. Here he talks about how he came to love football, Villa, and much more. Tell us a bit about yourself Chris? Well, I was born in Seattle, Washington - grew up in Seattle and went to high school on an island about a 30-minute ferry ride from downtown Seattle, Bainbridge Island. It was there I learned to play and love the game of soccer and started watching it on television. At that time (mid-70's) the only European soccer readily available to us here was Bundesliga highlights on public TV (PBS), so I got good at pronouncing names like Borussia Monchengladbach and Cologne. Once I got into high school I got away from soccer and moved into other sports, namely golf. I played competitively in high school and in college. During that time I just got away from the game, although the Seattle Sounders had opened the new Kingdome by playing the New York Cosmos in 1976 and I actually went to that game. Pele played in it
62 The Villa Times Magazine
and other superstars like Giorgio Chinaglia and Franz Beckenbauer. I lived away from Seattle until 2001. It was then I had a career opportunity to move back home, and I did so. Around 2007 a cousin of mine from Wisconsin moved to Seattle also for work and we started hanging out quite a bit. His name is Matt. Matt is a massive Everton fan and talked to me about joining him at a local pub called the George and Dragon to watch Premier League games, so I started watching soccer again. At first I was watching Everton games and really started enjoying the game again for the first time in a very long time. It was like riding a bike; you don't ever seem to really forget what it's like and it doesn't take long to get the handle of it again. The George is about a 10 minute drive from my home in Ballard, a Seattle neighborhood, so I started
going to games on my own. At that time I hit a couple of Aston Villa games. Martin O'Neill was managing and Martin Laursen had just retired. They had also just signed Brad Friedel, so that intrigued me as an American watching English Football.I also remember Emile Heskey joining the team around that time. If I remember correctly, it was a stretch of a few games where they played Sunderland and Portsmouth, maybe a couple of other teams. But in watching the games, Villa just stood out to me. It's hard to explain now, but there was just something about how they played. I remember Cuellar and Luke Young in the back, Milner, Petrov, Barry and Ashley Young in the midfield and Gabby and Big John Carew up front. They were fun to watch, and they were winning too! Once I realized I was getting hooked by watching the Premiership, I knew I wanted to follow a team. I knew I couldn't support Everton, because that was my cousin's team, and I certainly wasn't going to be following the 'Big Four' that was too cliche and boring to me. So the more I followed Villa, the more I appreciated how they played the game. And then I started going to the message boards like Heroes & Villains and Villa Talk and delved into the history of the club. It was a massive club!! And they also Acorns as their shirt sponsor, and learning more about their association with Acorns simply solidified what I kind of knew in my mind for a while - Aston Villa was going to be my club. I picked them, but in some strange way I feel like they picked me too. And I've never looked back! How the Seattle Lions Club became a reality? Once I knew I was Villa Til I Die, I went for it. I tried to go to as many games as I could at the George and Dragon (my career as a sports journalist wreaks havoc on that schedule because of what I do, but I made it happen anyway), and I noticed there were a few Villa fans here and there, but nothing compared to clubs like Liverpool and Arsenal. I met the Villa fans and talked to them, but at the time I never really thought about organizing a group. Then I met a Birmingham exPat named Danny Thrasyvoulou. He came into the George and Dragon about three years ago for a Villa game and we were the only Villains in the house. Of course I was thrilled to meet someone from Brum, and Dan was thrilled to meet anyone that had an interest in the Villa, so we sparked up a friendship. He had just married an American girl, so he was going to be living in Seattle. It was at that time the seeds for a supporters club were first con-
Chris with Villa Legend Peter Withe ceived, although it would take a long time for the roots to take hold. Over the course of those three years I tried to keep in touch with Danny, but it was hard. Lost cell phones, no contact through email, conflicting schedules...we wouldn't see each other for months at a time, even during the seasons. So our little group of Seattle Villains were scattered to the winds. In the summer of 2012 it was announced Aston Villa was going to visit America - I couldn't have been more excited. I flew out to Chicago to see Gabby score in a 1-0 win over the Chicago Fire and then flew home in time to see the Villa draw with the Portland Timbers but win in a penalty shootout. Tom Hanks and Geezer Butler were there. Before I went to Chicago I started corresponding with one of the top men in the Chicago Supporters Group - Simon Leach. I met up with Simon and his wonderful girlfriend Cat Stewart at a Chicago bar called the Halsted Harp. They also wanted to know my story. So we swapped Villa stories, and it was there where I met Villains from Canada and everywhere throughout the United States. It was incredible! But it was meeting three Lions from Kidderminster - Paul Harris, Mark Byworth and Ben Mitchell - that really got me excited about the possibility of putting a supporters group together. They had flown out from England to see the Chicago game and came decked in Kiddy
shirts and brought their supporters flags and all that good stuff. I was so impressed by their dedication and passion for the club (I believe Kiddy would later win the Supporters Club of the Year) they got me all wound up about the possibilities. With their support and also the advice of Simon, I came back determined to do something, but it was my recent trip to England to see it up close that put the cherry on top. I spent a few days hanging out with the Kiddy Lions, as well as some of my Canadian Villa mates like Danny Peever and Todd Butler. I went with the Kiddy boys on a coach to the Stoke game, and was called 'Guzan's Dad' the whole time. It was a surreal experience for a Seattle kid to be on a bus with a police escort to the Britannia. And then going to Villa Park to see the Villa take on Fulham was fantastic. I went to the Lions club and met some phenomenal people, like Alan Perrins and Rob Bishop. And I also met the legend himself - Peter Withe! After an experience like that I was bound and determined to spread the Villa gospel. I got home and went to the George to see the Villa take on Manchester United. Lo and behold, Danny Thrasyvoulou showed up too with his beautiful wife Kaite! It was a great reunion, and we started planning on seeing more games together. And then another Birmingham ex-Pat that neither of us knew - David Hewat - also showed up for the game! The Villa Times Magazine 63