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Arsenal (A) Sun 1 Mar 2015, 14:05, Barclays Premier League

by Daniel Alston @efc_danalston

Goodison Park played host to two members of Aston Villa’s backroom staff on Friday as their mammoth fundraising effort in support of Stiliyan Petrov reached Liverpool.

Villains captain Petrov was diagnosed with acute leukaemia earlier this year but appears to be winning his fight after recently entering remission.

Andy Smith and Alex Butler, both masseurs for the Midlands club, backed the midfielder in his recovery and helped raise money for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research by cycling over 400 miles.

Alongside former England international Geoff Thomas, the 'Pedal for Petrov' campaign followed a route from Celtic Park - where the Bulgarian once played - to Villa Park, with Goodison just one stop along the way.

Everton reserve-team boss Alan Stubbs overcame his own battle with cancer during his time at Celtic, where he was a teammate of Petrov’s.

The former Blues captain was full of praise for the two Villa medical men and encouraged others to aid the fundraising effort.

He said: “It’s wonderful what these guys are doing and I’m sure it means the world to Stiliyan. I’ve been there and I know what the support of your family, friends, teammates and wider football community can do for someone when they’re faced with that kind of challenge.

“I was so pleased to hear that Stiliyan is in remission and I know he is grateful for all the support he has received. It’s great that something so positive has come from such a serious situation and I hope the hard work done by Alex, Andy and Geoff leads to a lot more money being raised.”

To learn more about the ‘Pedal for Petrov’ campaign, head to

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