By Graham Hill
ANDRE Green is dedicating Aston Villa’s Play-off bid to his grandfather – and a vintage Picasso!
Winger Green, 20, has been given a new lease of life since being recalled from a loan spell at League One Portsmouth when boss Dean Smith took over at Villa Park.
Now the boyhood Villa fan wants to help them back into the Premier League.
But he says none of this would have been possible without the help of grandad David Gumbley, 73, who has been a father figure to Green growing up – and supported him since he started playing at the age of four.
And he admits he would never have made the grade without mum Amanda ferrying him to games in a 20 year old Citroen Picasso.
Green has bought both of them new cars after breaking into the Villa first team – even though his mum still insists on keeping the Picasso.
Villa head to Leeds today looking for an 11th straight League win after securing their top six spot with two games to spare.
England youth international Green came through the ranks with Jack Grealish and says promotion would be extra special for them.
But he says it is his family he owes most to.
Green said: “I treat my family, I bought my grandad a car and I did the same with my mum the Christmas just gone.
“It’s something I want to give back for everything they’ve done for me.
“We’ve had a less than fortunate upbringing, but it’s always been for me, they didn’t care about themselves.
“My mum used to drive me to training in a 20-year-old Picasso – and it broke down last week. And she’s upset that she’s got to scrap that. She said she wants it buried in the garden!
“It sits on the side of the drive now that she’s got a new car, she uses it as a van.
“It’s something I’ve been brought up with, to be respectful and kind. Give back what people have done for you.
“My mum used to sacrifice everything for me.
“And my grandad is the rock of the family.
“He’s never missed a home game. Even from when I was four, when I first started playing football. I remember him coming to every game.
“He’s a massive part of where I am now, before the game I always look up to him and that gives me comfort that my family are there.
“I go straight to him after and give him a big hug. He keeps me going.”
Greem says it is now his turn to be a role model and looks up to Raheem Sterling for his work combatting racism in football.
He added: “Because things are going well, and for the last two years when I’ve been in the first team, I think the family are starting to come together through me through football.
“Now it makes me proud to be the role model, especially to my little cousin, they look up to me and I want to give them the best possible happiness that we missed out on as children.”
But his loan move to Fratton Park caused concerns at home.
Green added: “It was a big shock to them when I went to Portsmouth. My mum got upset, she cried. It was a big change for everyone.
“But for the path that me and Jack have both been on – to be back in the Premier League and knowing how much it means to us, would be a proud moment for us both.”