Warning: this might make you tear up

Tom Dulat

Stiliyan Petrov returned to Bodymoor Heath this week, giving a long interview to the official Aston Villa website. It only serves to remind Villa supporters of how special their captain truly is.

If you haven't seen the interview with Stiliyan Petrov on the OS, head over there right now and check it out. It's nearly guaranteed to bring tears to the eyes of even the most hardened Aston Villa supporter.

"Sometimes I have a joke with some friends when they text me saying, 'You've still got that applause in the 19th minute, when are they going to stop?!' "

One of the bright spots of this season is that, no matter how much the Villa have struggled, or what is going on on the pitch, the 19th minute applause for Stan faithfully occurs. Our captain was diagnosed with acute leukaemia just over a year ago, and entered remission earlier this year. But he's still acknowledged during each game, and this interview gives a pretty good glimpse into why Petrov is so beloved.

"Villa are in a position at the moment where people say we are fighting relegation. We are, but so what?"

We might still make jokes about Stan's propensity to shoot from 30 yards out, sending the ball into the stands, but our captain is utterly beloved. His positive attitude and commitment to the club, both before this illness and after, are enough to make you choke up a little.

"I can say I'm lucky because some people with this disease will die very quickly and I managed to keep battling and still be here, still standing."

I don't know about anyone else, but I never let myself imagine the fact that Stan would actually die. As a relatively new supporter, Petrov's always been in my Villa world. Despite sometimes being frustrated with his performance, I couldn't bring myself to think about the Villa without our captain. On the pitch, he's dedicated and tenacious. Off the pitch, he's fiercely loyal, a wonderful man to have speaking for the club. Oh, Stan, we're all so very, very happy that you're in recovery.

"The kids especially have really missed me a lot and they're happy that I'm home. It's their first school day tomorrow so I'll take them to school."

Dear god someone go get me a hankie.

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