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Randy Lerner On Aston Villa

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.'


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The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday August 20 2006

Time: 10:35AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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20/08/2006 10:38:00

makes for happy reading doesn't it? Same as O'Neill in his interview yesterday, would take no praise at all, put it all down to the players. Bit different to Ellis and DOL last season eh?! Still, we can look forward now and not hark back!
The Fear
Report Abuse
20/08/2006 10:47:00

I have tears in my eyes.
Report Abuse
20/08/2006 10:52:00

Wow! If DOL had Lerner's PR agent he'd still have a job :D
Report Abuse
20/08/2006 10:55:00

o i think im in love! randy lerners claret and blue army!
Belfast Villain
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20/08/2006 10:57:00

What can I say that hasn't been said? I genuinely beleive that this guy is for real as if he were not, this PR would backfire so hard it would make the crowds sing for the return of Doug(bizzar thought). Not yet a legend, as described by murph, but he and O'Neill are starting things the right way to become true Villa legends.
Villain Of The North
Report Abuse
20/08/2006 11:11:00

Padfield QC you better not F this up
Report Abuse
20/08/2006 11:13:00

A few digs at douglarse in there, dont push your luck randy mate!! Ellis hasnt sold to you yet!
Report Abuse
20/08/2006 11:17:00

If Lerner isn't genuine he must be the greatest con-artist in the world.
Report Abuse
20/08/2006 11:23:00

What a great bloke.
the flying villain
Report Abuse
20/08/2006 11:26:00

thats it my mind is now made up I want Randy and no one else to take charge of villa get lost everyone else
Report Abuse
20/08/2006 11:40:00

douglarse is an arse
the flying villain
Report Abuse
20/08/2006 11:42:00

What he says is music to my ears. I hope it all goes through without a hitch, as quickly as possible.
Report Abuse
20/08/2006 11:56:00

Hungover and just read this and its sobered me up. This bloke seems a honest guy and speaks a lot of sense. Get those share certificates returned ASAP and get Randy Villa established!
Report Abuse
20/08/2006 12:21:00

'I'm not misty eyed, I've got something in my eye'
Report Abuse
20/08/2006 13:02:00

n effect Doug has sold as unless another offer comes in for a minimum of 5% more, Doug is now legally obliged to sell, he has entered a binding contract and resigned his post as chairman. The questions remaining are: Who will buy the club and will the remainder of the shareholders sell? The fact that Doug is selling is indisputable.
Villain Of The North
Report Abuse
20/08/2006 13:06:00

he also says he's thinking of having the ground name changed in order to bring in revenue but does say that he will look at it if there is no support for the name change
Report Abuse
20/08/2006 13:32:00

that article makes me happy
Report Abuse
20/08/2006 14:32:00

tall_paul83, you're not a tall guy named Paul are you by any chance? Borne in 1983 perhaps? :o)
Villain Of The North
Report Abuse
20/08/2006 14:41:00

As a Clevelander, I'm happy to corroborate on the reports that you have been receiving. Keep in mind that he does indeed have very expensive public-relations consultants honing his image. Nevertheless, his actions with regard to the Cleveland Browns may provide a decent indication of what Villa backers have in store. Regarding remaining true to the history of Aston Villa: When the previous owner moved the Browns from Cleveland to Baltimore, the city was without a team for several years. The Lerner family, when they created the New Cleveland Browns, made sure that the traditions and character of the team and its relationship to the fans remained the same. Regarding the possible re-naming of Villa Park: the stadium here is named "Cleveland Browns Stadium", which is fairly unique in that it is not named for a corporation. The Lerner family did sell the naming rights of the stadium's entrance gates to companies (for example, one walks through "National City Bank Gate" instead of "Gate A". I doubt that the name of Villa Park would change, especially given its long history (compared to Browns Stadium, which is only 7 years old). More likely, he may choose to sell the naming rights of the stands or choose some other, less onerous option. Regarding his ownership style and manner": Lerner is indeed fairly low-key. He hires good front-office personnel, and allows them to do their work. By no means does he interfere with their jobs, nor does he crave media attention. However, he will not hesitate to fire high-level employees that do not meet his and the fans' expectations. The salary structure of the NFL is such that each team is required to spend about the same amount of money for salaries (no Chelskis here), so it is difficult to know what he will do in a more liberal salary situation. That's about it. I'm a Man City backer myself, but am looking forward to seeing how Villa will do. I imagine that there will be more than a few Browns fans who will be wearing the claret and blue, and do not be surprised if you catch a few folks in your park wearing dog-masks (it's an odd Browns tradition).
Report Abuse
20/08/2006 14:47:00

Pretty much all he's said since he arrived on the scene I've agreed with. He comes across as the ideal guy to follow on from this present regime and correct the huge mess that they will leave. The only thing that he seems intent on doing that I dont agree with? Keeping Stride on.
Report Abuse
20/08/2006 16:08:00

If this is all spin then i am caught hook line and sinker and it's the most beautiful lie i've ever heard! This guy is just amazing and i already have complete respect for him as a person and a business man. The futures bright, i haven't made any crap puns since he's come in as we don't need to be sarcastic and self affacing since Randy's in the picture. Look back at comments on past articles and then on the present ones. He's given us the gift i always wanted as a Villa fan. Hope. God bless ya Mr Lerner. Up the Villa
Report Abuse
20/08/2006 18:14:00

If what avogadro says is correct im looking forward to having a Budweiser Stand compared to the Doug Ellis Stand.
Report Abuse
20/08/2006 19:59:00

glensider - perhaps keeping stride on till his own men absorb all his useful knowledge will be good, he has a wealth of experience at villa. Even if he has been a firm part of the ellis regime.
Report Abuse
21/08/2006 13:37:00

"O'Neill is the saviour of this club, not me!" - No pressure then eh Martin? lol
Report Abuse
21/08/2006 19:34:00


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