As football supporters, we tend to look solely at the pitch, forgetting that players have lives outside of it, and that, as with any job, sometimes that weighs into their performances. At Four Five Two, we generally have a remit to take absolutely none of the game seriously.
I’m going to go against both of those remits today.
On this week’s episode of AM 452, I slagged off Villa skipper Stiliyan Petrov for making what I called a “pantomime challenge” at Arsenal’s Kieran Gibbs in the buildup to the left back’s opener on Saturday. I believe I also called it “inexcusable.” Elsewhere on the Interwebs I posted that I’d be happy to be well shot of Petrov next season.
On its own, that’s normal football overreaction. Especially as Petrov is often the last player to accuse of lacking effort. However, today my words are even less excusable, as Villa’s skipper and 2008-2009 player of the year has been diagnosed with acute Leukemia, as announced by the club today. An apology in this forum, for words that the player likely neither heard nor saw, is quite literally the least I can do, but I feel it absolutely necessary to a player that has been a model servant and captain to Aston Villa Football Club.
My wife often refers to Petrov as Keyser Soze, due to the fact that he looks capable of unspeakable, extreme badassery on the pitch. Neil Lennon, current Celtic manager and a former teammate of Petrov’s, was quoted as saying that Stan “has the heart of a lion.” I can only hope that that those qualities can see him through this illness.
I think I can comfortably say that I speak for the rest of the Four Five Two staff in sending our best wishes to Petrov and his family for a speedy recovery.