Prince William reveals why football is his “stress release” on That Peter Crouch Podcast

The patron of the FA told the podcast that football has become increasingly important to him.

Prince William, Peter Crouch

That Peter Crouch Podcast scored a palace coup by securing the second-in-line, the Duke of Cambridge, for the final in the series.

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Prince William was keen to chat about the importance of mental health and why he devoted so much energy to campaigning for it, but was equally keen to discuss his love of Aston Villa and his lack of passion for Chelsea and Manchester United.

He told Crouch and co-hosts Tom Fordyce and Chris Stark on That Peter Crouch Podcast that he watched Villa every week, gets into stats and even tried to convince Gareth Southgate to add Villa forward Jack Grealish to the England squad.

It’s a love that stemmed from his childhood. “It was the first FA Cup game I went to,” he said. “It was a Villa v Bolton game and I remember sitting in the stands with a beanie on. I must have been about 12 or 11 and I went with a load of mates. I sat there amongst all the Villa fans and I loved it. I thought the atmosphere and team ethos was great.”

Prince William described the Midlands team as having “a real history, winning European cups and stuff like that. I felt a real connection with the club, more than I felt watching some of the other ones”.

He was less enamoured with Chelsea and was worried his son, Prince George, was in danger of becoming a fan. He’s relaxed a bit, however: “…Now Frank’s [Lampard] come in I feel the culture’s a bit different at Chelsea and I’d be OK with it.”

He took his children to a match last October. “I took George and Charlotte to the Norwich v Villa game at Carrow Road. We tried to slip in there quietly, but the cameras picked us up. Best game of Villa’s season! It ended 5-1.”

Football has become a great release for Prince William since he became a father. He finds it’s pastime that helps him “let off steam” and has become increasingly important to him.

He told Crouch: “We all have mental health, and we all have to stay mentally fit… It’s a strength to talk about your mental health, it’s not a weakness. You know if you’re not feeling well, something’s bothering you, talk about it – it’s not a problem.”

Crouch responded: “I’m in the environment where it’s so male-orientated, and any weakness shown is an excuse not to make it… When I started talking about it and opened up, I did feel so much better, and that was just through talking.”

Prince William was proud of his campaign to get this Saturday’s FA Cup renamed the Heads Up FA Cup Final as “it made a statement that men’s health really matters”.

That Peter Crouch Podcast can be heard on BBC Radio 5 Live & BBC Sounds from 1am on Wednesday, 29th July, 2020.

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