Writer: J P Fear
Date:Saturday July 22 2006
What a bugger, I thought I would squeeze in with this exclusive!
Martin O'Neill will come to Villa, but only if Doug Ellis steps aside for a consortium led by Michael Neville.
This is one of the bids, yes folks, you wait 22 years for a bid then 2 (or even 3) come at the same time, that has been in the pipeline and the positive thing with this group is that they have kept contact with some fan representatives and will be looking to unite the fans and club once again.
The exclusive has however, gone to Oliver Holt at The Mirror, (sod me for being all good and not exploding it onto the web last night!)
Michael Neville, who failed with an approach backed by the Comers last year, has kept on chipping away trying to broker the right backers for the club. Although he has faced criticism from frustrated fans - which is only understandable - he has it seems now got the finances in place and a bid is due in.
Good news? Well, it gets better because Neville has an undertaking from Martin O'Neill that he will be our next manager if the consortium succeeds.
It will be interesting to see, once the bid is lodged, what the reaction of Doug Ellis will be. The bid, and I'm led to believe several possible others, will be at the asking price, so Doug can't turn it down on the grounds that they undervalue the club, so just how can he reject it whilst being under the serious pressure he is? Maybe, and I don't know if this is just wishful thinking, but maybe maybe maybe, that is why he is out of the country, out of the way while the deals are done? Doesn't sound like the Ellis of old, but now we are talking about an old Ellis.
It appears that Ellis would remain, no matter which bid is successful, as a President figure, which I don't think many people would object to greatly, as long as he has no position on the board of Aston Villa! It makes sense to offer him this sweetener, although I hope no group will keep the Witton Lane stand named after Doug, that would be far less sweet!
Lets hope which ever bid is successful, if indeed any of them are, it ends up for the good of Aston Villa, not just the good of Doug Ellis. This club is massive, as the national press have been saying all week, and with the right injection of capital for player purchases, on top of our great youth players, add in a top manager and hey presto, you have a full Villa Park and a ticket office needing to take on extra staff to cope with the increased sales of season tickets.
There might be more to follow this afternoon......... no guarantees, but watch this space.
Date:Saturday July 22 2006
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