Martin Keown tells story of Graham Taylor's box-office first day at Villa

The former manager made an instant impact at Aston Villa.

Martin Keown says Graham Taylor made a huge difference at Aston Villa - and made his presence felt instantly, according to the club's official website.

Indeed, the former defender spoke of Taylor's first day at the club, when he told chairman Doug Ellis to leave during his meeting with the players.

Taylor was forthright enough to tell the Aston Villa squad straight away that he chose the Midlands club and not the other way around.

And Keown told the Villa site: "It was pure box office. Doug Ellis had kept things quiet. He called the team into the training ground and he said: 'There's a new manager waiting to come in - he's a top level guy and I think you'll be very pleased with him.'

"Graham walked in and immediately asked the chairman to leave. Doug said 'No, I usually sit in on these.' Graham smiled and replied 'Not while I'm the manager!'

"Then Graham told us 'The difference between me and the previous managers is that I chose Aston Villa, it wasn't a case of Doug Ellis choosing me.'"

Villa need exactly that kind of presence for their next manager - a tough talker who won't take any insubordination from a squad severely lacking in character.

Nigel Pearson sounds just like that type of manager, although you don't want someone too authoritarian (like a Roy Keane).

Pearson is the favourite to take over, according to Sky Bet, with Simon Grayson second in the running and David Moyes third.

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