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R.I.P Aston Villa PLC

I among many Villa fans were very worried about the past summer and the following Premiership campaign as soon as the whistle was blown after 90 minutes with Sunderland last May. All of sudden questions were ringing around my head, who can we attract? Who will we attract? And I am not just talking about players I am talking about investors and managers aswell. Ellis and O`Leary had taken us to the brink, and almost the point of no return - the very fabric of Aston Villa had nearly been destroyed by complete miss-management at the club from top to bottom.

The one question that Ellis needed to answer honestly was;

'`Do Aston Villa call themselves a forward thinking and forward planning club?``

As fans we all knew that the answer to this question was NO. As chairman he had been lying to himself for five years to long. They say love is blind and I do not doubt Ellis loves Aston Villa Football Club but at times I had to question whether it was the club he loved or the PLC. The PLC was his unforgiving mistress and the club was his first love and his judgement had been clouded completely by honouring shareholder responsibilities, matters on the pitch came second without hesitation - I have absolutely no doubt. I had considered Ellis as the Cancer that has blighted our great club, but upon reflection that is a harsh analogy, the PLC was the Cancer and it always was. Public Limited Company`s have no place in football, you only have to look to the Moore family and recognise what they have achieved with Liverpool to appreciate that.

Ill health had a lot to bear on his final decision to step down as chairman and finally hand over the reigns to 'serious football people`, but how grateful are Aston Villa fans now? I make no bones about it we are EXTATIC! Not only do we have the 242nd richest man in America as chairman but his financial commitment in the club must be closer to 115m opposed to the 65m he initially paid. This financial commitment represented by underwriting a 12m debt, 8m Stiliyan Petrov, and what must have been close to another 30m delisting the company, and ridding us of the evil that comes with a PLC and shareholders.

The very thought evokes images of old grey looking men, in old grey looking suits, with old grey looking BMW`s with black hearts in my mind - and something that has no place in football. This decision alone must have made Ellis realise he is dealing with a 'football person`.

One thing maybe Ellis should consider with his very own words, is he a football person? Because I am still not sure about his financial commitment to the club when you consider he has taken away 29,434,630 from an initial 25,000 investment back in 1968. Personally I don`t think Ellis was clever enough to realise which way the game was going financially in 1968, and if he tells you otherwise it just confirms what we all know and have came to realise over the years - he is an ego-maniac. As for a 'football person`, I don`t think so; more like a power hungry business man who soon realised probably by the early 90`s (as we all did) after the formation of the Premiership he could make serious money out of Aston Villa PLC. A person who claims he rescued the club from self destruction, and although there is some truth in this statement, there is more truth in the statement he nearly took us back there and personally his finger was hovering over the button for way to long.

If he wanted to leave a legacy he should have left 10m on the board room table for Martin O`Neill, and maybe if he had of paid for Stiliyan Petrov for example fans in the thousands would not be calling for his name to be removed from the Witton Lane Stand. Instead Doug Ellis does what Doug Ellis does best and interfere with the transfer of Stiliyan Petrov claiming if Lerner walks away from the takeover (even though by this point its pretty much a done deal) he will be left with an overdraft increased by a further 8m, and the possibility of Aston villa PLC becoming illiquid. As we are led to believe our bankers were satisfied with Lerner`s commitment at this point and had no hesitation increasing our overdraft in the midst of his takeover, as he had already underwritten the overdraft as a pre-requisite of the takeover. This entire saga reeked of that three letter abbreviation again - PLC, and Ellis being a slave to his Mistress once more.

The masterstroke was installing Martin O`Neill as Manager, a man who has twice lifted the European Cup as a player, and captained his country. A man who was stewarded by arguably the greatest English manager who has ever lived in Brian Clough, and a man who plied his management trade in the lower leagues and earning the admiration and abundance of respect piled on him by fellow Premiership/SPL managers alike, along with any real 'football person`. A true gentleman and a very experienced, intelligent, and well educated one at that. As for achievements and trophies, his managerial career is not without them either, and neither is Aston Villa Football Club.

Together he will achieve great things with his new club, and I strongly believe that, it has nothing to do with expectation personally, for me it has more to do with belief. For the first time in a long time the fans believe again, and they are slowly trickling back through the turnstiles at Villa Park. Also, more importantly the players believe again and we are seeing it week in week out on the pitch and that is what it is all about, that`s where success happens for a football club, its not successful ego`s around the boardroom table or share price on the London Stock Exchange - ITS WHAT HAPPENS ON THE PITCH THAT MATTERS !

As for Mr. Lerner, The PLC has gone, the king is dead, long live the king!

By Michael Bakewell




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The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday September 28 2006

Time: 2:31PM

Your Comments

Good Article Bakes!
leelindsay
Season ticket holders will be able to attend the Carling Cup clash against Leicester for half price, thanks to some wheeling and dealing by the club. Villa have reached an agreement with the Foxes to offer half price tickets to all season ticket holders for next months clash at the Crisp Stadium. That means as a reward for loyalty season ticket holders can see Martin O'Neill's first return to Leicester for only 10. Tickets are on sale from October 2nd - Monday.
leelindsay
at the end of last season I too thought who would want to join Aston Villa
Christo
james milner? haha
industrial_musical
Who would wish to invest in Aston Villa? This was certainly never a question in my mind, also it clearly was never a question in the minds of the 4 differnt consortia who showed interest in buying the club. How many other football clubs have ever attracted that kind of attention from potential investors? Not many! The resons for this is because Villa is clearly a potential gold mine! This may sound strange but Aston Villa will recieve all of their gate money which they gain over this season, not all premiership clubs will! The level of debt at Aston Villa is managable, unlike that at many other premier league clubs, the club own their own ground and many other facilities, which again isn't the same for many other football clubs! The reason for this is Doug Ellis. Whether or not he has made a huge amount of money from the club (which he actually has not, considering the return he could have gained by investing it other ways), you must remember it was him who got the club into the position in which it is in today. Without that financial stability, noone would be interested in buying the club. Although i am relieved that the club is now heading in a differnt direction on the football pitch, financially Doug did not make a mistake with the club, and that has left the club in the position it is now. I am unsure why fans hate him so much, as he has ran the club brilliantly with the resources he has had available, i can understand fustrations with lack of success upon the football pitch, which yes was probably down the the appointment of bad managers, but he has always given them sufficient financial backing (as they have spent more on players in the last 10 years than arsenal, and got very little back in return). I think we should look forward to the potential success which villa can be in the future, but you must remember where this club would be without Doug's financial backing!
AVFC
AVFC... We'd be further along than we are now, without Ellis. Doug Elli should never have come back in '82. He's held the club back. Stop singing his praises, he did little except expand his own ego. Thank f*** he's gone.
The Usual Suspect
I see what AVFC is saying, Doug Ellis did run the financial side of things brilliantly, how many other teams are in serious debt or losing money hand over fist? Quite a lot. However it was the footballing side that Doug Ellis ruined things, when we needed to build on a great start to a season and needed another couple of signings to strengthen the squad, he didn't. When we were going places, he would say he is happy finishing in the top half. It's those things that people dislike the most. Personally I hate that ego, At MON's unveiling I was thinking, Doug he never joined the club because of you... he joined it because he knows you'll be gone soon!
industrial_musical
The way you lot are talking Ellis ought to be Chancellor of The Exchequer. Anyone who has managed to wipe off more than half of Villa's asset value in 3 years and sell a club losing 1mill / month deserves the chance to take England "down the pan" in the same way.
villacross
Excellent article. Sums it all up perfectly, and says all that needs to be said. We know that the takeover was all but a done deal a few weeks ago, but its a great feeling that it is now officially a closed book. Difficult to believe that a mere three months or so back, as a club we were in the depths of despair, looking forward to a season of further decline, unrest, and protests. How things have changed.
glensider
Ellis did a great job financially did he? That would explain why we couldn't even afford a donkey like Bakke on loan. Doug Ellis did a great job for Doug Ellis. That's it.
Steve W
gabby's in the u21's and i also see Hendrie has gone to stoke
bobbyfett
I would take some time to see the position some other clubs are in before criticising him as badly as you have done. Clearly Villa were not a massive success upon the pitch in recent years, but exactly how many clubs can be, and have been! The premeir league has only ever been won by 4 clubs since it started! You all forger only 1 team can win the league every season! Although i would criticise him for actually employing people like David Oleary, Aston Villa did look like they were going nowhere fast, but it now appears that the could possibly be going somehwere now that the correct people have taken over a club. All the "Ellis Out" banners, wouldn't have made any differance to him what so ever, he can't just walk out and leave somthing he has a 20+ Million stake in! Newcastle is the best example of the sort of club i believe that many of you would like to be, continuously signing supposidly "big name" players at any cost! Newcastle are in serious financial difficulties, and unless someone like abramovich comes in to throw money at them they are not going to be such a great potential investment that Aston Villa was. Lerner appears like he will be able to market Villa upon a global basis and take the club forward from where it was in recent years, but the only reason he and 3 other groups of people were interested in buying the club is because financially it has been run very well! Not being able to afford players is not a sign of bad financial management, he is clearly balancing the books, they have not brought what they can't afford, that has kept them in a stable position unlike the clubs that buy what they can't afford!
AVFC
AVFC you have been on here before and tried vainly to defend the old regime, but you are so far off the truth that I believe you are involved with Ellis in some way. Lets put the record straight. In 1968 the Pat Mathews consortium, of which Ellis was part, saved the Villa. It was the work over the next few years that enabled Villa to become the best team in Europe, despite a parting of the ways in the mid 70's. That should of been it. Ellis should never have returned again. In 1982 we were European Champions even though we had a debt of 1.6 million. Ellis would have you believe that this would cripple the club. In truth 1.6 million was less money than a good transfer fee in those days. His lack of ability to progress from here determined Villas future and the constant battle to balance the books (instead of win more trophies). A man with vision was what was required in 1982. Not a travel agent, concerned with balancing books and promoting his own egotistical goals. In 1982 we owned both the ground and Bodymoor Heath. We were European Champions with a chance of dominating world football, although there was a minimal debt of 1.6 million. 24 years and a relegation and promotion later, all that has changed is our standing in world football (we are average at best). Plus the fact that our debt was 12 million (and you still say Ellis was good with the money) and the fact that thousands of kids (the future) in the region would rather follow Manure, Redscouse or Chelski. And still you defend him. AVFC do not try and defend the indefensible. Wake up and smell the coffee. Welcome the future and lets put the Ellis years out of our mind.
voiceoftheholte
good and valid points from both sides, i dont defend ellis, and i am glad he's gone. avfc has a point though. i lived in leeds for 5 years, during this time leeds went from european semi finals to relegation, all down to a chairman who spent money they shouldnt have. the reaction of the fans was as such that it did make me think that ellis, despite all his flaws, could have been alot worse.
bobbyfett
bobbyfett, what you have just said is 'we have gone backwards, but it could have been worse'. Why didn't you say 'we were European Champions and could have gone on to rule the football world'? It is all a matter of attitude. If you aim for the stars you may reach the moon. If you aim to be grateful just for surviving, that is what will probably happen. This season I predict that we will win the League, both cups, the Eurovision Song Contest. And Miss World is going to invite me and her better looking sister for a threesome. Plus next season we will win the Champions League. For the first time in years (forever in some younger fans memories) we have hope and ambition. The hairs on the back of my neck stand up just being at Villa Park. Embrace it and shoot for the stars. UTV
voiceoftheholte
For once, and much to my considerable surprise, i agree with voice's comments here 100%. I couldn't have said it better myself. AVFC must suffer from the same delusions as Ellis to think that balancing books (and ultimately quite badly at that) equals football club success. There's a little more to the success of a football club than counting the pennys, not that Ellis would know. Thankfully Ellis is now removed from office. He won't be missed. Onwards and upwards. No more Ellis. Roll on the good times.
The Usual Suspect
Thank you suspect. UTV
voiceoftheholte
Does it pee anyone else off to see Doug is still attending Villa games? I hope he's paying for his tickets like the rest of us now!
DeanoVilla
The times they are a changing. Hey, this must have been what Bobby Dylan wrote and was singing about. Bye Bye Ellis. Good Riddance. Take Stride with you.
glensider
 

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