Wesley Smith reports
The Duke of Cambridge has visited the region to officially opened Aston Villa's High-performance training centre near Tamworth.
Prince William, who's well-known as a fan, was wearing Villa's colours when he met many of the players and volunteers from the club's charity foundation at Bodymoor Heath on Tuesday (May 4).
The new facility has been designed to bring the club's performance, strength, conditioning, rehabilitation and sports therapy functions up to 21st-century standards.
The Prince had also paid tribute to the work of the club's foundation protecting and supporting communities during the Covid-19 pandemic.
He was also introduced to those involved in the antenatal clinics from the Birmingham and Sandwell NHS Trust who made use of facilities at Villa Park as part of the Covid vaccination programme.
Prince William then met Aston Villa's playing squad and coaching staff in the open air at Bodymoor Heath.
He shared a laugh with the squad, joking about the use of modern technology in football and said he'd watched their latest victory against Everton on Saturday (May 1) - describing it as a 'good game'.
Before unveiling a plaque to commemorate the opening of the new training centre, in a speech the Prince paid tribute Aston Villa head coach Dean Smith's late father.
He also said he was 'heartened' by the club's future and joked about how he couldn't think of a cooler place to be vaccinated than Villa Park.
Staff at Aston Villa said they've wanted to connect the club with the community and have been able to do with the help of the vaccination programme.
They added to get recognition from the Prince was 'fantastic' for everyone involved at the club.