January 3rd 1924 was a very special day in the Ellis household as a son was born (there were no wise men, but he would later preside over the acquisition of various donkeys).
The boy was named Herbert Douglas Ellis and after a short (very) career with Tranmere Rovers and service in the Far East during the Second World War he moved to the Midlands and made more than a few quid as an early package holiday entrepreneur.
So coming from the Wirral didn’t exactly make him the ‘local boy’ when he joined the Villa board. In fact, he has also been on the boards of Wolverhampton Wanderers, Derby County and even graced the higher echelons (if there is such a place) of Birmingham City. He may have the car number plate AV1 and a stand named after him at Villa Park (which he was so surprised when the Villa board bestowed him the honour) but at the end of the day he is a business man first, second and third.
He’s never forgot that the best of Villa’s recent (in the loosest sense of the word) success was whilst he was on his sabbatical from Aston Villa. Tony Barton was sacked at the earliest opportunity upon his return and the Championship (pre Premier League, not where we will be playing next season) and European Cup winning squads were quickly broken up (far too early) leading Villa back down the leagues.
Doug Ellis is a real marmite character at Aston Villa – you either love him or hate him. In the late 1980’s I purchased a share in Aston Villa just to attend the AGMs – once asking a question he couldn’t answer. And that is the one reason I’m on the ‘love him’ side. Buying that share for £12 made me more than £1,000 when Doug took Villa on to the London Stock Exchange as a PLC.
So, for that reason alone Sir Herbert Douglas Ellis OBE we wish you a very happy 92nd birthday!