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Saturday, 4 December 2010

My Bodymoor Heath visit (Monday 29th Nov 2010)

It’s every boys dream to play football and to score a goal for his beloved team.  For most of us this stays merely a dream as we grow up and realise we are not as great at football as we thought.  It then becomes every man’s desire to meet the people that are living his boyhood dream.  Thanks to Bet188, I was given that opportunity and experienced life as a footballer on an unforgettable visit to the training ground of my beloved team, Aston Villa.

Any day starts of well with bacon sandwiches and this only added to with a bit of Barry Bannan on the side.  Having drafted the diminutive Scottish international into my fantasy team, this was my opportunity to inspire the midfielder to score me some points.


Despite the sub-zero temperatures, we ventured outside to watch Gerard Houllier conduct the first team training session.  With an important Carling Cup quarter final against local rivals Birmingham City, the positive atmosphere and general sense of fun was very apparent.  In particular the likes of Agbonlahor, Beye and Carew, together with assistant manager Gary McCallister, were in particularly high spirits – laughing and joking whilst maintaining a high level of competitiveness.  The manager even took time out to say hello and invite us to join in with the session. Unfortunately we did not have our boots, although we did offer our services for the upcoming cup tie!

Once the players had thawed out, we posed for pictures and collected autographs before heading to the players’ dining room for some lunch.  It is a very surreal feeling to be queuing for food behind James Collins and John Carew (not to mention belittling!).  Again the upbeat vibe was palpable, especially from young Ciaran Clark who was obviously buzzing from his 2 goals against Arsenal.

We were very privileged to be given a tour of the rest of the facilities, and could clearly see why Bodymoor Heath is one of the best training facilities in the country.  We were also fortunate to meet some of the high class coaching team that do such a great job behind the scenes.  I was particularly impressed with Kevin MacDonald and Tony McAndrew and the ethos of developing the person as well as the player.

I’ve always been a fan of Villa and have always felt that it is club who treats their fans exceptionally well.  After today, and the way all the players and coaching staff gave up a little of their time for 2 totally random fans, I am delighted and incredibly proud to be a follower of Aston Villa!

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