If Stan Petrov’s fit; no harm can come of him returning to the Villa team.  As Captain.

It has been revealed today that Petrov has overcome Leukemia which forced his retirement from football 4 years ago.  This news about his health alone is fantastic news.

Our former Captain has recently been training with the Under-21 squad and has announced that he would like to resume his playing career, preferably at Villa.

Whilst the incoming manager, and indeed the club would have to approve any such deal, for myself at least, it makes a great deal of sense.

Petrov was a footballer who lead by example, gave everything for our historic shirt and projects himself in completely the right way.

There are very few, perhaps a handful within the current Villa squad who can claim to have even one of those qualities.

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Whilst Petrov’s body will inevitably mirror that of any 37 year old footballer, he has the advantage of vast experience, having received the best medical treatment and as importantly, the will to succeed.  

We don’t get many Petrov’s at Aston Villa & it would therefore be short sighted to dismiss him out of hand.

It’s important to raise that it’s easy to look back in a revisionist manner or believe that this would be the right move solely in terms of sentiment.  I think both should have a bearing.

Petrov endured a torrid time in his early days at Villa, struggling for form under Martin O’Neill before a stretch of the team renewed his focus.  It’s perhaps a measure of the man that having been booed off the pitch at one point, he rebuilt his Villa career and reputation significantly.  Actions speak louder than words.

Stan grew into an ever present, an assured and dependable face.  Never could he be labelled like many of the current incumbents as neither caring or trying.  

It is also perhaps worth considering whether he was limited by then players around him in a Villa side on the precipice of years of decline.  Whilst Stan came in at a point of Villa splashing the cash, he also found himself at the other end of the Lerner masterplan.

It’s not without some irony given our current position that he scored his most memorable goal from the halfway line at Derby in a 6-0 drubbing;

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If fit, I absolutely cannot see why having a player of his stature, knowledge and ability around the first team would be anything other than beneficial.

Whilst he wouldn’t be the driving force of a Championship midfield on his own, he could certainly bring balance for maybe 60 minutes, or be a very handy player to have on the bench.  You don’t lose a footballing brain such as his with age, after-all.

Finally, Petrov would be a decent character around the dressing room that would serve as a reminder, a grounding, to whomever pulls on the shirt in the future.  It’s not all about money, selflessness and personal gain.

He would also, therefore, be the perfect candidate for the Captain’s armband.  Joleon Lescott?  Simply not fit to lace Stan’s boots.  Petrov is not only the right type of footballer, but he is also right type of man fit to lead our football club.

Yes, football is just a game, but it can reach out and be positive too, even through dark times.  Stan can perhaps in some respects offer something greater than his footballing ability to us in his battling nature, his proud family values and the consistent desire to give back to Villa in the face of his own adversity.


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