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Aston Villa Is A Business After All

Aston Villa is a Business after all

Remember Villa fans, Aston Villa is still a business, especially for Randolph Lerner

Yes Lerner has done a few things Doug Ellis wouldn't but he still sees Villa as a business and has done much to improve its value as a saleable item.

In fact it could be construed that cutting all the staff, including players, to the barest bones has been an astute management ploy, even the highly paid CEO has gone. He bought the club at a discount , immediately improved the training facilities, and has done all that is required to achieve stability on the field

This allied to better PR has improved Villa's 'image' which helps in improving the brand. His next step is to negotiate a better sponsorship deal, and while he waits he's sold enough of a dream, ably helped by Martin O'Neill's success, to improve gates beyond those of Ellis' wildest dreams.

In theory he's done all he needs for now until the sponsorship deal is finalised, he has no need to push the club on to Europe. He knows that a European League qualification will mean a much larger and sustained investment in players, more back room staff, bigger expenses, ie a huge increase in costs.

He's no fool and although he may proffer the image of loving England, football and everything Villa, in reality Villa remains a business, one where he knows already, if he sold it tomorrow, he'd get maybe 1.5-2 times what he paid for it and that in the next decade its hardly likely to lose much if any of its present value.

He's not under financial pressure from borrowings to maximise his investment, like some, all he needs is for a continued improvement with no major catastrophes

Remember Villa had under Ellis a reputation as a financially sound club just able to maintain their PL status, often flirting with Europe, never sustaining a top half finish.

Atkinson, Little,Gregory, even O'Leary flirted with Cup finishes, Europe etc, but were never able to achieve consistency, it was always boom or bust.

Lerner's only need is to produce a stable, viable club, and to do that a EL finish is too disrupting a factor,even a European qualification may just be too early as he sees it.

For now costs are under control and not excessive, gates are up, so accessory sales are up, the majority of fans are happy, the inherent value of his investment has increased, probably dramatically, so we have one happy owner and thank God for him.

Why risk it all by spending on higher value players, why stop players like Mellberg, Barry moving on to bigger more ambitious clubs, if retaining them moves the balance to a higher risk area.

What is the point especially in the January window of spending on high value players, unlike last season when there was a small risk of a relegation battle this year there is no need

Any finish above 10th will keep most happy.

It suits O'Neill, I fear he doesn't want the hassle yet, he's not prepared for it, he gives no impression of wanting bigger value players, especially International class potential stars, or even big name UK born players.

It most certainly suits Lerner, despite any protestations he or those associated to him might say to the contrary. Remember first and foremost Lerner is a businessman and Aston Villa is an investment.

I'm thankful he chose us, I wish him well, I admire his methods, but I appreciate his position too, although as a born and bred Villa fan I don't have to like it.


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The Journalist

Writer: avfc48 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday February 5 2008

Time: 11:23AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Wow, that's a scary article. Makes me feel like we're not destined for the success we crave? Maybe just the way I've read it.
Report Abuse
05/02/2008 11:29:00

Agree it is a business. Best way to give the business top value is to get it competing at the top level. I understand the argument that top 10 is nice safe land to be in but I don't see Randy setting out a policy to do that. Only time will tell, my feeling is they want to return the club to where it once was and won't be happy until it is. If that isn't the case, I'll be deeply shocked and sadened but as long as the club is left in a better state than when it was bought, we will all still be winners I'd think?
The Fear
Report Abuse
05/02/2008 11:32:00

Of course it's a business but any suggestion that Randy would tell MON not to finish top 6 is laughable in my humble opinion.
Report Abuse
05/02/2008 11:37:00

There may be truth in that article but then again there may not be. I prefer to look from a 'glass half-full' perspective. Until we get concrete evidence that our ambition is top 10 only I will be happy for progress on and off the pitch each year. If Randy is such a hot-shot (and he could well be), he will know that qualification for the Champions League at Villa will send the club, its gates, turnover and profile into the stratosphere. With all due respect, we are not Pompey or Blackburn. We are a sleeping giant and the alarm may just about to go off!
Report Abuse
05/02/2008 11:38:00

Your response to Malc's belicose epistle is closer to the mark, J. I do not have time for this crazy cynicism - it's neither accurate nor gaining Malc any friands. He must be getting desparate.
Report Abuse
05/02/2008 11:38:00

I read the first two paragraphs of this article and knew instantly without scrolling down who wrote it.... I got that far and i've not bothered reading the rest... Totally smacks of finding fault just for the sake of it. You can't write an article based with no proof of your argument (ie...lerner has no interest in european football) and pass it off as fact. It's bull.
Report Abuse
05/02/2008 11:45:00

It is a business and RL has already stated(on several occasions) that you do not make money from EPL teams. The only way would be to build slowly towards what Man U & Arsenal have. In the end sevaral clubs are throwing money at players and will in 3 years time be gone or fighting for mid-table finishes. These clubs do not have the foundation/capacity to keep paying the players wages in the long run. Villa are preparing to build a fan base/stadium which can and will forever be able to pay the wages - just like Man U. I think MON, RL and the other staff have far more experience - and i for one would prefer these guys over any other chairman/manager within the EPL.
Report Abuse
05/02/2008 11:51:00

First defeat in a while, and this article was pretty predictable. Well written, some truth in it, but as usual totally negative. Having been at Fulham, I am not very happy either, but I prefer to look at the wider picture and be positive. I do think we may regret not getting one or two more players through the door in January though.
Report Abuse
05/02/2008 11:52:00

Both Lerner and MON are highly competative and so Lerner wants to be seen and known as the best U.S. owner in the prem, and MON wants to be recognised as a great manager. They might have their own timescales but I believe they want to not just qualify for things but to win them. I think in their hearts they both see second place as second rate and that is what drives them. However what is right is that if you are going to succeed you have to have all of the non footballing things in place that a really big club in Europe needs.
Report Abuse
05/02/2008 11:58:00

Why is it negative ? The General has said that the clubs finances have been set to mirror the expected finish of the club. if we were so keen as so many of you say to gain a top 4 finish, why did O'neill only spend when Cahill's money come in, why did he say what he did to the BBC about spending. Lergy, thanks for your destructive slag off, why not address the questions raised, why just write the suggestions down rather than dismiss anything I write Are you so afraid I might be right, you have to try and stop or discredit all I say, pathetic, Sarge, Lerner has already made money with the Villa and at no time did I suggest the long term plan is not to achieve a top 4 finish, just that for now a top 10 is what is expected.
Report Abuse
05/02/2008 12:05:00

Malc, a plan for a top 10 finish simply doesn't work, it's like a team playing for a draw. The line between a 18th place and a 6th is a fine one, just look at teams like newcastle or spurs for example. The smallest tweaks can see a team which was challenging for a CL place, like we are now, to a team which is struggling to get clear of the relegation places. For Lerner to be able to sit at this line I say is impossible, my evidence is shown by the fact that teams cannot consitantly be placed in the 5th to 8th slots from one season to the next and almost every season one of these teams which were challenging one year will have a flirt with relegation the next.your article is based up suspicion and guess work, all the product of your overactive negative imagination. May I suggest finding solice in a heroin addiction or similar.
Report Abuse
05/02/2008 12:18:00

avfc48 this article has surpassed any other nonsense you have ever written well done.
Report Abuse
05/02/2008 12:23:00

Biggest load of tripe I've read for sometime........... Firstly......................."In theory he's done all he needs for now until the sponsorship deal is finalised, he has no need to push the club on to Europe. He knows that a European League qualification will mean a much larger and sustained investment in players, more back room staff, bigger expenses, ie a huge increase in costs"......................... ((what about the revenue generated by television, attendances, prize money, reaching out to a wider audience who may buy murchandise)).........................."Why risk it all by spending on higher value players, why stop players like Mellberg, Barry moving on to bigger more ambitious clubs, if retaining them moves the balance to a higher risk area."..............((Why bother playing in the EPL we might aswell not bother at all, everyday life is a risk))............"I'm thankful he chose us, I wish him well, I admire his methods, but I appreciate his position too, although as a born and bred Villa fan I don't have to like it."...............(( we would be stupid not to notice RL is a business man, and a successfull one at that. we are all glad that he chose us, but it's just unfortunate AVFC can't choose who supports it.)) We are all disapointed at the lack of signings but the constant negativity from some supporters amazes me, and most of the negativity has no substance to back it other than what is printed in the press and specualtion. UTV
Report Abuse
05/02/2008 12:43:00

i had the pleasure of meeting randy lerner at the fulham game as he parked very close to us, and we then walked down to the ground together - i was amazed at his reaction to me, i simply called his name out when he was about 3 metres infront of me, he stopped turned (while with his son and another bloke who appeared to be his minder), waited for us to catch him up and put his hand out to me 'how ya doing guys'?...followed by 'a pleasure to meet you, how was your journey down here today?'. we spoke openley about the game and fulham, he has a very good grasp of the game already and was enthralled at my opinions on villa and fulham. it seemed like he was more interested talking to us than the other way round - an unbelieveable guy and considering i was shaking the hand of our owner and a multi billionairre he was incredibly humble!!!!!! my mate asked him about the transfer window and he didnt bottle it either 'i say the same to everyone, you cant mess with a guy like martin, you have to let him do what you are paying him for' also he admitted we were in for more players and they were very busy up until the wire but admitted himself it was really difficult this january. after meeting him - which made my day, i have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that we have an amazing chairman and owner - we simply couldnt ask for more. once he had spoken to us, he stated signing autographs for other fans just as the players coach arrived!!!!!!!!!!!!! brilliant bloke, absolutely brilliant. cheers randy.
Report Abuse
05/02/2008 13:08:00

I don't think anyone would argue that we have the best Chairman in the league at the moment.
Report Abuse
05/02/2008 13:38:00

I meant to add that i get the impression that RL would prefer MON to more agressive in the transfer market.
Report Abuse
05/02/2008 13:40:00

Good point. I think Randy is itching to back MON in the transfer market, but our leader is very cautious (maybe too cautious at times). He wiil only sign someone when he is 100% sure. Sometimes, maybe, you have to gamble on 95%. Just maybe. Still positive. Should Erik Lund get a call up into the full squad as reserve right back? Very impressed with him and also look at the quality of the current youth team.
Report Abuse
05/02/2008 13:52:00

avfc48 once again a thought provoking artical, one that would fit with the 5 year plan. But as for the Owner not wanting European football I really do think you are wide of the mark. Aston Villa is a business and the more games played, shown on TV, more gate recepits the more cash generated. I am sure Randy Lerner and the management will be waiting to see if European Football in on offer before looking for a new sponsor. Good artical giving one mans opinion of Aston Villas current management stratergy and policy for the future.
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05/02/2008 14:20:00

here we go again, where did I say Randy doesn't want European football? we have this 5 year plan I'm told what is in it ? Anyone of those above with their negative views on what I've written tell me? Anyone else? Perhaps part of the plan is we achieve a top 10 placing this year, gain the big sponsorship deal we want, and then spend to push on next year for a top 6 finish. Then the year after we spend bigger, using the increased gates receipts, increased revenue from not being last on MOTD and push on to try and gain a top 4 finish. Lerner is not a speculator, O'Neill does not gamble, especially on high priced players, so its more logical that rather than risk the expenditure clubs like Spurs, West ham have and risk injuries killing off expectations. They have maybe just played it more carefully. Makes good business logic. well for some at least flame on
Report Abuse
05/02/2008 15:11:00

"although as a born and bred Villa fan I don't have to like it." SURPRISE! av48 doesn't like something. I'm not sure if you looked at the league table lately, but we are in 6th place (and deservedly so). You should keep articles like this as emergency toilet paper, as they are otherwise useless.
Report Abuse
05/02/2008 16:14:00

Some good points made and some that not a lot will agree with but very debateable and constructive in the long run even if not the intention.
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05/02/2008 16:40:00

Can I just point out that he bought the club it was teetering on relegation. He saw areas for improvment the sale price of £63 was in accordance with where the club was, cheap as chips in todays value. He's a clever bloke and will only do what best for Villa i'm sure of that. Yes if he wanted to sell it he'll get his investment back and more but thats only becuase he wants a successful business. When the club was floated it showed that it was a business now we got one person who owns it and does really care for it's future.
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05/02/2008 17:26:00

Your final statement av48 tells it all. he is a business man who is and will continue to nurture he investment. The thing is it would be commercial suicide to reach the CL because we would need to invest vast amounts of money in new players. not mention numbers of players who would undoubtedly disrupt the squad. it is always more sensible to grow slowly because the whole club grow at the same rate. I know all the villa fans out there want success and they want it yesterday. but short term success only leads to long term failiure. keep growing slowly is the answer. we are victims of our own success.
Report Abuse
05/02/2008 17:48:00

Ha! One loss in 9 and looook who pops up to doom monger! Bored! Insert your own expletive: AVFC48 is "?????????? ???????". As soon as the match ended I thought: AVFC48'll be getting ready to write some sort of undermining, half-accusatory, semi-biased artice. Oh, and I knew that he'd write it in such a way as to be able to backout of any opposite views...and we're PATHETIC??? Have a day off son.
Report Abuse
05/02/2008 17:59:00

I think he just does to incite a riot on Vital Villa must admit it's entertaining. I do like his articles ha ha
Report Abuse
05/02/2008 18:09:00

Why beat around the bush, you may aswell just slag them off rather than semi praising them and then moaning in the same breath. Didn't hear from you when we were unbeaten.
Report Abuse
05/02/2008 18:33:00

ha ha that name avfc48hasaboner4MON
Report Abuse
05/02/2008 18:51:00

There are a lot of 48's views (re Villa) that I disagree with, but I did not read this as a particularly negative article, I believe the author may have being looking at ways to try to explain what level(in his view) the club were at, and how he feels things may pan out. In all honesty it was thought provoking and might I suggest 48 should not be villified for it. (pleasingly it did not appear to contain the usual sarcasm)
Report Abuse
05/02/2008 19:39:00

Support the team, go to matches, get angry when they play poorly, be elated when they win, criticize, praise, paint your house claret and blue, call the dog/cat Macka, Gareth or Little, complain about ticket prices, but STOP PRETENDING YOU'RE A FECKIN' MIND READER and FIND SOMETHING PRODUCTIVE TO DO WITH YOUR FREE TIME..... AVFC48 - you are so predictable....
Report Abuse
05/02/2008 20:57:00

Interesting, thought provoking article, from a business perspective I understand the stance you are coming from, but, putting the reins on to slow growth IMO does not make sound business sense when you have the wealth and the skills needed to back up such a push, a push that would generate an increase in the clubs profile with the obvious benefits of attracting the right calibre of player and the associated increase in revenue. From what little I know of Mr Lerner he wants to be sat in his seat watching us play in Euro competitions
Report Abuse
06/02/2008 09:39:00

Actually a very good article I thought by '48, certainly thought provoking, which of course every decent article should be. Cant say I agree with it all, but '48, as always, provides food for thought, consideration, and evaluation.
Report Abuse
06/02/2008 16:44:00

Had to read this article a couple of times to try and grasp exactly what it was meant to convey. So, articulate - yes; superficially persuasive - yes; insightful and well thought through? - no. If you are of the view that sport and business do not mix happily then any assessment of the activity of well-run top flight club will look like an unhappy compromise. What that narrow outlook misses is that being successful in the Premier League now needs great sporting prowess AND great commercial skill. No-one invests in football to make serious money. It's a complete minefield and not controllable in a traditional business sense. So the implication that RL is only investing in aspects of the club where he can get a decent return and keeping a lid on anything more risky is just naive. So you're fed up we're not Chelsea? Say it outright rather than wrapping your opinions up in nice-sounding but ultimately empty business-style analysis. This club is being built on Spock lines - live long and prosper - so be grateful for the success it will bring.
Report Abuse
06/02/2008 23:06:00

This has really stuck in my throat and I’ve just posted the following on the petition “To those currently at the head of our game, remember that your tenure is brief and we the supporters were here before you and will be here long after you. You may feel you can ignore us with the cash of the TV and the corporate world that floods our game; but when this fashion fades, as they always do, and you need us once more it will be us the fans that will be the focus for football once more and it will be us the fans that will asked to judge and record your actions for posterity. We could ask you not do this for football, for its heritage or for its future but we know this would fall on ears made deaf by greed. So we ask you to do this for your own selfish worth. Please listen to us, the common supporter and prevent yourselves being seen in the history books as the people who destroyed football.” However truth is the greedy sods in charge will take one look at the petition and happily ignore it because they will claim it isn’t official and does not represent all fans or the clubs. I for one fully support the petition but I think we could do more and to my mind the only way to get some weight behind this is to send these types of comments directly to the Chairman and CE’s of our clubs. We know the premier league doesn’t give flying F*** about the fans because of the Sky money but a lot of the clubs still see the fans as a good cash source if nothing else! and some, like Mr Lerner I think, actually recognise that the football heritage the fans represent is very important for its own sake. Mr Fear any chance we could collate all the views and send them to the big boss? Perhaps we could rally all the vital sites to do the same!
Report Abuse
11/02/2008 20:09:00

Ooops sorry ignore the above wrong article!!!
Report Abuse
11/02/2008 20:21:00


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