Darius Vassell does not believe there is any chance of Doug Ellis relinquishing the chairman's seat at Aston Villa.
Ellis was the subject of frequent campaigns by the Villa support throughout Vassell's time in Birmingham and, after rebuffing a £47 million takeover offer from Ray Ranson, is currently awaiting further information from an unnamed consortium who have expressed an interest in buying the club.
Yet Vassell, who ended a 15-year association with Villa when he joined Manchester City during the summer, cannot see a situation where Ellis does not remain as chairman.
And, for all the criticism he receives, the England striker does not have a bad word to say about the 82-year-old.
"There has been talk of Doug going for a long time now," he said.
"We used to joke about it in the changing room. I don't think anything is going to happen, Doug Ellis will remain in charge for as long as I can see.
"A lot of people say different things about Doug, but I like him.
"He is a character. He came into training and gave us all a laugh. I certainly never had a problem with him and I don't think anybody else at the club has, either."
After joining Villa as a tenyearold, Vassell accepts the bond between player and club will never truly be broken.
Even now, he refers to the club as 'we' rather than 'they' and accepts the prospect of facing them at Eastlands on Monday is one he never thought would happen.
"I still have a lot of good friends at Villa, they are my home-town club and I suppose I will never truly move on," Vassell added.
"There is no animosity or bad feeling, I believe I left at the right time but it would be fair to say I never thought the day would come when I played against Villa. If I score, I probably won't know which fans to run towards." City boss Stuart Pearce is hopeful Vassell will be able to resume his strike partnership with Andy Cole as his side look for their fourth win in five games at home.
Cole was forced to pull out of last weekend's defeat at Arsenal just hours before kick-off after reporting a groin injury.
But, with the game being delayed 48 hours for live television coverage, Cole's return to training yesterday morning indicates he will be available.
Ben Thatcher should also return to the City squad after a four-week absence with an ankle problem.
However, Claudio Reyna and Nedum Onuoha have been ruled out for three and two weeks respectively. The USA skipper limped off at Highbury with ankle and knee injuries, while Onuoha is suffering a groin strain.
Cole could play at the expense of Antoine Sibierski, while Lee Croft stands by to replace Reyna, a move that would see Joey Barton partner Stephen Ireland in central midfield.
It is four years since Villa beat City on their travels, but Vassell knows enough about David O'Leary's squad to be wary of writing them off.
"I have been a little bit surprised by their start, but the danger of Villa in this kind of form is they are always capable of bouncing back with a good performance," he said.
"They have hungry and sharp players who want to win things and a manager who thinks the same way."