Aston Villa

Randy Lerner Puts Aston Villa Up for Sale: Official Statement Released

BIRMINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 23:  Randy Lerner, the new owner of Aston Villa, looks on during the Barclays Premiership match between Aston Villa and Charlton Athletic at Villa Park on September 23, 2006 in Birmingham, England.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Mark Thompson/Getty Images
Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistMay 12, 2014

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.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - MAY 03:  Paul Lambert, manager of Aston Villa looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Hull City at Villa Park on May 3, 2014 in Birmingham, England.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

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:

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.

BIRMINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 14:  Villa chairman Randy Lerner (r) takes his seat during the Barclays Premiership match between Aston villa and Tottenham Hotspur at Villa Park on October 14, 2006 in Birmingham, England.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty
Stu Forster/Getty Images

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:

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. 

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