John Gregory last night rejected any accusations of wrongdoing while he was in charge of Aston Villa.
Gregory’s statement came in response to the announcement that the Football Associatiion’s compliance unit was investigating all transfer deals conducted while Gregory was at Aston Villa.
A statement from Gregory’s solicitor David Price read: ‘Mr Gregory wishes to make it clear that there is no basis to question his integrity in relation to any transfer that took place while he was manager of Aston Villa.
‘If he recommended a purchase to the chairman it was because he believed it was in the best interests of the club.
‘Anyone who suggests otherwise does so at his peril.’
Under particular scrutiny are the dealsthat brought Bosko Balaban and Juan Pablo Angel to Villa Park. Balaban was signed for £6 million but it has been alleged that his former club Dinamo Zagreb received only £1 million of that fee. Angel cost Villa £9 million when he signed from River PLate in 2000.
For their part, Villa issued a statement, confirming that they are assisting the FA inquiry, whilst denying that the club itself is under investigation.
The statement read: ‘As a result of stories circulating in the media, Aston Villa and the FA wish the following to be known.
‘The Football Association wants to make clear today that Aston Villa is not under investigation.
‘In fact, the club instigated its own enquiries earlier in the year as a result of continued rumour regarding a number of transactions, some of which involve players at their club.
‘The Football Association’s compliance unit is responsible for investigating all such matters.
‘Aston Villa approached the FA to share information in order to assist both parties in their obligations and to ensure they discharge their responsibilities to the game. These matters are ongoing and complex.
‘Not only is there no suggestion today that Aston Villa Football Club is under investigation, but the club took extra precautions in respect of transfers highlighted in the Press.
‘These were conducted via the FA and in full consultation with UEFA and FIFA as appropriate. The FA are grateful that Aston Villa are prepared to champion a campaign to rid the game of any ‘bung’ culture.