Kappa’s graffiti motif and community regeneration announcement at Aston Villa as they become the club’s principle kit partner echoes the local ethos that has been instilled at the club through the coaches, captains and players.
Words by Regan Foy | @FindFoy

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Aston Villa’s announcement of Kappa as the clubs principle shirt partner for the 2018/19 season has thrown some fans for six – but others, including ourselves, have known about the Kappa deal and prospective shirt designs for some time.

Whilst no shirt designs have been released at this point, they are being teased via three graffiti art motifs placed outside Villa Park for a short amount of time this summer.

The key thing about this announcement, is that it is truly a celebration of the club’s local ethos that seems to have been implemented over the last season.

The main motif features boyhood Aston Villa fan Jack Grealish, sat back to back with Ladies’ club captain Kerri Welsh. 

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Many fans know the story of Grealish, who was a season ticket holder as a child, and who rose through the ranks to now captain his boyhood club in a Wembley Play-Off Final next Monday at the age of twenty-three. He is a local lad, and the club are always proud to show off the fact that he is ‘one of our own’.

Kerri, who was born in Stoke-on-Trent and has coached at Port Vale and Staffordshire University, has been with Aston Villa for what seems like an age, rising through the Ladies’ development scheme. In essence, she’s been around the club for a similar amount of time to Jack, and now holds the role of club captain for the Aston Villa Ladies. She’s as much a part of Birmingham as the fans.

Also pictured are Andre Green and Jodie Hutton, both of whom are local and have spent their entire careers at the club (bar loan spells for Green). 

Andre Green is a similar story to Grealish’s, having grown up around the club, supporting it and eventually playing for it, and like Jack, Andre is likely to be representing his boyhood club at Wembley next week. 

Jodie, the youngest player to feature on the graffiti wall, has risen to fame this season with stellar performances for the Aston Villa Ladies – and became the first professionally contracted Ladies side player this season. She is a true embodiment of natural, local talent.

The final piece of art features the clubs two Midlands born-and-bred coaches, Dean Smith and Gemma Davies.

Fans are well versed with the tale of Dean Smith, who assisted his father, a steward at the club, before match days, before standing on the Holte End steps to watch the games. A life long Aston Villa fan, Smith is now at the helm of his club and potentially leading them to glory and towards a fabled return to the Premier League. Dean was born a stones throw away from Villa Park, and is just another highlight of the local ethos being employed at the club of late.

Gemma Davies is another shining example of this. Having coached Erdington Ladies Football Club around a decade ago, the 26-year-old has held coaching positions at Birmingham City Women and Coventry United Ladies, amongst other roles, as well as being the Head of Women’s Football at Birmingham University. She is a true tale of local success, and has shown that in her coaching ability this season, leading the Ladies to a sixth placed finish and a fifteen point increase on their previous season.

Kappa’s logo is supposed to represent equality, and these motifs show exactly that. The male and female counterparts within their respective sides, all under one Aston Villa banner – and better still, each bit of talent has ties to the local area. 

They have also announced their ‘Kappa in the Community’ scheme during their three years with the club – seeing them as principle partner until 2022 – a project which will focus on regeneration and improvement works within the local community.

This simply just goes on to echo the true local ethos and community spirit around Aston Villa at the moment.

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