Aston Villa Football Club is deeply saddened to hear of the death of our former chairman Sir Doug Ellis.
Our president emeritus passed away this morning.
There’s no question that Sir Doug dedicated his life to Aston Villa.
He was born in Cheshire in January 1924 – and we went on to reach the FA Cup final later that year.
But it was from the late 1960s that he began to make a real impact at Villa Park.
Having made his fortune in the travel industry, he became Villa chairman in December 1968. When he took over at the helm for the first time, Villa were on the edge of disaster, with a poor team in the old Second Division, falling attendances, heavy financial losses and a ground badly in need of repair.
His first tasks were to instigate a share issue which raised desperately-needed funds and to bring in the charismatic Tommy Docherty as manager, an appointment which generated tremendous interest in the club.
By the end of the following season, when Villa were relegated to Division Three for the first time in our history, Docherty had been sacked, although Ellis’s next two appointments were considerably more successful.
Between them, Vic Crowe and his successor Ron Saunders guided Villa to two League Cup triumphs and eventually back to the top-flight.
Ellis resigned as chairman in September 1975 and four years later departed as a director.
But he returned in 1982 and remained chairman until 2006, when he sold the club to American entrepreneur Randy Lerner.
By the time he took up his honourary position of president emeritus, a total of 13 managers had served under him. Those managers achieved varying degrees of success.
Villa were relegated under Billy McNeill in 1987 and nearly went down again when Jo Venglos was in charge for just one season in 1990/91.
But there were big triumphs too – most notably promotion to the top-flight in 1988 and then a runners-up spot in the First Division two years later under Taylor.
There was also a runners-up spot in the inaugural Premier League with Ron Atkinson, who also guided the club to the League Cup in 1994.
There was another League Cup triumph under Brian Little in 1996 and a run to the FA Cup final with John Gregory in 2000.
His final act was to appoint Martin O’Neill in August 2006 shortly before standing aside to make way for Lerner.
His main sporting interest outside football was salmon fishing , a sport which earned him his popular nickname, from former England striker Jimmy Greaves, of ‘Deadly’.
A former member of the FA’s international, finance and Charity Shield committee, as well as FIFA’s media and television committee, Ellis was also founder chairman of the technical control board at the FA and Football League.
He was awarded the OBE in the 2005 New Year’s Honours List and a Knighthood in the 2012 New Year’s Honours List.
A minute’s silence will take place at Villa Park next Saturday before our match with Swansea City to allow the Villa supporters to pay their respects to Sir Doug. The players will also wear black armbands.
Our condolences go out to family and friends at this very sad time.