Ellis makes way for Lerner at Villa

19-09-2006

Doug Ellis has resigned as chairman of Aston Villa after Randy Lerner secured almost 90 per cent of the Midlands club's shares.

Ellis has been in charge of the Villans for 35 years and his tenure has proved deeply unpopular with the club's fans, who blame him for a lack of recent success and a failure to bring in big-money signings.

But the club's supporters can now get used to a new era at Villa Park after Lerner was named as Villa's new chairman with immediate effect.

A statement to the stock exchange also confirmed that Stephen Kind, Anthony Hales, David Owen and Peter Ellis had resigned from the board of directors.

"Aston Villa is pleased to announce the appointment of Randolph Lerner as chairman and General Charles C Krulak, Bob Kain and Michael Martin as new non-executive directors. The appointments are effective from today," the statement read.

Earlier, it was also confirmed that American business tycoon Lerner, who also owns the American Football side Cleveland Browns, was within a handful of shares of taking his stake to 90 per cent, which would see a compulsorily purchase order enacted for the rest of the shares.

Lerner would then be able to take Villa off the stock exchange and make the club a private company.

Villa have said that Steve Stride will remain as an executive director on the board, while Ellis, 82, will be made an honorary life president.

Lerner has claimed that, once he formally takes over ownership of the club, he will raise £100 million in sponsorship which new manager Martin O'Neill will be able to spend on new players.

Villa are currently fifth in the Premiership after one of their best starts in the league in recent years.


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