Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner has announced his intentions to sell the Premier League club eight years after purchasing the English outfit.
Lerner released a statement on Monday morning via the club's official website detailing the reasons behind his decision to cut ties with Villa:
Several weeks back I said that following the end of the season I would clarify my future role with the Club, and address what had become seemingly constant rumours of a sale. I have come to know well that fates are fickle in the business of English football. And I feel that I have pushed mine well past the limit.
The last several seasons have been week in, week out battles and having now come through this last season unfortunately limping amidst very meaningful injuries and constant sale rumours, I feel further that now is the time for me to look for new ownership and thus new leadership. I have asked the world of Paul Lambert and Paul Faulkner and they have both delivered selflessly. On a personal level it is time for me, like the Shunammite, to dwell among my own and get on with other aspects of my career, following a sale.
Above all, the debt I owe Aston Villa whether as owner, Chairman, custodian or simply as a fan is to put the Club first. To make good on that debt, I owe it to Villa to move on, and look for fresh, invigorated leadership, if in my heart I feel I can no longer do the job.
Finally, in light of the above, I have engaged Bank of America Merrill Lynch to advise on the sale of Aston Villa.
This season saw the Birmingham club escape relegation by just five points, finishing in 15th overall for the second season in a row.
Villa have now ended each of the last three campaigns in the bottom half of the table, struggling to gain strong footing in the standings since Martin O'Neill's departure from Villa Park in 2010.
The Mirror's Steve Anglesey does notice one portion of Lerner's exiting statement that draws particular attention:
Not saying owning Villa drives you mad but in exit statement Lerner compares himself to an Old Testament woman pic.twitter.com/m5XccvJIcC— Steve Anglesey (@sanglesey) May 12, 2014
Lerner bought Aston Villa for a fee of £62.6 million in 2006, per BBC Sport, having previously held ownership of the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League.
During his time as Villa chairman, Lerner has shown limited willingness to inject money through transfer dealings, and Paul Lambert has yet to take the club forth in their evolution since being appointed manager in 2012.
The Times' Matt Dickinson quotes Lerner in hinting as to why more substantial investments weren't made, in which he cites Leeds United as an example of how things shouldn't be done:
Lerner told me he 'got a triple first in Leeds United' ie not overspending. Can't blame him for declining to bankroll losses indefinitely— Matt Dickinson (@DickinsonTimes) May 12, 2014
This season's struggles have led to doubts over Lambert's credentials as manager, having only secured the club's top-flight status as recently as May 3.
Both Lerner and Villa will be in favour of a quick sale so that the rebuilding process can begin anew this summer.
Whether the new regime keeps Lambert at the head of the table or not will depend entirely on who the potential new owner(s) is, but for now, it's business as usual for the Scot and his squad.