Football: Prince William vows son will be Villa fan too

Britain's Prince William holds his son Prince George as they arrive at Chapel Royal in St James' Palace in London, for the christening of the three-month-old Prince on Oct 23, 2013. William has vowed his son will follow in his father's footsteps by b
Britain's Prince William holds his son Prince George as they arrive at Chapel Royal in St James' Palace in London, for the christening of the three-month-old Prince on Oct 23, 2013. William has vowed his son will follow in his father's footsteps by becoming an Aston Villa fan. -- FILE PHOTO: AP

LONDON (AFP) - Britain's Prince William has vowed his son will follow in his father's footsteps by becoming an Aston Villa fan.

William, second in line to the British throne behind his father, Prince Charles, said he was keen to ensure the recently christened Prince George was present the next time Aston Villa defeated Manchester United.

"When (Aston) Villa thrash Man U at Villa Park, my son will be there," said William in a video message released ahead of the Football Association's (FA) 150th anniversary gala dinner in London on Saturday.

William, who is the president of the FA, will make the opening address at the dinner where the global guest list will include Sepp Blatter, president of football's world governing body Fifa and his Uefa counterpart Michel Platini, the former France midfielder.

Three members of England's victorious 1966 World Cup-winning side - George Cohen, Martin Peters and Geoff Hurst, who scored a hat-trick in the 4-2 final win over West Germany at London's Wembley Stadium - are also set to attend the dinner.

In the video William, who now has the formal title of Duke of Cambridge, talks about the pride he takes in his FA role.

"I've always loved football since I was a young boy," he said. "I've never got any better at it but I keep saying to myself if you keep trying, eventually something will happen.

"It's always meant a great deal to me being president of the FA.

"There's a lot of good that football can do around the world, and in this country."

It was thanks to his involvement that Buckingham Palace, the official London home of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, William's grandmother, staged its first football match earlier this month.

Civil Service, the last surviving football club of the group which formed the FA on Oct 26, 1863, lost 2-1 to Polytechnic FC in a Southern Amateur League fixture.

"There was one person I needed to get permission from, my grandmother," said William.

"She was extremely supportive, but there was a little bit of a sweating moment for me having to ask her, with the possibility that her lawn might turn into a massive quagmire."