Football: Aston Villa get fans rocking in the aisles

THAT WAS THE WEEKEND THAT WAS
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The Independent Online
Aston Villa, frozen out of Cup action at Notts County yesterday, may not have had a match this weekend. But they can look forward to not one but two full houses in Birmingham next Saturday, weather permitting.

There will not be a seat to spare at Villa Park when Brian Little's side take on Newcastle at three o'clock. Nor will there be a vacant seat at O'Neill's bar in Curzon Street a few hours later, when the evening's entertainment will be provided by... Aston Villa.

Do not expect, however, to see Dwight Yorke and friends belting out the Villa version of "New York, New York". This Aston Villa is a French rock band "discovered" by Bernard Gallagher, editor of the club's Claret and Blue monthly magazine. Or, to be more accurate, by his 19-year-old daughter, Marie, who was mystified as to why she kept hearing this familiar name on local radio while au-pairing in Thoirry, a short distance from the Swiss border.

A curious Gallagher tracked down the band's manager in Paris, watched them on stage and ran a six-page feature in his magazine. The delighted band visited Birmingham, and the consequence is their first British gig, at Saturday's 150-seat venue.

"They might not be well known here but they are a pretty slick outfit who have just had a successful run as support band on ZZ Top's European tour," Gallagher said.

"Apparently they derived their name from Aston Martin and Pancho Villa, but they were aware of the club name and the drummer wears Villa shorts on stage."

The band will first take in the match against Newcastle, where Villa will hope to entertain them to something along the lines of "Roll over, Ginola."

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