Sir Doug Ellis
Businessman and football executive
Born: January 3, 1924; Died: October 11, 2018
SIR Doug Ellis, who has died aged 94, was a businessman and football executive who became one of the most prominent figures in the Premier League as the chairman of Aston Villa. He had two spells in charge at Villa Park and appointed some of its most famous managers, including Scot Tommy Docherty, Graham Taylor and Ron Atkinson.
Sir Doug’s first spell at the club was from 1968 to 1975 and he served again between 1982 and 2006, rejoining shortly after Villa’s European Cup win.
Villa won the League Cup three times during his reign – in 1975, 1994 and 1996 – and were runners-up in the inaugural season of the Premier League in 1992-93.
Born and brought up in Hooton in Cheshire, Doug lost his father when he was just three years old and worked local jobs from a young age to help his mother.
During the Second World War, he was stationed in Sri Lanka which is where he began to form the idea for a new travel agency selling affordable package holidays –the business, based in Birmingham, made him a millionaire.
When he joined Aston Villa in the late 1960s, the club was struggling in the Second Division and had financial difficulties too and Sir Doug’s tenure did not initially find success – the club was relegated to the Third Division in 1969.
It quickly gained promotion though and in 1975 returned to the First Division and won the League Cup.
Known for his canny approach to money, some fans thought that he should have spent more on new players, but Sir Doug allowed Stan Collymore to sign for his boyhood club, paying Liverpool £7million for his services in 1997.
Like Collymore, Ian Taylor was a young Villa fan who went on to play for the club – in his case close to 300 times – under Doug Ellis.
Paul Mcgrath, one of Villa’s greatest ever players, was the bedrock of several teams built while Ellis was at the helm.
After a stock market flotation that made Sir Doug millions, he sold up in 2006 to the American billionaire Randy Lerner, but remained at the club as life-time president.
The club confirmed that a minute’s silence will be held at Villa Park when the club resume Championship action against Swansea on October 20, for what will be Dean Smith’s first game as manager.
The players will also wear black armbands.
He was appointed OBE in 2005 and was knighted in 2012 for charitable services, He is survived by second wife Heidi and his three sons.