Writer: J P Fear
Date:Monday May 15 2006
Mr Dugdale, I'm shocked and stunned at your article: Click Here
Following the headlines: We Have Had Enough , Villa Fans Urging Ellis To Resign , Ellis Under Pressure
Doug Ellis is the major shareholder of Aston Villa plc and even if he quit as chairman this afternoon it's not going to alter the fact that he's still the major shareholder.
Of course it would make a difference. NO, he doesn't have to sell. What he does with HIS shareholding is his business and his alone. BUT the remaining board members could remove him from his 'I do everything' board status or he could step aside and appoint modern day business people. He did hire one in the name of Bruce Langham, but he started to get things done and upset the apple cart and that will never do.
Do I really need to point at Tottenham Hotspur? Alan Sugar is still the major shareholder but stepped aside after the hassle he got from their fans. Now they are going places, have just announced a major £34million shirt sponsorship deal and have Puma manufacturing their kits for next season. Us? We've got a company no one has heard of with a glorified affiliate deal and a couple of million over how many years? We've also got a tin pot shirt manufacturer called Hummell.
Sure, he's acting as CEO and CFO as well as Chairman but the man has hired Rothschild to find a new buyer and other than donate his shares to charity or me, there's not a lot more the man can do.
He could have kept to his word of never allowing a majority shareholder or single person to run the club again? He could have run us correctly and not brought the club to it's knees? He could have - in the 37 years he boasts he's been involved - at least had some sort of business plan. He could have arrived at where we should be (or kept us where we were) instead of telling us we are yet again in transition and that we need to 'bear with him'. How much longer does he need?
His latest statement, released today, gives a bit more hope, but does fly in the face of what others have been saying with reference to the unrealistic value he has set (that isn't me saying the valuation is too high, I've not seen the books so couldn't comment!). BUT as Graham Taylor said last week, Doug only has himself to blame for not getting a proper hand over plan sorted many years ago.
He's signalled his desire to sell up after years of pressure and now even after he's done that we're still asking him to do something which is almost impossible.
But also that he doesn't want this that or the other. That he does want guarantees that money will go into the team and potential investors would also have to find money for Bodymoor. That is the squad that Doug has allowed to be stretched to breaking point and the training ground that Ellis helped build then allowed to rot. Even a few seasons ago he was telling anyone who would listen that it was state of the art whilst the managers were moaning that it was the state of the ARC.
Everyone agrees that a change is needed but to continue harassing the man after he's said he wants to sell and three seasons after giving the manager more than £20mn. is not right. It is because of David O'Leary we found ourselves battling relegation this season not Ellis.
Harassing an old man? Sorry, you put yourself in the position of being a Chairman of a PLC, sorry that should read a very very poor chairman of a plc, and you have to take the flak. That is no different for any businessman. Why didn't he move over and allow Bruce to really do the business a few years ago? I for one was starting to take a backward step in the idea of protests, I'd even started to think the fans in some form would be able to work with the club and I know Bruce was very keen on that as well.
I get slated in some areas for what I've done press wise. So shall I turn around and say it is no good harassing me because I'm in poor health? Doesn't wash does it? If I'm not fit enough to do what I've done, I'd have no one but myself to blame for sticking my head above the parapet. Ditto Ellis, only he has over £8.5million in rewards, is sitting on around £20million (his valuation) in shares and enjoys a healthy salary.
He explained himself the other day why he was still involved. 'It is me, it is my baby.' He can't let go. He has run the club for selfish reasons. I'm sure he would have liked success - albeit he was too short sighted to bring Brian Clough to Villa as he said there 'is only one Mr Aston Villa' failing to see the reflected glory he would get from the success that could have followed.
My opinion on Ellis has rarely been personal, I'm surprised therefore at the 'harassing' label. Sure, I fired off question after question at the AGM, but the first thing I did was say I admired the way he was fighting his illness and wished him a speedy recovery. BUT he was there, he was the chairman, in my opinion he shouldn't have been BUT if he insisted on chairing it, then he was going to get the questions. Or should we all have said, sorry Doug, you are too ill, so we won't ask you anything, see you next year?
Can't be done.
Ellis might be to blame for other things but not the poor football we see on a Saturday afternoon. The chairman wants to sell so lets just leave him to sell.
Right, O'Leary isn't my favourite manager, you know that Mr D. Didn't want him brought to the club, didn't like him before he was brought here and dislike him even more after the comments he has made this season BUT do you seriously think the board aren't even slightly to blame for a squad the size of ours? We simply can't compete with the clubs we used to compete with. Sure, we should not have been in the bottom six most of the season, but then again, with a board capable of decent management, we would have had a settled and capable manager long before O'Leary ever came AND we sure as hell would have had one who would have removed this current one from power. But they don't have the money for the compensation.
13 managers, 22 years, countless players citing a lack of ambition. 2 League Cups. All everyone else's fault? I don't think so.
I could put my apartment up for sale for £300 000 tomorrow and be desperate to sell it. I never would though. I'd know full well why and so, I think, does Doug. The hardest thing to do in life is to admit when things have gone too far and you admit you've got to let go. BUT we all have to do it.
It's time O'Leary left and it's time that pressure was put on Doug Ellis to get rid of him before it's too late.
And Doug does such a good job of bringing in the right managers? And the few times he has he has done such a great job of keeping hold of them? David O'Leary is a problem, but he rates as the least of them in my eyes.
I've said before, if O'Leary leaves (and I do hope he will - but fear very much he won't) I'd do a merry Irish jig for 24 hours. If and when Ellis goes I'll rave for frigging weeks my friend!!!
Date:Monday May 15 2006
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