Friday 30 August 2013
Premierleague.com rifles through the annals of the Barclays Premier League to find significant events.
Martin O'Neill made his first signing as Villa manager by taking the 27-year-old Stiliyan Petrov from former club Celtic on a four-year contract.
The Bulgaria captain won 10 individual honours with Celtic - including four Scottish Premier League titles - and, after completing the £6.5 million deal, O'Neill said: "I've known him for quite some time and I think he is athletic, young and can also score some goals for us.
"I think his best years are ahead of him, at 27. He’s the right age but he’s also got plenty of experience behind him."
Petrov became a fans' favourite at Villa and was an integral member of the side that posted several consistent Barclays Premier League final table positions under O'Neill, including sixth on three consecutive occasions.
In a six-season Barclays Premier League career, the midfielder - who went on to become the team captain - made a total of 185 appearances for Aston Villa and scored nine goals.
Petrov was diagnosed with acute leukaemia in March 2012 and last summer he received the news that the cancer is in remission.
In May this year he announced his retirement from football and he is now taking a six-month break from his position as assistant coach of the Aston Villa U21 squad, having found the day-to-day workload to be "too much too soon".