Aston Villa fans applaud Queen Elizabeth II 70-year reign, 70 minutes into their match

A special programme in honour of the Queen is available at tonight's match Credit: Aston Villa / @AVFCOfficial

Aston Villa's home game against Southampton tonight will pay special tributes to Her Majesty the Queen.

Before kick off, a minute's silence was held, followed by the National Anthem.

When the match reaches its 70th minute, fans will be encouraged to applaud the 70-year reign of Queen Elizabeth II.

The cover of the games matchbook will also pay tribute to the Queen.

Both Aston Villa supporters and Southampton fans were encouraged to arrive early for the special occasion.

Players and match officials are wearing black armbands as a mark of respect.

The club says 'It's to honour Her Majesty's extraordinary life and contribution to the nation and world.'

Before the game, in his pre-match press conference head coach Steven Gerrard spoke the MBE he received in 2006 from the Queen for his services to sport

He said: "I was really honoured to receive the MBE in 2006, she was there obviously to give me it, which I was really, it was a really proud day for me and my family, it's a moment I'll cherish personally for the rest of my life and I'm one of the lucky few who've been in her company and she was very nice and respectful that's a moment I'll carry with me for a long time."

Aston Villa have long standing connections to the Royal Family. In 1957, the last time Villa won the FA Cup, The Queen was there to present to trophy.

The new Prince of Wales and future King is also an Aston Villa supporter and President of the FA and was at Wembley to see the side secure promotion to the Premier League in 2019.

Aston Villa lifting the FA Cup after being presented it by Queen Elizabeth II. Credit: PA Images