Billionaire owner Randy Lerner has had enough of Aston Villa and has put the Premier League club up for sale.
The Aston Villa owner hopes to complete the sale in the next six weeks, and has employed two major US banks as advisors, hinting that the club could be sold to investors in the US, as has long been rumored.
In a statement on the club website, Lerner revealed:
“It is time for me 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.
“During my time with Villa, I have tried to strengthen and improve the Club’s physical infrastructure both at Villa Park and Bodymoor Heath while also trying to carry on the McGregor tradition of being mindful of the local community we serve. Above all in this effort is the connection the Club has made with Acorns; the caring, kindness and warmth that players, staff, managers and supporters have shown to Mr Strudley and Acorns has wiped away all disappointments and sobered my finest memories. Still, I can see now that it is time, if possible, to hand these privileges and responsibilities to the next person or group to take the Club forward. I am appreciative of the support I have received, even in these last years of comparative struggle when criticism was due, and will look on with others – with fingers crossed, for stronger future performance appropriate to our size and heritage.
“On a practical level, the Club will continue with its normal operations and plans for the summer. I’ve no doubt that the core staff at both Villa Park and Bodmoor Heath, to whom I owe a massive debt of friendship and loyalty, will continue to guide and protect the Club through this period of transition according to their collective sense of professional pride and long term service to Villa – the vast majority having preceded my tenure.
“Finally, in light of the above, I have engaged Bank of America Merrill Lynch to advise on the sale of Aston Villa.”
Under Lerner’s leadership at Aston Villa, the club has upgraded its infrastructure and services but the American owner has not had the success he would like to see on the pitch. For two seasons in a row, the club finished in 15th position. The best the club has done in recent years was the sixth place finishes in the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 seasons.
After buying the club in 2007, Lerner made immediate changes by changing the club’s crest, shirt sponsor and making several team changes. Lerner pumped millions into Aston Villa. The club made it to the 2010 League Cup Final. However, after manager Martin O’Neill was sacked in the summer of 2010, the club went downhill with a string of managers who were unable to achieve the same level of success that O’Neill reached. In 2012, the club announced that the club reported a financial loss of £59million.