What it was really like being an Aston Villa manager working for Doug Ellis

Ask any former Aston Villa manager what it was like to work with Doug, and they will tell you how infuriating he could be. I know, because they used to tell me, and one of the reasons Brian Little resigned in 1998 was simply because he’d had enough.

I was sorry to see Brian leave because I had joined the club around the time he was starting to make a name for himself as a player.

I also got on well with John Gregory during his playing days and when he was Brian’s assistant, and it’s a matter of record that I was instrumental in him returning to the club as manager. John and I have remained friends and I went out to see him when he was managing in India.

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During his time in charge of Villa, he would often come into my office and tell me that the chairman had asked him to pop in but he wanted a chat with me first – usually about music.

Then Doug would walk in and say: “Here you are, I’ve been looking everywhere for you. I really need to see you.” John would go into his office and ask what was so important, to which Doug would reply:

“Well, I desperately wanted to see you, but I’ve forgotten why.”

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