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Aston Villa praises Hitzlsperger's announcement

Thomas Hitzlsperger's former club Aston Villa has praised him after the ex-footballer announced he was gay:

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Everyone who knows Thomas from his time here at Villa has great respect for him, not only as the fine player he was but also as a man. (1/3)

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His statement today is a straightforward statement and, along with our support as a club, we hope that everyone involved in the game...(2/3)

Is George next in line to be famous Aston Villa fan?

Prince William's ambition to persuade his son George to follow Aston Villa could see the future King join a powerful set of supporters of the Midlands team.

Prince William apparently started supporting Villa at Eton. His role as FA president saw him meet then-Villa winger Ashley Young in 2009. Credit: Anwar Hussein/EMPICS Entertainment
Prime Minister David Cameron has also been spotted in the stands for several of Villa's away matches in London in recent seasons. Credit: Stephen Pond/EMPICS Sport
Former Bank of England governor Sir Mervyn King is a regular at Villa Park and sat next to then-England manager Fabio Capello in 2011. Credit: Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport

Read: Prince William vows to take George to Villa Park

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Two men held after flare hits linesman in Spurs match

Two men, aged 25 and 27, have been arrested after a flare hit a linesman during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur at Villa Park, West Midlands Police have said.

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Police have arrested 2 men after a lit flare was thrown on the pitch during the Villa v Spurs game - the flare hit a linesman #avfc #thfc

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The two men aged 25 and 47 were arrested following the incident at Villa Park, fortunately the linesman wasn't injured #avfc #thfc

Television replays showed a missile being fired from the away section after Andros Townsend's first-half opening goal in Spurs' 2-0 away win.

Linesman struck by flare during Villa-Spurs match

An assistant referee has been struck by a flare fired from the away section during the first half of the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur at Villa Park.

David Bryan was hit by the flare as Spurs fans celebrated the game's opening goal, which was scored by England winger Andros Townsend in the 31st minute.

Replays showed assistant referee David Bryan being struck in the back of the neck by a flare fired from the away section. Credit: Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport
Mr Bryan was seen grimacing amid the blue smoke as Tottenham fans turned to see the culprit. Credit: Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport
Spurs defenders Michael Dawson and Jan Vertonghen checked on the official and the game resumed shortly afterwards. Credit: Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport

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Petrov retires from football after leukaemia battle

Aston Villa's Stiliyan Petrov responds to applause from the stands at Villa Park. Credit: PA

Aston Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov, who has been suffering from acute leukaemia, has announced his retirement from football on the club's website.

Writing on the club's website, the Bulgarian said he would be starting a foundation to help people diagnosed with the disease.

"That I am ready to embrace new challenges will make this process much easier," he said.

"Since being diagnosed with acute leukaemia in March 2012, I have come to understand and appreciate the way in which this disease impacts the lives of so many people."

"My leukaemia is now in remission and I have finished my high intensity treatment," he added.

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