Writer: J P Fear
Date:Sunday August 20 2006
Randy Lerner has spoken to his local 'Cleveland Plain Dealer' paper about Aston Villa.
'The way I see it, people don't need some self-important guy running around the place telling everyone he owns it. They need someone working as hard as possible to get the results they have been entrusted to get. If the fans don't see that you are going to lose their support.'
'Martin O'Neill is the saviour of this club — not me. If Aston Villa are to succeed, he will be the one that puts it up there again, not me.'
'I'm what you call the custodian. There have been plenty of custodians of Aston Villa since 1874 and if I can't make it work, I will do what the others did, move on and let someone else try.'
'People like me come and go. The fans will always own Aston Villa because they never leave.'
Fantastic sentence that, 'The fans will always own Aston Villa because they never leave.'
The paper also explains that Randy Lerner has had a place in London since 1999 when he was chairman of MBNA Europe. He also read history at Cambridge.
He also adds, and this is one of the most important parts, unlike the outgoing chap, what was his name again, Lerner isn't here for the boasting rights or the 'trappings'.
'I can't say the trappings of ownership have ever interested me. It is claiming credit where none is due. I won't let my kids walk around in Browns shirts because I don't want them saying: 'Yeah, that's my dad's football club — he owns you.' That's the way to create little monsters. I don't see the role at Villa as endowing me with anything other than a hell of a lot of responsibility. It's a very serious task and you have to be focused.'
'Own is not necessarily a verb. You can't go in and own all day. 'Hey, what time is it? I think I'll get down to Villa and own for an hour.'It never ends well when the owner wants everyone to know his name. I have not got the nerve to go on the pitch and wave to the fans.'
He is also totally up front about his knowledge of Aston Villa, speaks volumes that he isn't claiming to be what he is not, 'That is the quickest way to get found out,'
'I can't pretend to be Aston Villa through and through. I grew up a fan of English football, the way some Americans are, with these legendary colours and teams and the whole mythology around them. I was in school in England in 1982 when Villa won the European Cup, so I remember it but I'm not going to tell you that was the beginning of any great love affair. That would be dishonest. But it is possible to take up something in your 30s or 40s that becomes a lifelong passion.'
'Rather than bend the past to create some great fairytale I would rather show my commitment with what I am doing now. It is coming up 25 years since this club won the European Cup. Why aren't we doing more to celebrate that? Fans say: 'We haven't even got a star over our badge to show we won it like the other clubs.' We can change that.'
We can change that, but still music to the ears of most of us fans, most 'fixes' for us aren't exactly the hardest things in the world to do are they!?
'I have met Martin O'Neill. He's fantastic. This was the man we wanted and I still think getting him is the most exciting part of the story. Martin knows there will be money available for transfers, but his analysis is what matters — what he needs, what he sees as an achievable rate of growth. You don't meddle with the top guys or they won't work for you. You can't get the best if you spend all day poking them in the ribs.'
COME ON THE VILLA!
Date:Sunday August 20 2006
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