During this holiday season, I would like to take a moment to send best wishes and gratitude to Doug Ellis.

Think about where Aston Villa is today. Fifth place and getting better. A squad that is as talented as we’ve seen in at least a decade, with several possible candidates to play for England in South Africa next year. The best Chairman in the Premier League and also one of the best managers.

So how did we get here? It started with Doug Ellis selling to Randy Lerner. Now think about what could’ve happened to Villa when Ellis sold the club. He could’ve sold our club to Arabs who are very rich but have no idea how to build a winner in English football (Manchester City). Or Arabs that are not able to fund a Premier League club (Portsmouth).

Or to a couple of Americans who promised much and delivered very little (Liverpool). Or people for whom the club is a plaything or asset and when they get bored or tired of it, can make a quick buck and could quite possibly leave the club in a huge amount of debt (Manchester United and Chelsea).

I am thankful he didn‘t. When I hear fans on 606 or other places complain about their owners, and rightly so, I think how fortunate we are to have the Chairman we’ve got. Doug Ellis found a man who could run Aston Villa the way it should be run. Someone that lets the football people do their job and also invests a significant amount of money. Someone that honors the proud past and traditions of the club. Someone that cares passionately about Aston Villa.

There is no chance of a boardroom civil war derailing our club’s ambition either (Arsenal).

Martin O’Neill and the players deserve a big pat on the back for how they’ve played this season. They could be taking this club places that it hasn’t been for many years. But it all began with Doug Ellis, who thought of this club first and put us on the road to this success. Thank you Doug Ellis for thinking of us.