Date: 9th November 2005 at 10:36am
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Villa chairman Doug Ellis has told of a ‘pact’ he had with Everton counterpart Bill Kenwright over the chase for Beattie. The two clubs are now rumoured to be chasing the signature of Robbie Keane, but it appears that Doug might not be in the hot seat when the January transfer window opens with a reporter multi million pound takeover by property group Comer Home on the cards.

Villa got a reprimand by the FA for ‘tapping up’ the player but Ellis has now revealed yet another twist!

”The truth of the Beattie talks was that his father rang Villa and let it be known he was interested in joining us,” Ellis said in his new autobiography, serialised in the Daily Express. ”Of course his dad did the same with Everton! The Everton chairman Bill Kenwright and I are great friends and I rang him and made a pact that we would agree the same transfer fee and salary scale and leave it to the player to decide. ‘I told Bill it was pointless bidding against each other as all we were doing was pushing the price up. Bill agreed.’

Ellis also accepts that Everton didn’t ‘do the dirty’ and that the choice was down to the player.

”Bill assures me he did not break the agreement and I accept that. So it was a straight choice for the player. ‘I got a lot of stick for failing to sign him but the final decision had nothing to do with me. ‘The choice of the player is down to the manager, David O’Leary, but I had done my homework and I was never convinced about Beattie.”

Nothing to do with me. Could be Doug’s mantra. Not my fault, wasn’t me, can’t take the blame, didn’t do it. I guess fans will make their own mind up, I remember reports around the time that it was the talk with Ellis that put the player off. ‘I was in the war’ apparently wasn’t the sort of conversation Beattie was looking for!