Aston Villa suffer new low under Randy Lerner as owner sacks Lambert

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There was a time, before Alex McLeish and Paul Lambert, when Aston Villa were in the position to dream about the Champions League. To dream about Tuesday and Wednesday nights at Villa Park against the best of Europe that would have reminded a lot of people about 1982 when they won the tournament.

Martin O’Neill was supposed to deliver Villa to this promised land. He nearly did of course.

Until Randy Lerner decided that the final step, requiring more money, was too much and that someone other than Martin O’Neill could get Randy Lerner into the spotlight of the Champions League.

Step forward Gerard Houllier, Alex McLeish and Paul Lambert.

Let us not also forget that there were plenty of supporters who thought O’Neill should have done more. That the consistency of three consecutive top six finishes was some kind of underachievement.

The numerous decisions made after O’Neill’s departure lead us to the relegation threatened situation Aston Villa faces today and the subsequent sacking of Lambert.

That’s the short version of what happened when Randy Lerner decided that investing in the soccer club he owns, one of the most important clubs in English football, was no longer a financial risk he wanted to take.

Randy Lerner’s inaction serves as a reminder to any club that no matter the quality of player or manager, there is no greater factor to success than the commitment of the owner.

The owner decides if the risk of spending cash to fulfill the ambitions of the club is important enough to ignore the losses of the business side of the club. In this situation, Randy Lerner no longer felt like spending Randy Lerner’s cash.

The financial marker was drawn in 2010. The realities of spending to reach the Champions League, personified by Martin O’Neill, not only served to scare Randy Lerner at that time but now have threatened the top flight status of his club.

A sound business decision was made at the time by a very good businessman. Unfortunately, this was also a very bad soccer decision as the club have failed to be the stable force they were under O’Neill. Each successive manager has found no answers and have only angered supporters to levels that make David O’Leary seem like a saint now.

There was no way the dour displays of Alex McLeish’s Villa could ever be topped, many sound people argued. Then Paul Lambert came along and practically blinded all who watched Villa’s attack on a weekly basis.

Being unable to get along with Darren Bent, a streaky player but one who is a proven goal scorer, and recently benching Christian Benteke are two of the great errors of Lambert’s reign. There are others but when your club can’t score, the items mentioned above are two golden examples of Lambert’s mismanagement.

Lambert deserves plenty of blame but what does Randy Lerner want to do to help his club? According to last month’s transfer window: practically nothing. Villa will not be saved from relegation because they are going to get better but will be kept alive by the teams below them being worse.

It’s not so much about what Villa do for the rest of the season, it’s about what the other teams do. Villa supporters will be held hostage by this unless Villa start doing something they haven’t done all season.

What if the unthinkable happens? Nottingham Forest and Leeds United are the best examples of clubs with proud traditions being too big to go down. Their absence in the top flight is noted but not missed and that’s just down to the amount of time they’ve been away.

If an owner won’t spend to save his club from relegation in the top flight, what will he do when an even tougher fight awaits in the Championship?

Randy Lerner has turned a great asset into a club which, if things go badly in the coming months, will be an unsellable entity.

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5 Comments

  1. dave February 11, 2015
  2. jw February 11, 2015
  3. Paul Messenger February 11, 2015
  4. Smokey Bacon February 11, 2015
  5. StellaWasAlwaysDown February 12, 2015

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