When Aston Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov was diagnosed with leukaemia in March 2012, after a match at The Emirates versus Arsenal, the footballing world was rocked by the news. There was an outpouring of sadness and support for Petrov. Perhaps the most well recognised show of support for Stan was the 19th minute applause, started by Aston Villa fans in the following game against Chelsea at Villa Park, the applause in the 19th minute being a nod to Petrov’s favoured shirt number – 19.
This has continued in every game since with (most) opposition fans respecting and joining in with the applause. It’s been absolutely magnificent and I’m sure it has helped Stan through his terrible battle to regain his health.
However, with Stan now thankfully in remission and on the road to recovery, the question has been asked whether it’s time to discontinue the applause. It’s something I’ve thought about quite a bit during games over the course of pre-season. I attended matches against Luton, Walsall and Malaga. I for one definitely sensed it losing its importance and that people were only really doing it out of habit and no longer just for Stan, which I think is a shame.
I spoke to several people who also attended yesterday’s game against Malaga at Villa Park: most of them said they either didn’t join in the applause or only did so because they felt obliged as the people around them were doing so.
Unfortunately, I cannot claim to know Stan personally but in my estimation he doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who would want this to continue; it’s my belief that he would want us, now that he’s getting better and moving on with his life with his coaching and charity work, to also move on and concentrate on the team and the players on the pitch.
Manager Paul Lambert said during his Fans’ Forum on Monday night that he believed it was the time to stop now: “Stan is getting better now, he’s won, I don’t think he needs to be reminded of it every game now”. He also included a point which I very much agree with, that perhaps Stan needs to come out himself and say whether or not he’d like it to stop. All he’d need to do is say something along the lines of, “The support has been fantastic for myself and it has meant so much to me and my family. However, I now believe it is time to move on and show that same support to the lads on the pitch. Thank you”. I’m sure he could word it better than that though!
The 19th minute applause towards the end of the 11/12 and for the entirety of the 12/13 seasons was a moving show of support and respect for one of football’s favourite men and it earned the club and the Aston Villa fans a lot of respect from outside B6. However, I believe, now that Stan is getting better and moving on with his life, away from his illness, that we should do the same before it loses its importance and just becomes something we do out of habit.
It’s come full circle. We go back to where it all started for the first game of the season – The Emirates versus Arsenal. What better place to end it: let Stan get on with his new life as a coach, which I’m sure he’ll be excellent at, and let us concentrate on the lads on the pitch who are starting a new and exciting era for the club, an era which, thankfully, Stan will be a part of.
I’d love to hear people’s opinions on this so please comment below. Cheers!
Thanks for reading!
Did they show anything on the big screen against Malaga during the 19th minute? Couldn’t tell from the dreadful camera work on AVTV.
I believe it has run it’s course now. Stan is in remission and we all need to move o, otherwise we’ll still be doing it in the year 2065 when we’ll be playing on Jupiter with the players wearing specially adapted hydrogen football boots.
They did not show anything on the big screens. I managed to stay in my seat for the first 30 seconds out of Stan’s wishes but found I was pratically the only one not clamping in L4, and therefore felt obliged to join in. It may need a big screen sign from Stan to stop it.
Could not agree more, to continue is pointless, the man is up and about and working. Great when it had purpose, now it could become a cause of conflict, that I am sure Stilyan would not want! I, for one, will remain firmly in my seat.
It does need to stop but the club needs to take the lead by putting it out in the mail In an ad on behalf of Stan , thanking the fans but asking for it now to end. Also at the first game against Liverpool the message could also go on the big screen before the match
Chris – both the manager and Petrov themselves have stated enough is enough..
Stuart- yes I know about the fans forum last week but the message needs to be clearer . Most Villa fans aren’t aware of that meeting I’m sure
I agree. I applauded yesterday but it didn’t have the same feel to it. Stan is now in remission and needs to look forward. We should too. The worse scenario will be if some applaud and some do not, this would look disrespectful. I believe that Stan or Aston Villa Football Club should issue a request for it to cease.
I along with my son wife and grandchildren stood and applauded at the game yesterday.
I myself was diagnosed with the uncureable form of lukemia at christmas and the prognosis was 15-20 months.
I am so pleased for Stan that he is in remisson and he has cause to be optomistic for himself and his family for the future.
I would suspect now he has arrived at a point in time that he would like to put it behind him and try to look foreward to a long and happy future. I believe it is now time to end the applause and wish him good luck.
I was at the match yesterday and everyone where I was sitting clapped, but I think it was because Stan was there.
There was no Support Stan on the electronic system so it was just fan induced.
I don’t think it should carry on into the new season as has been said Stan is in remission and needs to move on with his new life.
am a long villa fan,yes i think it should stop but if they can find somethink eles to do for stan on the 19th min think it would be nice for a man who is villa though and though all the best stan
Can we not just sing his name in the 19th minute ?
Definitely time to knock it on the head. It’s run it’s course.
Five Generations – Sorry to hear about your illness mate, hope you’re not feeling too bad, all the best to you and your family.
Yes I think it is time to move on. Yesterday at the Malaga match it almost came as a surprise. The level of applause was as good as before, but I did not expect it as I had before – however it is for Stan and the club to make the statement. We can’t have the situation where the fans start to tail off and it becomes embarrassing
Its been a brilliant show of solidarity among the claret an blue army. I think the last words belong to five generations. God bless you mate. UTV
five generations, I wish you and your family all the best