So, it’s official: Aston Villa Football Club is ‘for sale’. Randy Lerner’s statement confirmed what we have all been speculating about for months.
I have composed my own statement in response to Randy Lerner’s offering:
I thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you have tried to do for our club. Through the good, the bad and the ugly, I have no doubt that everything you have done has been with Aston Villa’s best interests at heart.
We had a good go and aimed high. Unfortunately, it did not work out. You put your trust in a manager and backed him to the hilt. We came close but in the end the model Martin O’Neill chose failed and he walked out. He left us with many problems, some that we are still paying for today.
Other appointments didn’t work out through a mixture of bad health, bad advice and bad management. I admire what you and Paul Lambert have tried to achieve, although it is unfortunate that it seems as if that plan won’t come to fruition either. Nevertheless, in my opinion we are being left in a better state than the one you found us in.
I am grateful that you have picked the correct time to put Aston Villa Football Club up for sale and that you have been true to the words that you stated when you arrived. Every one of us deserves better than seeing a great club languish in fifteenth place in the Premier League.
A lot has been said about your stewardship of the club. Mistakes have been made but, in general, I thank you for what you have done for Aston Villa.
I am not an accountant but, as I understand it, you have pumped plenty of your own money into the club. For three seasons we were high up in the Premier League table and in 2010, after nearly ten years without a Wembley appearanc,e we reached the League Cup Final.
The last few years have not gone as planned and investment in the playing side has shrunk but there was never any way that the spending of previous managers could continue. It simply wasn’t sustainable. Had we reached our goal of playing in the Champions’ League then I really think things would have been different.
As the investment decreased, results worsened and you became much less popular with the fans. However, I refuse to overlook the great deal of good that you have done, even if I have not enjoyed our recent decline.
For five years, Aston Villa was a club that supporters of other clubs were jealous of: we were run in a manner that gained us many admirers – on and off the pitch. When the Villans beat a host of clubs to the signature of Fabian Delph, Ken Bates commented on how Villa “did things properly.” Compliments from other clubs about the way business is conducted are very rare in football so it was comments like Bates’ that made me even prouder to be an Aston Villa supporter.
The infrastructure has undoubtedly improved. I have been lucky enough to take a tour of our training ground and it’s immense. My trip to Bodymoor Heath was arranged by a member of your staff as a thanks for my support over twenty years as a season ticket holder and it is this kind of customer service that I believe sets Aston Villa under your stewardship apart from other football clubs.
You have always put the club’s traditions at the forefront of your thinking, which is something I have always admired and appreciated, yet it is often overlooked. The bond the club has with Acorns is something you should be immensely proud of. Your generous donation this season was an act of class, as was forfeiting a shirt sponsor to allow us all to wear the name of Acorns on our shirts.
Ultimately, it is what happens on the pitch that people care about most. The last few years have not been good enough. The appointment of Alex McLeish was misguided and it was a mistake that still haunts the club. Paul Lambert’s “project” was something that many fans, myself included, embraced. However, the footbnall on offer this season has been hard to watch. What the future holds for Paul Lambert is unclear but we cannot have another season of struggle. The decision to focus on buying young and hungry players while ridding the club of high earners was a brave one but it has not worked.
With that in mind, I think you have obviously decided that enough is enough.
I will remember your ownership with fondness in general, not allowing the difficulties of the last few years to overshadow the very enjoyable seasons before then.
I trust you to ensure that the next “custodian” of Aston Villa Football Club is an appropriate one. I hope he shares your fondness for keeping with the tradition and history of this great club. I also hope he has deep pockets because I dream of seeing Aston Villa competing in the higher echelons of the Premier League. I could only look on with envy at Manchester City last weekend. I would love to see a rejuvenated Aston Villa Football Club, with its team challenging for honours. 1996 was a long time ago – too long for a club of our size to be without silverware.
Now is the right time for something new and I look forward to the future. I wish you all the best with your future plans and hope that you would enjoy any future success this club may have as much as myself and other supporters would.