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  1. ITV Report

Former Aston Villa owner Sir Doug Ellis has died

The former owner of Aston Villa, Sir Doug Ellis, has died.

A close friend confirmed to ITV News Central that Sir Doug passed away in the night, aged 94.

He was chairman of the club twice, from 1968 to1975 and between 1982 and 2006. In a statement, Aston Villa said they were 'deeply saddened' by the loss.

Their tribute said: "There’s no question that Sir Doug dedicated his life to Aston Villa.

"He was born in Cheshire in January 1924 – and we went on to reach the FA Cup final later that year. But it was from the late 1960s that he began to make a real impact at Villa Park."

Sir Doug was born into a poor Cheshire family in January 1924, but he'd become a millionaire by the time he was 40.

Aston Villa added: "Having made his fortune in the travel industry, he became Villa chairman in December 1968. When he took over at the helm for the first time, Villa were on the edge of disaster, with a poor team in the old Second Division, falling attendances, heavy financial losses and a ground badly in need of repair.

"His first tasks were to instigate a share issue which raised desperately-needed funds and to bring in the charismatic Tommy Docherty as manager, an appointment which generated tremendous interest in the club."

There’s no question that Sir Doug dedicated his life to Aston Villa.

– Aston Villa

Ellis resigned in 1975 and departed as the club's director four years later, but he wasn't gone for long. In 1982 he returned, staying with the club until 2006 when he sold it to Randy Lerner.

"By the time he took up his honorary position of president emeritus, a total of 13 managers had served under him," Aston Villa said in their tribute.

"Those managers achieved varying degrees of success. But there were big triumphs too – most notably promotion to the top-flight in 1988 and then a runners-up spot in the First Division two years later under Taylor."

The former owner of Aston Villa, Sir Doug Ellis, has died. Credit: PA

Ellis was a keen salmon fisher too, which earned him his nickname 'Deadly' from former England striker Jimmy Greaves.

Sir Doug was also a very charitable man, donating money to many organisations including Oxfam. He was awarded an OBE in the 2005 New Year’s Honours List and a received Knighthood in the 2012 New Year’s Honours List.

A minute's silence will take place at Villa Park a week on Saturday and the players will wear black armbands.