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 - 20th November 2003.THE END OF THE BEGINNING


Villa Fans Combined note with interest that Mark Ansell has resigned as Deputy Chief Executive and Finance Director of Aston Villa PLC.

A VFC spokesman said 'Brian Little, John Gregory, Graham Taylor and now Mark Ansell have left the club having found it impossible to bring about success under the confines of the present major shareholder and chief executive; Mr Ellis'.

'We also note Mr Ellis plans to give up his role as Chief Executive in the New Year when a new Chief Executive is to be appointed. With protests planned, the timing has not been lost on the fans.'

'We now call on Mr Ellis to sell his shares and to step down from the Board of Aston Villa. He has lost what many saw as his one true ally at the club and now stands in complete isolation. Even with a new Chief Executive in place, his major shareholding would enable him to continue to hold the real power within the club. Mr Ellis' continued presence would undermine the influence of the new Chief Executive thus making his position untenable from the outset. Mr Ellis has seemingly been unable to work with a string of managers and company employees culminating with the departure this week of Mark Ansell.'

'With some caution we do congratulate Mr Ansell for having the dignity to walk away once it was obvious he could bring about no real influence on implementing change. We also welcome the gesture by Mr Ellis to separate the role of Chief Executive and Chairman. We now implore him to go the extra mile and relinquish his power and listen to reasonable approaches for his shareholding, for the good of the club it is time for total change'.

'The planned march on November 29th 2003, (2pm, Aston Church, Trinity Road, Aston) will go ahead unless Mr Ellis takes active steps to sell his shares. It is time to pass the torch on to a more dynamic and capable board of directors; the news of a new Chief Executive is only part of that process. If Mr Ellis is willing to actively seek a buyer and makes that public, we would naturally cancel the protests whilst the process takes place'.

'We simply say to him that he has had 21 years to get things right and with each year we seem to become further and further away from his stated aims of producing teams capable of challenging the elite of Europe; and more worryingly closer and closer to turning the club into a second or third class outfit''.

'Mr Ellis now has no further scapegoats and has to accept the full responsibility for our position, the fans actions will accelerate if the root and branch change demanded isn't forthcoming, we repeat, he has had in excess of £8million out of the club and hasn't put one penny directly in, it is time for him to do the right thing for the club.'



ENDS


Contacts:
Jonathan Fear
Navid Nazir
info@villafc.com



Just out of interest:

Mr Ellis:- £15.8million 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

Of course, on top of this Mr Ellis and family still hold shares accounting for nearly 39% of AV PLC. This puts another £7,680,000 into the virtual HDE bank account

So the real total is nearly £15,850,000

Not bad for an investment of £465,000. This means an average rate of return of 18.3%, an impressive rate whatever business you are in. When that business is yourself it must be even more satisfactory.

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:
11th November 2003: Time for Action
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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