Sir Doug Ellis obituary

Former Aston Villa chairman known for his turbulent relations with the club’s managers

Sir Doug Ellis, who has died aged 94, made millions by selling package holidays and a national reputation with two spells as chairman of Aston Villa football club, where he was a defiantly controversial figure who acquired the nickname “Deadly Doug”. His first period at the Midlands club lasted from 1968 until 1975 – four years later, he also resigned from the board. Once he left, Villa enjoyed one of its greatest periods of success, winning the First Division championship in 1981 and the European Cup in 1982.

Whether by coincidence or not, when Ellis returned as chairman shortly afterwards, the club swiftly fell back from its great heights, to the point where the team was relegated to the Second Division in 1986-87. After a stock market flotation that made Ellis millions of pounds, he eventually sold up in 2006 to Randy Lerner, an American billionaire, but remained at the club as a life president.

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