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BBC Sport's Nick Clitheroe
explains how the row started
 real 14k

Villa independent supporters' Ian Rowbotham:
"It's the most damaging attack on any chairman by any manager I've known"
 real 14k

Former Villa 'keeper Nigel Spink
"Gregory's done a good job. Fans are critical of the chairman"
 real 14k

John Gregory:
"I'm just here to discuss football"
 real 56k

Thursday, 28 December, 2000, 15:20 GMT
Gregory plays down chairman row
Aston Villa chairman Doug Ellis
Villa chairman Doug Ellis is furious with his manager
Aston Villa manager John Gregory is to have showdown talks with chairman Doug Ellis following his critical outburst about the way the club is being run.

But for the time being, the Villa manager is concentrating on two Premiership matches on Saturday and Monday.

Gregory went as far as accusing the man nicknamed `Deadly Doug' as being "stuck in a time-warp".

It is likely that the pair will have face-to-face talks once the Christmas and New Year festivities are out of the way.

But Gregory told the BBC on Thursday: "The situation is that nothing has actually been discussed as yet and until it has been, I have nothing to say.

"There might be a meeting with the chairman over the next few days but we have very important match coming up against Leicester on Saturday and then at Chelsea on Monday."

Scathing

As Ellis sanctioned the record 9.5m purchase of Colombian striker Juan Pablo Angel from Boca Juniors, Gregory launched a blistering attack.

Ellis has been under fire from disgruntled Villa fans who believe the club lack ambition.


I'm furious with what has been said
  Aston Villa chairman Doug Ellis

Now the chairman has vowed to have clear-the-air talks, but promised to resolve the matter privately.

"I'm furious with what has been said," Ellis told The Sun newspaper.

"But as far as I'm concerned, it's a matter I will deal with privately, face-to-face."

Despite sanctioning the deal for Angel, Ellis was accused by Gregory of "talking big and acting small".

"We're dragging him kicking and screaming into the millennium," said the Villa boss.

Gregory hit out after a survey revealed Villa had spent less on new players in the last five years than Premiership neighbours Coventry.

"We are expected to compete with the big boys but we don't match them financially - that's a fact," he said.

"There's no reason we shouldn't be aiming for the Champions League.

Juan Pablo Angel
Juan Pablo Angel is costing Villa 9.5m

"But we need the ammunition for the job, which requires a 20-man first-team squad, not 16.

"The trouble is the chairman thinks we're like Manchester United, but acts small. We have to put up with that.

"He thinks we're the only club in the area and everybody has to support Aston Villa.

'Shanty town'

"The chairman expects everybody to come to us automatically. He's stuck in a time-warp which does make things difficult. He thinks our training ground is the best in the country.

"We've got our own chef now and the chairman will say: `I wonder what those people at Leicester City are having today, John? Probably beans on toast.'

"When the training ground was built 25 years ago, it was super-duper. Since then other clubs have caught up with us, or gone past us, and ours is like a shanty town compared to some.

"I'm kicking and screaming, trying to drag us forward, but it's hard.

"If I'm not careful, it becomes a personal attack on the chairman because of the way he is," he told The Sunday Times.

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John GregoryRisky game
Gregory dares to tackle deadly Doug
See also:

24 Dec 00 |  Aston Villa
Gregory attacks 'out of touch' Ellis
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