LONDON: Aston Villa’s players on Friday launched a remarkable attack on the club’s chairman Doug Ellis.
The English Premier League team’s players issued a joint statement which claimed Ellis’ lack of ambition was stopping the club from progressing.
They are angry with cost-cutting measures introduced by Ellis, which they believe are the result of his failure to find a buyer for the club after putting it up for sale in October.
Villa manager David O’Leary has been unable to bring in new players so far this summer because of a lack of transfer funds.
A failure to improve the club’s training facilities and the loss of backroom staff was also said to have infuriated the Villa players, whose stars include Colombia’s Juan Pablo Angel, Czech Republic striker Milan Baros and Sweden defender Olof Mellberg.
Ellis has been Villa Park owner since 1982 and also had a spell as chairman from 1968 to 1975.
The players’ statement said: “The chairman should be behind the club and not working against what we’re trying to achieve
“There’ve been a series of cutbacks and we feel we have to mention this because they are now starting to affect us.
“People talk about Aston Villa being a big club and winning the European Cup in 1982.
“We feel it should be a big club but if the chairman has got ambition, he needs to start showing it. It has to come from the top.
“So many other clubs are doing so much to show their ambition apart from us. As players we’re all ambitious and we want to improve on last season.
“At the end of last season, the chairman refused to pay £300 for the pitches to be watered.
“The training ground development, which we were all looking forward to working in, has stopped.
“Now we have lost a masseur because the club refuse to pay for one and are clubbing together to pay for our own.
“We have also heard that the physio, who was on his way to see Martin Laursen, could not claim back for a cup of coffee at the airport.
“We’ve had no explanation for the cutbacks and we feel if the manager can’t get one then we have no chance.
“Maybe the chairman thought he would have left by now because of the takeover. Supporters are concerned with what happens on the pitch and rightly so.”
There was no immediate reaction from the club on Friday. – AFP