Having spoken to the club this afternoon, it was confirmed to MOMS that a buyer for Aston Villa isn’t in place at the moment. If this is the starting point for the inevitable move into new ownership for the club, then certainly nothing is going to be completed in the next few days, as some fans expected. Just to dot the i’s and cross the t’s on such a deal would take around six weeks, which suggests the club could be severely compromised going forward over the summer preseason period when it comes to planning for next season and beyond.
Many Villa supporter’s wishful thinking when reading the latest statement from Lerner today, was that behind-the-scenes a buyer must be in place. I include myself in that group. The rumours have been rattling along for a while now and Lerner has acting like a man who’s preparing a club for sale for the past year. The fastest case scenario for when Villa would have a new owner is the tail end of June. By the sounds of it though, I wouldn’t be totally surprised if Lerner was still the Villa Owner come the start of the 2014/15 season.
The forgotten man of Lerner’s statement and all the ownership talk is current Villa boss Paul Lambert. To some, rumours of a Villa takeover meant that Lambert was a dead man walking, but with news that no buyer is in place, it suggests he still has a pulse.
Lambert now finds himself in no man’s land. The only chance that Lambert had of winning back the Villa supporters was early investment in the kind of players that capture football fan’s imaginations, namely players that cost a few bob. The club may put across the idea to MOMS that it’s business as usual until a new owner comes in, but the reality is after a couple of seasons of tight ‘parameters’, Lerner isn’t suddenly going to sanction players that cost 8-10 million now. Also, football agents are going to tell players to avoid the uncertainly at Villa, if the low wages hadn’t already put them off.
With Lambert having one eye on the managerial trap door when a new owner comes in, the Villa boss is admittedly in a very difficult position. Will his heart still be in it? With the cloud of new ownership shadowing his every step. He can forget any talk of a new contract for now. If Lambert ends up with a new contract at Villa, it would be some phoenix from flames routine to achieve it.
There is no doubt he will start to get increasing sympathy for his predicament though, as the weeks pass.
If the club is really starting from scratch in terms of prospective buyers (which I still find hard to believe), then this club will be doing nothing but tread water until it is resolved. Considering the club’s close calls with relegation in the past four seasons, these are now potentially dangerous times.
Yesterday, when discussing the various permutations of what Lerner’s statement would be, this limbo scenario of announcing the club was for sale but without any buyer in place, was the most worrying of all.
Individuals or companies able to buy football clubs are few and far between. It could take time. Months, even years. We could be a club in suspended animation for a longer period of time than would be healthy to get this club back where it belongs.
I for one can’t take another relegation battle, so if anyone knows a wealthy person who wants a fantastic club to own, please send them Randy’s way. UTV