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Byline: Brett Gibbons STAFF REPORTER

A LIFELONG Villa fan is hoping a football-themed novel he has written about the club's early days will be turned into a stage show.

Doug O'Brien penned festive fantasy Armageddon In Dreamland - The Secret Side Of Santa in 2005.

It fictionally explored how Football League founder William McGregor, disguised as Father Christmas, took on the evil Blue Witch in the Magic Cup Final showdown in Dreamland.

Now, following the 125th anniversary of Villa legend McGregor forming the League in 1888, Mr O'Brien is keen to see his work on the stage, along with various football-related songs he has written. He said: "My ultimate aim for the novel is for it to be performed in the theatre, initially in Birmingham as both the city's football teams are its chief protagonists.

"I believe it will make a wonderful future Christmas production for all to enjoy, not just football followers." Mr O'Brien, from Erd-ington, publicised the novel when it was launched by wearing a claret and blue Santa suit.

"Although fictitious, it contains real-life Aston Villa officials and supporters along with many other well-known and muchloved characters from other great teams," he said.

The storyline also contains references to famous footie figures like Ron Atkinson, Brian Clough and Billy Wright.

He said: "The plot contains 14 songs, including well-known tracks already played on various local radio stations, like Father Christmas Is A Villa Fan."

Mr O'Brien, who has watched every home game since 1968, said his songs summed up how it felt to be a fan.

The 52-year-old Villa fanatic teamed up with Polesworth-based X Factor finalist Nikki Evans three years ago for the high-pro-file launch of club anthem Championees.

It gained a Royal seal of approval from Villa fan Prince William and the reggae tune is also featured in the story. And his 2000 Aston Villa FA Cup Final song, Come On You Villa Boys, is another significant feature of the planned musical.


Show hopes: Villa fan Doug O'Brien with his book Armageddon in Dreamland.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Mar 14, 2013
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