Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
American Lerner keen to improve Aston Villa
by Joe Addison, August 6th, 2008 7AM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

MOST READ
TAGS:  england

MOST COMMENTED

[TRANSFER TALK] Aston Villa's American owner Randy Lerner is set to hand Manager Martin O'Neill $60 million for summer transfers in hopes of improving on Villa's sixth-place finish last season and challenge the Premiership big four for a place in next year's Champions League.

Lerner's plans will be more music to the ears of Villa fans who have embraced the American since his takeover of the club in 2006. The 46-year-old Lerner has been praised for his approach to running the club, staying away from the spotlight and deferring to O'Neill on player signings.

Further endearing himself to the city of Birmingham, Lerner decided earlier this summer to forfeit $4 million worth of commercial endorsement that Premier League teams typically receive from shirt sponsorship. Instead, Villa will hand over that money to Acorns Children's Hospital and play with the word "Acorns" displayed across the team jersey.

This American experience at Villa is a far cry from what's happened at other Premier League clubs where American owners have proved to be a distraction.

When the Glazer family took over at Manchester United, fans were so incredulous that they formed a new team, FC United, which is currently rising through the lower leagues in England. Meanwhile, the Tom Hicks and George Gillett partnership at Liverpool has been largely ridiculed as a purely fiscal endeavor.

Lerner's right-hand man, former U.S. Marine Corps Commandant Charles Krulak, has made it clear that Lerner is financially and emotionally invested in the club

"This is more than business to him. Villa is a passion," he said.

Krulak also outlined Lerner's plans for the summer spending.

"If Martin O'Neill came to Randy and said 'I need £30 million for player X' and the player would fit into what we are trying to do, Randy would have his checkbook out before Martin could get past the player's name," he said. "Additionally he will be equally ready to fund the other players that Martin says he needs. Randy has never said 'no' to Martin. Randy is in it for the long term. He wants Europe, he wants winning football. He wants entertainment for the fans."

O'Neill, who has already signed American keepers Brad Friedel and Brad Guzan this summer, is weighing a number of options. Reading left back Nicky Shorey has been linked to the club, as has Middlesbrough defender Luke Young.

Steve Sidwell joined the club from Chelsea for $10 million earlier this summer, while Curtis Davies has made turned his season long loan to the club into a full time deal worth $16 million.

O'Neill cornered the market for American goalkeepers by paying Blackburn $4 million for Friedel, while Guzan signed for Villa in a $1.2 million transfer from MLS side Chivas USA.

Lerner was a huge factor in both players' decision to join the Birmingham club. Friedel was previously unsure whether he wanted to leave Blackburn, where he had started every league game for four consecutive years, but a meeting with the American owner quickly changed his mind.

"Once I had sat in the same room as Martin O'Neill and the Villa owner Randy Lerner it was an easy decision," he said.

Guzan was similarly impressed.

"Just from seeing the facilities and the vision that the club has with Randy Lerner, I figure the future is so bright," he said. "I think it's going to continue to get better. Lerner has set the bar and he knows what it takes and I'm excited to be a part of the club.

Meanwhile, the Gareth Barry saga continues. Liverpool missed Aston Villa's imposed deadline to sign the player but O'Neill has signaled that he may still let the 27-year-old England international leave in a deal worth $36 million.

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has indicated that he would like Barry to join the squad in time for a preseason friendly against Lazio on Friday.



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
Video Pick: Lewy volleys twice for Bayern    
Bayern Munich is the Bundesliga "fall champion" thanks to a 2-1 comeback win over Freiburg on ...
What They're Saying: Joe Greenspan    
"Luckily, the higher ups in the Navy and the government made the decision to say we ...
Orlando City: Kaka has no plans of leaving    
Kaka says offseason reports out of Brazil that he'll leave Orlando City at the end of ...
Canada: Ten MLS players named for Bermuda friendly    
Toronto FC teammates Jonathan Osorio and Tosiant Ricketts lead a Canada squad that includes younger players ...
MLS Expansion: Tuesday is key day for stadium projects    
MLS expansion bidders are rushing to garner support for their stadium plans before the league's Jan. ...
MLS Business: MNUFC hits Target with jersey sponsor    
That famous bulls-eye known to shoppers around the country will be prominently displayed on an MLS ...
What They're Saying: Arsene Wenger    
"Offside is what makes the team be together. It's a big quality of a team sport. ...
MLS Moves: Galaxy uses TAM again on Joao Pedro    
In the space of just a few days, the Galaxy has completely revamped its midfield. After ...
Datebook: MLS preseason schedules    
MLS players will begin returning to their clubs as soon as Saturday. For the day-by-day preseason ...
Video Pick: Coaches make fools of themselves    
Honduras coach Jorge Luis Pinto and his Panama counterpart Bolillo Gomez fail the role-model test when ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives