The idea of John Gregory singing at all, let alone a Bruce Springsteen song, should sound like a very special story indeed. And it certainly is – for all the right reasons surprisingly enough.
The former Aston Villa manager – who is still remembered fondly by the Villa faithful – chose a charity fundraising gig to take to the stage with his guitar and sing a song in tribute to Stiliyan Petrov and his brave battle against leukaemia.
Introducing the song to the audience, Gregory said: “I’d like this one to go out to our captain. He’s still fighting leukaemia. What you do in the 19th minute is spine tingling.”
For those who didn’t know, it’s worth noting that Aston Villa fans clap in the 19th minute every single home game in tribute to their talismanic midfielder, whose squad number is 19.
An emotional Gregory added on stage: “I’d just like to finish off with this song and it’s in the lyric – I think it’s says everything about him – it’s in the title.”
The ex-Villa player, who donned the claret and blue from 1977 to 1979, sang ‘No Surrender’ – a rousing Springsteen classic.
As for Stiliyan, there’s been little-to-no news on his current health, but the last we heard (back in August 2012), was the very positive news that his cancer had gone into remission. Here’s hoping the player with a rocketing left boot and tenacious tackle will one day return to the middle of Villa Park.