Former Liverpool goalkeeper David James has claimed that he was DRUNK when he convinced then Aston Villa chairman Doug Ellis to sign him.
James made 277 appearances for Liverpool before making the move to Villa Park in 1999, and it appears that the origins of that transfer have an unlikely back story.
According to the Express, in an interview with StadiumAstro, James was questioned as to whether he had asked for the move to Villa, and the former England stopper revealed: “I went out on a race day with a couple of Liverpool players. It was fine, a day off, we had a few drinks.
One of them went, ‘Doug Ellis is next door ‘. ‘Doug who?’ ‘Aston Villa owner.'”
James then claimed that after a few more drinks he and his teammates went through to speak to Ellis, who told them: “It’s not good, we’ve lost the best goalkeeper in the Premier League – Bosnich going to Manchester United.”
In the interview, James claims that his response was to tell Ellis that he had actually lost the “second best” goalkeeper in the Premier League, an answer which was apparently enough to convince Ellis to put in a bid for James.
Speaking about the transfer, James went on to say, “as much as I loved Liverpool, I didn’t want to be a number two. And more importantly, I didn’t want to hang around for a year to get a Bosman ruling. I just wanted to play.
“Villa came in. I said yes straightaway. The contract negotiations were interesting, they didn’t offer me as much as I wanted. But I was like “It doesn’t matter, I just want to play.”
James would go on to make 85 appearances in two years at Villa Park, before spells with West Ham, Portsmouth, Manchester City, Portsmouth, Bristol City, Bournemouth, IBV of Iceland, and Kerala Blasters in the 2014 Indian Super League in a career that also saw him earn 53 caps for England.