Saturday 22 October 2016

Aston Villa chairman Randy Lerner: If I don't sell the club, I'll quit

Aston Villa's Christian Benteke
Aston Villa's Christian Benteke

Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner says he will quit as chairman in the summer if he fails to sell the club.

Fans have criticised Lerner for a perceived lack of investment in the club and although Villa will face Arsenal in the FA Cup final this weekend, the Midlands club finished just one place and three points above the relegation zone.

Lerner has been actively trying to sell Villa for just over a year and in an interview with The Times, the American concedes he should have given up the chairmanship earlier as "the responsibilities that I have at home in the US both personal and professional come first".

"I don't disagree with the (fans) criticism," he told The Times. "And what I should have done several years back was bring in a chairman.

"Yes, the club remains for sale. But as we've seen, 'Club for sale' does not necessarily mean it will change hands so fast.

"I have had interest from nearly every corner of the globe.

"Germans, Italians, Americans and Chinese among others have expressed interest in and fondness for the Villa. They key of course is to try to put the club in custodial hands that can take the club forward. Resources and competence and a willingness to immerse themselves in the local fabric.

"Last year at this time I had a plan A which was to sell, and a plan B, which was to rethink the club's business management , which has led to the hiring of Tom Fox (as chief executive).

"This year plan A remains to find a buyer if on the cards or, plan B, find a new chairman."

Lerner says the club is valued "somewhere in the £150million to £200million (region)".

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