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 Gillettpartnership at Liverpool has been largely ridiculed as a purely fiscal endeavor.

Lerner's right-hand man, former U.S. Marine Corps CommandantCharles 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 Friedeland 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 Sidwelljoined 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 Barrysaga 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
What They're Saying: Sunil Gulati    
"Our base-line [for average attendance] was 30,000; 35,000 would've been great, and 40,000 beyond our wildest ...
What They're Saying: Investment banker Keith Harris    
"It was a shock result. There are four players that we can reflect on and the ...
What They're Saying: Megan Rapinoe    
"Gay bars are so important for me and my community. That could have been me. That ...
What They're Saying: Gudmundur Benediktsson    
"It's been quite strange and actually hectic because the phone hasn't stopped ringing. But I'm really ...
MLS: Top fives in Fan XI voting remain steady    
The MLS All-Star Game will be played July 28 in San Jose and every few days ...
MLS Countdown: Rivals wrap up season series early    
The MLS campaign has yet to reach its midpoint yet already teams are facing each other ...
USA-Colombia: Lots at stake in third-place game    
The USA must quickly get back in the saddle after its disastrous semifinal against Argentina when ...
U.S. women: Crunch time to get down to 18    
U.S. women's national team coach Jill Ellis has recalled injured stars Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe, ...
Video Pick: 90 seconds of Messi Magic    
The folks at Fox Soccer created a 90-second montage of Lionel Messi's best touches in Argentina's ...
NASL: Kranjcar leaves Cosmos for Rangers    
Croatian midfielder Niko Kranjcar, who played seven NASL spring season games after joining the New York ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives