Tell it like it really is, Randy.
Following Aston Villa’s relegation from the Premier League last weekend, American owner Randy Lerner has penned an emotional open letter on the club website.
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Lerner, the former owner of the Cleveland Browns, has been trying to sell Villa for the last few years but has failed to offload the former European Champions and fans have called for him to leave all season.
Villa’s fans feel like they have been failed with star players like Fabian Delph, Christian Benteke, Ashley Young and James Milner have all been sold during Lerner’s reign. In recent games they’ve been protesting against Lerner by holding up banners and also booing their own players.
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The Midlands club have amassed just 16 points from 34 games this season and have just three wins to their name. This is bad. Really bad.
In the statement below Lerner lets rip and despite reports suggesting a consortium of investors based in Europe and the UK are close to buying Villa, he made no remarks about that.
Lerner did make one thing clear: he is to blame for Villa’s relegation from the top-flight for the first time since 1987.
A nagging sense of inevitability set in against Leicester City despite the late lead we enjoyed. Can’t say why although I doubt I’m alone…
How many seasons after all can one hold on and hope to slide through? That is not Aston Villa. That kind of desperate existence is totally unacceptable, unbearable and totally incompatible with Villa’s glorious past. That is not what, or why, I looked to get involved back then and it is why I’ve looked for some time to make a change. I can say certainly in good faith that I have tried to sell since my May 2014 announcement and put our beloved club in better suited hands – but that hasn’t happened.
I write to Villa supporters to make clear that this relegation lies at my feet and no one else’s. And because I believe in Aston Villa and know it will come back stronger and more able, with love and care for the community it serves, with the edge and attitude it must have to represent our history and tradition. Memories of Acorns on the shirt, and Ashley Young scoring a late winner against Everton still romantically nourish me. I know Villa will return better, stronger.
I will continue to try to put the club into worthy hands as I have, and also do my best to position Villa for the quickest possible return to its rightful place among England’s elite.