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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Takeover Battle Nearly Won?

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.'

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The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday August 9 2006

Time: 1:30PM

Your Comments

Hows things going Mr Feat? ;)
When is this takeover going to happen ? this week
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 is for the good of this old club of ours!
The Fear
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
green giant 12
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 up like they do for Chelsea. Did dampen my enthusiam though because there's so much catching up to do at the Villa. Perhaps trickling players through is good. It took Portsmouth a long time to gell.
By the looks of the picture above, even Mr Ellis is yawning at the prospect of yet another 'Villa takeover' thread!!!! ;o)
So hows the championship taste?Cahill sent the blues down!!!! come on the mackems
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.
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.
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 ago we were the official joke of the premiership. Even if Ellis stays he is 82 and I hope to out live him by some gap. That means I will survive the Ellis farce one way or the other and that gives me reason to have hope for the future even if it takes a few years.
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.
The Fear
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 Presidential role, but with a new "chief exec" and two or three elected representatives of the fans being "charged" to run the club. The ordinary minority shareholdings, in total would be at least 50%. Ellis and other major shareholders would have less than 50%. Finances would not a problem, providing a propoerly written long-term business plan was produced. To my mind this would undoubtedly be the best recipe for the future stability of the club. If Ellis wanted to sell up and go, and I very much suspect he doesn't, I would rather his shares were sold to a local financial institution or Media Corporation or a syndicate of local businesses that would directly benefit from a successful Midland's Premiership Club.
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 prospective client introduced either Ellis personally or the Club will have to pay Rothchild's Fees. Their fees would normally be within the range of 6% to !0% of the sale price + expenses, which could take the bill up to 15% of the final bid price. (Big buck's eh?). So you can see that Ellis has another problem if he does'nt sell. I suspect his asking price this year at £5.50 per share instead of £4.75 per share last year with the Comer's interest, reflect Rothchild's fees and the extra legal costs etc. who were not appointed until after Neville's "mk1 bid".
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 being at the club.
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 £million. At which point he left. That may or may not be correct but the only sure thing appears to be that Doug is playing his usual games. The danger being the fish gets of the hook!!! As for optimism, after nearly 40 years of the old fool, it's not a word often used when Doug's involved.
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 later a bid will either come in or it won't. Lets not forget, no one has bid yet and in reality they may decide to walk away because 64 mill + 12 mill losses + 20 to 30 mill on players + ? mill on wages + ? mill on redevelopment and what ever else could persuade consortiums to walk away.
Hi Steve64k What is your wish? Lerner, Neville, AV06 or if not these who? Can you share it with us?
Cant w8 until the season starts and we can actually post sumfin about football!!
Who does "sumfin" play for? Is he a "Bulgar" or a "Burk", sorry "Turk"?
What Lerner lacks in knoledge and passion for club or football is made up by his billions. Nary a word on this for over a week in his hometown noone here even cares. The fans just want the Cleveland Browns football team to get better than 6-10 this year. Sad.
sk1nner60.... not tasteing too bad at the moment thanks.... No.1_villain - agree with you, it would make a nice change here wouldnt it!!! Although you could always talk about MON's first game in charge.. the friendly against NEC Nijmegen ???
According to a couple of the papers today, Neville is to increase his bid over the weekend (why? His original bid was never formal and never rejected) and also Graham Taylor has questioned Randy Lerner's motives.
Hey peeps, this is my first ever posting so please be gentle with me. Up until now I have been firmly behind the Neville Takeover bid. Despite what has happened with Doug I like the idea of a fan being in charge instead of a business man. However, today I have read in a respectable paper that should Neville win the takeover he is going to install Graham Turnip Taylor as chairman. I am horrified by the thought of him returning to Villa Park in any role that is above tea-boy. Does anybody agree with me?

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