Supporters' groups of Aston Villa will "cease all protests" against Doug Ellis after the club announced that "significant funds" would be made available to David O'Leary this summer.

Villa Fans Combined (VFC) intended to step up their campaign against Ellis, the Villa chairman, whom they blame for lack of investment in the club, particularly the first-team squad.

But VFC are prepared to "take the board [of directors] at their word" over the money promised to O'Leary - believed to be £15 million - to bolster one of the smallest squads in the Barclays Premiership.

They have also been heartened by the three-year plan of Bruce Langham, the chief executive, which includes much-needed redevelopment of the Bodymoor Heath training complex.

Jonathan Fear, a VFC spokesman , said: "Villa Fans Combined is heartened by the positive messages coming from the manager [David O'Leary] and chief executive [Bruce Langham] of Aston Villa.

"Although fans remain sceptical following a good many false promises from Mr Ellis, we all want to believe that the board are indeed going to back the manager and make significant funds available.

"It appears the board have finally conceded that the golden era of youth promised for so long isn't working out how they hoped - and that the squad the manager has been left with are not capable of competing at the level we would all hope to be competing at.

"Hopefully this shift in policy has been aided by Mr Langham starting to gain some control at Aston Villa.

"We are pleased that the much-needed redevelopment of Bodymoor Heath training facilities will also go ahead and that Mr Langham has put in place a three-year plan.

"This is what Villa have needed for many years, clear and concise plans to take the club forward, not the usual panic management that we have witnessed over the previous 20 years. It is with this in mind - at a time where we were about to step up our actions - that we have decided we will take the board at their word and cease all protests this season.

"We hope that they follow through on their promises and that purchases are not funded by further player sales.

"It would be unwise of the board to mislead the fans again and I don't believe the manager, the players or the fans would put up with anything short of positive action this summer."

O'Leary has defended his decision to involve Thomas Hitzlsperger in his plans despite the Germany international midfield player being due to join VfB Stuttgart at the end of the season.

Hitzlsperger was recalled for Saturday's 3-2 win at Southampton and played the entire 90 minutes. He had suffered mild booing from fans when warming up for the previous home match against West Bromwich Albion.

Villa have two home matches in four days, against Charlton tomorrow and Bolton at the weekend, but O'Leary believes he is right to include Hitzlsperger in his plans. He said: "You don't cut your own throat. I have got Thomas to the end of this season and I will use him in the best way possible. I am sure he is not the type of person who will take his eye off things. He is a lovely lad and he will do his best for us until the end of the season."