Aston Villa have paid a poignant tribute to the late father of manager Dean Smith ahead of tonight’s Premier League restart with Sheffield United.
Ron Smith died in a care home last month, having contracted Covid-19. He was a lifelong Villa fan and a long-serving steward at the club, passing on his devotion to his son Dean and brother David.
Ahead of tonight’s game, played at an empty Villa Park, the club draped a steward’s jacket with the initials 'RS, 79' over a seat in the Holte End.
Speaking on Sky Sports ahead of the game, Smith said:
“A fantastic gesture from the football club. One that you’ve come to expect from this football club. The supporters were involved online.
“Pep Guardiola lost his mother too and we’re both involved in matches tonight and my heart goes out to everyone who lost people during this period.”
Manchester City manager Guardiola admitted this week it has been a "difficult time" following the death of his mother Dolores of coronavirus in early April.
"What I live personally is the same as everyone lives. There is nothing different," said Guardiola.
"All the people we lost are important to their families. That is why we have the families to be together, to be strong."
He added: "For all the people who lost very important members of their families or real friends, it has been a difficult time."