From 2015 FA Cup finalist to being shutout by their U21’s and facing sure relegation, what happened to Aston Villa? It can all be traced back to August 14th, 2006 when Randy Lerner, former owner of the NFL Cleveland Browns, was named majority owner of Aston Villa FC.
Randy Lerner bought the club for an estimated 62.6 million pounds. Cleveland Brown fans turned Aston Villa supporters warned the Villa faithful that all Lerner wanted was the lousy TV revenue.
A year after him taking over the club, Lerner appointed Martin O’Neill as manager. Things were looking up and optimistic for Villa fans and got some of the success they deserve. Along with O’Neill’s appointment, Villa got a new badge, sponsor, and kits. Under O’Neill, Villa had two Wembley trips both losses. One in the League Cup final to Manchester United and an FA Cup semifinals exit at the hands of Liverpool. On top of some recognizable league finishes and no relegation fears. Just when you thought things were looking up for Villa, they went sour real quick.
A mere five days prior to the 2010-2011 season starting, manager Martin O’Neill resigned effective immediately. In a frantic week, Villa appointed reserve team manager Kevin MacDonald as caretaker manager and later appointed Gerard Houllier. The only reasoning O’Neill gave for his sudden departure was his disappointment in lack of transfer funds made available. With just missing out on Europa League qualifiers every year under O’Neill, maybe he was only one good signing away from making a European Cup run and returning Villa to where they once were back in 1981. If Lerner wasn’t stingy, who knows, Martin O’Neill could have a bronze statue outside Villa park by now.
Following O’Neill’s resignation, Villa faced three consecutive years of poor managment, little funds, money lost, poor league finishes, and no European football. Enough was enough for Lerner who put the club up for sale in May 2014 for an estimated 200 million pounds. Aston Villa after 26 games played are currently last in the Premier League with only three wins and 16 points all together.
I think Remi Garde has a lot of heart and shouldn’t be taking any of this blame. He should see out his contract, stabilize the club and pray along with all other Villa fans the team gets a new owner or Lerner starts splashing the cash to save this once great club.
By Jonathan Molik, TFN Columnist on 23/02/2016 at 22:00