Doug Ellis

Doug Ellis
Doug Ellis
Born Herbert Doug Ellis
3 January 1924 (1924-01-03) (age 87)
Hooton, Cheshire, England
Nationality British
Other names Deadly Doug
Occupation President Emeritus (Life President) of Aston Villa
Title Chairman of Aston Villa (1968-1975 & 1982-2006)
Predecessor Sir William Dugdale (1982)
Successor Sir William Dugdale (1975)
Randy Lerner
Spouse Heidi Marie
Children 3

Herbert Douglas Ellis, OBE (born 3 January 1924),[1] is an entrepreneur, best known as the former chairman of Aston Villa Football Club.


Early life

Ellis[2] began life in a poor family with a widowed mother. Ellis had brief glimpses of a football career at Tranmere Rovers, he spent two years as a schoolboy with the club. Before he was 40, he had become a millionaire by pioneering package holidays to Spain.

Aston Villa

Ellis was a controversial chairman and major shareholder of Aston Villa for two separate spells; the first being from 1968 to 1975. Ellis was replaced as chairman and finally ousted from the board in 1979. During his absence Aston Villa enjoyed its greatest period of success in modern times, winning the Football League title in 1981 and the European Cup in 1982.

Ellis returned as chairman in 1982 and remained there until selling to Randy Lerner in 2006. Most fans blame him for the decline of the club after the European Cup victory in 1981/2.[3] Within five years the club was relegated from the top flight, with many of the European Cup-winning team being sold to other teams, although it can be argued that this was due to large debts built up during the previous regime. In 1996 Doug Ellis owned 47 percent of Aston Villa. In May 1997 the club floated on the stock market with a valuation of £126m. Ellis sold a number of his shares at flotation, reducing his shareholding to around one-third of the total shares. It is reported that Ellis made £4m from this deal, although the flotation also raised funds to pay for the construction of the new Trinity Road Stand and for the £7m transfer of Stan Collymore from Liverpool, among others. Since the flotation, the club's share price had fallen by almost 90%.

Some Villa fans were disappointed with the destruction of the 1920s Trinity Road stand ("the St Pancras of football", as a Sunday Times reporter called it in 1960), which many believe should have been a listed building. The replacement, although state of the art, never had the grandeur of the original.

Ellis was reported to be the first football club director to pay himself a salary (in 2005 it was £290,000 after a 12% increase from the previous year) when it was made legal by The Football Association in the early 1980s. Along with this, his professed love of Aston Villa Football Club has been questioned in light of the fact that he has served on the Boards of Villa's arch-rivals Birmingham City, Derby County and Wolverhampton Wanderers (as Chairman). In addition to his 'director's salary, being the majority shareholder through his time at the helm of Aston Villa, there were three instances when the dividend paid out was less than £1,000,000; in all other years figures as high as £12,000,000 were paid out, some of the largest dividends ever paid out by any British Football Club.

In 2004, at the age of 80 and suffering from prostate cancer, Ellis agreed to relinquish some of his control of the club by appointing Bruce Langham as chief executive. Langham resigned in May 2005, reportedly after a disagreement with Ellis.

In 2005 he was awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours List.[4] Later that year he underwent a heart bypass operation and, after a three-month absence, returned to his role at Villa Park soon after the start of the 2005/2006 season.

On 14 August 2006, it was announced that Ellis had agreed to sell the club to American billionaire, Randy Lerner in a deal worth £63 million. Ellis stood aside when the takeover was completed on 19 September 2006, becoming a President Emeritus (Life President) of the club. Doug received an honorary degree from Aston University in July 2007 (the campus of which is located 2 miles south of Villa Park in the centre of Birmingham)


Supporters and former club managers criticised Ellis's alleged lack of ambition,[5][6] noting that the club often struggled to bring in top players. Ellis responded that his approach had always been one of financial prudence, helping to avoid the fate of big-borrowing clubs. Under John Gregory the club had been one of the biggest spenders in the Premier League, but Gregory always wanted 2-3 more players.

There were several supporter-led campaigns for Ellis to stand down from his position, and in his final years at the club a number of interested parties made unsuccessful attempts to buy his stake in the club.

Family life

He has three sons and has been married to Heidi Marie since 1963[citation needed]. He is reportedly worth around £10,000,000, much of it arising from selling off his Aston Villa shares[citation needed].


  1. ^ "Doug's Deadly Number Plate - Doug Ellis". Registration Transfers. Retrieved 2008-04-20. 
  2. ^ Deadly Doug's detractors are just keeping up appearances - The Guardian, Nicky Campbell, 27 July 2006
  3. ^ Who is the Villain of the piece? - BBC Sport News, 18 July 2006
  4. ^ "Ellis awarded New Year accolade". BBC News. 2004-12-31. Retrieved 2007-08-31. 
  5. ^ Villa squad attack Ellis for lack of ambition - The Independent, 15 July 2006
  6. ^ O'Leary departure no surprise - The Express and Star, 20 July 2006

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Doug Ellis — Herbert Douglas „Doug“ Ellis (* 3. Januar 1924 in Hooton, Cheshire) ist ein britischer Geschäftsmann und vor allem als ehemaliger Vorsitzender des englischen Fußballvereins Aston Villa bekannt. Der Millionär, der in den späten 1950er Jahren als… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ellis — is a first name and surname, and may refer to many people:* see Ellis (singer songwriter) for the musician who performs under this single name. * see Ellis Paul for the musician. A* Abe Ellis (Stargate), a fictional character in the TV series… …   Wikipedia

  • Doug Dickey — Sport(s) Football Biographical details Born June 24, 1932 (1932 06 24) (age 79) Place of birth Vermillion, South Dakota …   Wikipedia

  • Doug Sanders — Personal information Full name George Douglas Sanders Nickname Peacock of the Fairways Born July 24, 1933 …   Wikipedia

  • Doug Christie (basketball) — Doug Christie Shooting guard Personal information Date of birth May 9, 1970 (1970 05 09) (age 41) Place of birth Seattle, Washington Nationality American High school …   Wikipedia

  • Doug Corbett — Pitcher Born: November 4, 1952 (1952 11 04) (age 59) Sarasota, Florida Batted: Right Threw: Right  …   Wikipedia

  • Doug Weaver — Sport(s) Football Biographical details Born 1930 Playing career 1950–1952 Michigan State Position(s) Center …   Wikipedia

  • Doug Flutie — Doug in Hollis, New Hampshire taking a break from his Flutie Brothers Band where he is the drummer. No. 2, 7, 20, 22      Quarterback …   Wikipedia

  • Doug and the Slugs — Origin Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada Genres Alternative, pop Years active 1977 – 2004, 2009 – present Website …   Wikipedia

  • Doug Atkins — No. 81      Defensive End Personal information Date of birth: May 8, 1930 (1930 05 08) (age 81) Place of birth: Humboldt, Tennessee …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.