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Last Updated: Friday, 20 May, 2005, 15:56 GMT 16:56 UK
Hughes completes switch to Villa
Aaron Hughes
Newcastle defender Aaron Hughes has joined Aston Villa for around 1m.

Northern Ireland international Hughes, 25, has signed a three-year contract and his arrival follows Villa's capture of Patrik Berger from Portsmouth.

"This is the first time I have switched clubs so it's all a bit new for me. Villa are very similar to Newcastle," he told the Stellar Group website.

"Both are big clubs, with great history and tradition, and have struggled to win trophies in the last few years."

Hughes, who has been capped 40 times by his country, made 279 appearances for the Magpies.

However, Newcastle boss Graeme Souness is keen to generate transfer funds to rebuild his side following a disappointing season.

"The challenges here are very similar to the ones I faced at Newcastle - we need to break into the top six and qualify for Europe at the minimum," Hughes added.

"Newcastle are a tremendous club and have made me the player I am today. I was priveleged to work under some great managers there and play with some unbelieveable players.

"But I am now really looking forward to coming back for pre-season here and meeting up with all the Villa lads."

Villa had claimed earlier this week that they had agreed a fee for Hughes and Wales Striker Craig Bellamy - who is currently on loan at Celtic - but the Magpies denied it.

Meanwhile, Villa chief executive Bruce Langham has resigned after an apparent clash with chairman Doug Ellis.

Langham only took over the responsibility from Ellis 12 months ago, but the club announced his departure in a statement to the Stock Exchange.

We assume he is leaving because of one person - and it doesn't take a genius to work out whom we are referring to
Villa fans' spokesman Jonathan fear on Bruce Langham

And a Villa spokesman said: "The decision of Mr Langham is the result of a difference of opinion over the strategy of the way the club is going forward."

Supporters' groups called off a protest against Ellis after Langham devised a three-year plan aimed at reviving the club's fortunes but they have been left stunned by the announcement.

"This is a sad day for Aston Villa. We have been impressed with his professionalism since coming into the club," Villa Fans Combined spokesman Jonathan Fear said.

"We can only assume that he is leaving the club because of one person - and it doesn't take a genius to work out whom we are referring to."


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