Date: 9th August 2006 at 1:30pm
Written by:

John Curtis, Press Association.

The battle to take control of Aston Villa is expected to intensify in the next few days despite the club showing a £8.2million pre-tax loss for the year ending May 31, 2006.

American billionaire Randy Lerner and the consortium fronted by life-long Villa fan Michael Neville are still keen on buying the midlands club.

Lerner, the owner of NFL side Cleveland Browns, remains the apparent favourite and a personal fortune of $1.4billion means he is undeterred by Villa’s loss which followed a profit of £3million for the previous 12 months.

The 44-year-old has shied away from any publicity since his first meeting with Villa chairman Doug Ellis a fortnight ago when he appeared to have pulled out of the deal.

But sources close to the Lerner camp are adamant this tactic was a ‘smokescreen’ to enable Lerner to get on with the task of buying Villa away from the media spotlight.

He has spoken again with Villa and their financial advisers Rothschild with a formal bid expected to be submitted sooner rather than later.

Neville is adamant he has the financial backing in place to match Ellis’s £64million valuation of Villa.

But the possibility remains of the Solihull businessman joining forces with the consortium known as AV06 which is fronted by deputy judge Nicholas Padfield QC and talks are planned between the two groups.

Despite the losses, new Villa boss Martin O’Neill has been promised funds to cover the interim period before new owners arrive at Villa Park.

O’Neill is stepping up attempts to bring in £5million-rated Celtic midfielder Stilian Petrov and there are suggestions the Bulgarian may fly out to Villa’s pre-season tour of Holland if the deal is pushed through by the weekend.

Unsurprisingly Villa’s latest financial figures have not impressed shareholders and supporters.

Jonathan Feat {editors note. I think my name is Jonathan Fear, although I do often put my foot in mouth, so who knows?}, chairman of the Villa Shareholders’ Association, said: ‘It is another indication of why Mr Ellis should now leave Aston Villa and allow new owners with fresh ideas to take control.’

Villa’s gates dropped by 8.7% in 2005-2006 after a poor season saw them finish in 16th place in the Premiership.

Fear added: ‘David O’Leary was never popular with many of the fans and many of them voted with their feet by staying away from Villa Park.

‘The combination of Mr O’Leary and Mr Ellis was a recipe for disaster.

‘Hopefully now things will turn around with a new manager in Martin O’Neill, who was the fans’ number one choice, and a new consortium hopefully taking over in the near future.’


26 Replies to “Takeover Battle Nearly Won?”

  • I always put my foot in mouth, maybe that is what JC was thinking! Looks like we’ve all got a bit longer to wait, hopefully an official bid will be in soon, progress is being made I’m told, so fingers and everything else crossed that the bid comes in and

  • Although I’m looking forward to the post-Herbert era (under our American cousins if the rumour mill is correct), expect the cost of a VP ticket to rise sharply next season.

  • thats good news hopefully it will go through this week and u can look foward to next season

  • To be honest our tickets are some of the cheapest in the premiership (cheaper than most of the Championship infact) so if prices rose we could hardly moan too much. I’m sure most would happily accept a 10% rise if we were competing in the top 6 again.

  • I expect they will rise at least 10% per year for a few years actually. But if we see that money is going into squad strengthening and other areas of the business are yielding income we should be happy to help the coming of ‘New Villa’

  • According to the mail Barry has said he’ll only sign if the terms are right for him? It also suggests that Lerner will only trickle the money through and not do a Chelsea. This of course could be a smokescreen so that selling clubs don’t hike the prices

  • By the looks of the picture above, even Mr Ellis is yawning at the prospect of yet another ‘Villa takeover’ thread!!!! ;o)

  • BAD NEWS!!! Those close to HDE are suggesting that with O’Neill on board and ticket sales up, he’s most definately having second thoughts about selling. You heard here first.

  • Im looking forward to going to the game to watch the lads in the randy erection (aka doug ellis stand). Im going to have a randy burger at half time as well and when the yankee doodle dog sellers start walking up the isles it will feel like a long time ag

  • Yup the pressure is off Doug to sell. I don’t know if I PREFER THE AV06 bid ..english footy guys, not sure about lerners motives…and even as a browns fan, i understand that they are only a minor force and are widley considered underfunded.

  • I doubt it stevew, he will struggle with the fees from rothschild if he doesnt sell now as they will still need paying! From what I understand there is progress and there is optimism. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see though. LOL lil_blues_fan.

  • I am always extremely suspicious of anyone or any public body taking over any football club unless they have a deep passion either for the club or for football. Lerner has neither of these qualities.
    My vote therefore would be for Ellis to stay on in a

  • Ref Rothchild’s Fees –
    If Lerner’s bid meets Rothschild’s spec. in terms of price, time-scale and any other pre-conditions (is whether or not Ellis was asking to be retained etc) -then if Ellis does not accept that or indeed an offer from any other prosp

  • We’ve got to keep hoping and keep believing. Things do seem to be happening out there, but we all knew deep down that it would be a complicated, involved, and lengthy procedure. At least as all this drags on, we are not having to put up with O’Leary still

  • The Fear may know more than he can reveal, but as I understand it, Randy Lerner’s meeting with HDE, went something like; HDE quoted a price, Lerner accepted it, left the room to go to the gents and when he returned the price had gone up by a couple of £mi

  • Be very careful about what you wish for as you just might end up getting it. I still believe that all this media speculation as to the state of this saga is just that – speculation. It’s easy to say a bid is immanent or the sale hots up because sooner or

  • Hi Steve64k
    What is your wish? Lerner, Neville, AV06 or if not these who? Can you share it with us?

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