Michael Neville Withdraws
Statement by Michael Neville and Aston Villa Investments Limited (AVIL) concerning the takeover bid for Aston Villa Football Club
For Immediate Release
Since the formal bid was submitted by Randy Lerner to the Board of AVFC on the 14th August 2006 and subsequently accepted and endorsed, the consortium and I have spent many hours considering our position and whether to push forward with a bid or to bow out gracefully.
I did say publicly a few weeks ago that I hoped to put an official offer in for the club, but if my approach wasn`t successful, that my overriding wish was that someone would gain control who had the overall resources to take the club forward, and that they would have my absolute and total support. All I have ever wanted is to see Aston Villa return to their rightful place competing for honours both domestically and in Europe.
I have worked extremely hard for the last year to fulfil the dream of being involved with Aston Villa football club, and whilst the financial structure and backing was there to complete a transaction, the structure of that financing was not acceptable to the consortium or me.
It is clear that the overwhelming majority of supporters believe that Randy Lerner`s bid offers Aston Villa Football Club the most exciting future and a potential return to glory. After so many years of disappointment and mediocrity the ever-loyal Villa supporters deserve to see the club achieving the highest honours. I have come to the conclusion that together with the brilliant Martin O`Neill as manager, Randy Lerner and his team have the right credentials, the necessary finances and the pooled resources to restore the club to where all of us supporters want to see it, and with that in mind, I have decided to end my consortiums approach in order not to jeopardise the takeover in any way. I would also call upon all other potential bidders to stand aside and allow the will of the supporters to prevail. The transfer window will close soon and Martin O`Neill needs as much time as possible to strengthen the squad, and prepare for the new campaign.
I have tried to be been open and honest throughout this campaign, and have enjoyed my communications with the fans and trustee groups and would thank them for their advice and encouragement in the takeover attempt. I hope that in some way the AVIL consortium will be seen at the very least as acting as a catalyst in bringing forward other bidders.
I would also encourage everyone to thank Doug Ellis for his massive contribution to Aston Villa, he has been at the helm for a long time, and this club has the most fantastic foundation of any Premiership club, its there to be built upon, and to deliver the dream that he has begun and worked and toiled at for so long.
I want to formally extend to Randy Lerner and his team the very best of luck and would ask him to help take the club back to the very top. We Villans are very proud of the Claret and Blue and will expect to see Villa challenging the top four once again. I would also remind him that the fans of Aston Villa are second to none, and deserve nothing but respect for standing by the club during its lean years. I don`t think Randy Lerner will have ever experienced anything as exciting as a "full to the rafters" Villa Park.
I regret not being the person to bring forward the winning bid but I am confident the incoming group will do great things for our club both now and in the future.
Issued by Michael Neville on behalf of Aston Villa Investments Limited (AVIL)