Supporters and shareholders of Aston Villa have joined together to fight what they see as the “endless cycle of under-achievement” their club has suffered for the past 20 years.

Press Release - 11th November 2003.November Protests


Villa Fans Combined is dismayed at the events on the field this season. David O'Leary has proved that it doesn't matter which manager is in place, they cannot work under the confines imposed by the current board. VFC feels now is the time to end the watching brief we imposed for the start of the season and start to organise protests beginning with a march on November 29th before the Southampton game. We re-affirm our 100% backing for both the manager and the players. Our message is right manager, wrong board.

Mr Ellis has already admitted he is in total charge and completely autocratic, after belittling Mr Ansell. So VFC have some definitions for Mr Ellis:
  • Accountable: Liable to being called to account; answerable.
  • Liable: Being a source or cause.
  • Reliable: Able to be trusted or depended upon.
  • Dictator: A person who behaves in a way which is unrestricted.
Mr Ellis has the ultimate power at Aston Villa, so the buck stops with him. He is accountable, he is liable and he has not proved to be reliable. The 29,898 attendance against Middlesborough proved that fans are leaving in their droves. We are on course to follow the examples set by Sheffield Wednesday, Nottingham Forest and more recently West Ham.

The decision has to be made whether Mr Ellis will signal his intent to leave, if not the fans will have to increase the pressure, something that none of us want. Mr Ellis has had 21 years to get things right and has failed to take the many chances to push on and become a consistently successful team in the top echelons of the Premiership. Now the fans want their club back and are calling time on Mr Ellis's prosperous (for himself) reign at AVFC.

Mr Ellis should, for the love of the club, expect no more than the market value for his shares. He has 3,848,414 shares currently worth £6,118,978 million at today's price of 159 pence (11/11/03). We estimate he has already had in the region of £8 million OUT of the club for an initial investment of around £465,000 which went to Mr Bendall NOT Aston Villa. (See appendix below). Mr Ellis has enjoyed a considerable return that has far outstripped what he could have expected to achieve via traditional investment vehicles.

VFC spokesman Jonathan Fear said:

"All Mr Ellis has to do is signal his intent to sell his majority stake in the club at a reasonable price, we can ask no more than that. He clearly stated at the AGM that he isn't prepared to entertain change in the form of supporter representation or in widening the executive and non executive directors to bring in much needed expertise, so it is time for him to hand the torch over to a more dynamic and professional set up".

"If Mr Ellis comes out with an unequivocal statement encouraging investment into Aston Villa, then the rest will be left up to the potential investors and we would have no reason to carry on with the protests that are being organised. It is time for regime change"

VFC now encourage the fans to unify, make their feelings known to the board and to join VFC in calling for their resignation. This club will not prosper again until a young and dynamic board is in place. We aren't just stagnating at present; we are regressing. VFC will be handing out over 20 000 leaflets and marching to the club before the Southampton game explaining our position. We will congregate outside Aston Church, Trinity Road, at 2pm on the 29th. More details to follow.



ENDS


Contacts:
Jonathan Fear
Navid Nazir
info@villafc.com



Appendix

Mr Ellis:- £8million out. Nothing In.

From 1968 until August 1972 Doug Ellis was chairman of Aston Villa. He was part of a consortium set up by Pat Matthews and including Harry Kartz, Harry Parkes and Bob Mackay. Each of these people invested £25,000 for 5,000 shares and each took an equal part in the revival over the following few years. He joined this consortium from Birmingham City's board. He also provided an interest free loan to the club in the region of £100 000.

He returned to the chairman's position in September 1972 and stayed until being ousted (again) in 1979.

In 1982 he became Chairman for a third time, having paid approximately £465,000 to the Bendall family for a controlling interest.

In 1996 Doug Ellis owned 47% of Aston Villa. In May 1997 Aston Villa floated at a valuation of £126m. Ellis sold a number of his shares at flotation, raising around 4 million pounds for himself and reducing his shareholding to around 33% of the total shares in the club.

His remuneration as reported in the shareholders reports has been:

YearPayBonus/Dividends
1985£10,000£0
1988£30,000£0
1989£40,000£0
1990£60,000£0
1991£75,000£0
1992£100,000£0
1993£110,000£0
1994£120,000£0
1995£120,000£0
1996£209,000£0
1997£127,644£0
1998£204,421£338,660
1999£217,547£338,660
2000£227,028£338,660
2001£232,468£338,660
2002£241,849£338,660
2003£228,635£0
Total£2,353,592£1.693,300
GrandTotal£4,046,892


Additional monies received:

Share sale at flotation approx £4,000,000 plus Doug's own building company, Ellmanton, built the Bodymoor Heath training ground and was paid for this and other work as detailed in the 1972 annual report:

'In accordance with section 16(c)(i) of the companies act 1967, the board discloses contracts between the company and Ellmanton Construction Company Ltd for the construction of buildings and other work at the Bodymoor Heath training ground and Villa Park. Mr H.D. Ellis is a director and shareholder of Ellmanton Construction Company Ltd.'

Capital expenditure (for the above work) is said to have been paid to Ellmanton for work carried out as follows:
1971 - £65,000
1972 - £56,000

In 1997 and 1998 Doug Ellis sat on the Directors Remuneration Committee, an act which goes against accepted stock market best practice, due to obvious potential conflict of interest.

Doug Ellis was reported to be the very first football club director to pay himself a salary when it was made legal by the FA in the early eighties.

Running total so far £8,167,892

Ellis is/was also:-
  • chairman of Aston Manor Brewery;
  • A member of the FA's international committee;
  • served on various other FA committees;
  • was heavily involved in the Birmingham national Stadium bid; and
  • was on the board of Good Hope hospital.;
All these things whilst claiming to be giving his full effort and attention and to Aston Villa and receiving a salary.



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Reaction from first meeting:
Paul's response: Remember the day - the 24th of May.
Previous Press Releases:
27th October 2003: The Decline Deepens
9th September 2003: When VFC met Doug
9th August 2003: Open Season
1st August 2003: Annual Results - Hang Your Heads In Shame!!!
27th July 2003: Sell, Sell, Bye Bye - Is there a takeover in the wings?
11th July 2003: Football Fans Census - Villa Fans Survey
26th June 2003: Second Rally - The Hodgson Report
18th June 2003: Fans Testimonial for Ian Taylor and Alan Wright
6th June 2003: Second meeting announced.
20th May 2003: New Manager, same core problems.
20th May 2003: Rally 24th May - Update.
18th May 2003: Potential investors identifed - Report commissioned.
14th May 2003: GT Resigns. The Board Must Go Now.
12th May 2003: Another wasted season, another opportunity missed.
4th May 2003: VFC Update - The right moment?
10th April 2003: Treffick Shareholding, Uncertainty and the Fear.
4th April 2003: Club for Sale - Time For Change.

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