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Takeover Battle Nearly Won?

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.'

Writer:J P Fear
Date:Wednesday August 9 2006
Time: 1:30PM


Hows things going Mr Feat? ;)
09/08/2006 13:39:00
When is this takeover going to happen ? this week
09/08/2006 13:43:00
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
09/08/2006 14:06:00
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.
09/08/2006 14:07:00
thats good news hopefully it will go through this week and u can look foward to next season
green giant 12
09/08/2006 14:15:00
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.
09/08/2006 14:21:00
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'
09/08/2006 14:34:00
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.
09/08/2006 14:47:00
By the looks of the picture above, even Mr Ellis is yawning at the prospect of yet another 'Villa takeover' thread!!!! ;o)
09/08/2006 15:21:00
So hows the championship taste?Cahill sent the blues down!!!! come on the mackems
09/08/2006 16:15:00
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