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Monday, 22 May, 2000, 13:16 GMT 14:16 UK
Villa spending spree pledge
Ellis, left, pledges more money for manager John Gregory
Ellis, left, pledges more money for manager John Gregory
Aston Villa chairman Doug Ellis has pledged to splash out millions of pounds on new players in a bid to win next season's Premiership title.

Ellis has already made 40m available to manager John Gregory in his 27 months at the helm.

More than 30m has come from the sales of high profile players including Dwight Yorke and Savo Milosevic but Ellis believes millions more will have to be paid out for new blood if the West Midlands club are to put in a serious challenge for the title.

Despite Saturday's FA Cup Final loss to Chelsea, Ellis believes the club will grow from strength to strength next season.

I want to win the league. I want to win it next year

Doug Ellis

He said: "The exact figure that I and my colleagues on the board have provided for John to buy the players of his choice is 41.2 million.

"We have never refused him once - and I have no doubt that situation will continue.

"We have increased our squad considerably. They didn't gel towards the end of last season, and we had a bad run at the start of this season. But since Christmas we have got it right."

Ellis was delighted with Villa's achievement in reaching the twin towers despite the disappointment of defeat but he insisted: "This is only the start, only the start. This club can achieve so much more.

Jealous

"I want to win the league. I want to win it next year. I don't want to be jealous of Manchester United. I want to be alongside them.

"This is one of the best Villa squads I have known.

"We've got a good set of players with a lot of youngsters breathing down their necks.
David James is one of Gregory's signings
David James is one of Gregory's signings

"I think you will really see us going well next season. I think the squad is good enough in comparison to any other squad we've seen."

Ellis confirmed Villa will be taking part in the Intertoto Cup this summer from mid-July in a bid to get into the Uefa Cup via the back door, as was the case with West Ham 12 months ago.

He said: "We will now go into the Intertoto Cup, play a team from either Austria, Israel or Czechoslovakia and get through to the Uefa Cup that way."

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