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Lerner:"The Fans will always own Aston Villa" 2006


MikeMcKenna
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I realise there is a specific Randy Lerner thread but given the current situation, felt that it would be worthwhile reminding everyone of some of the comments that he made prior to taking over. This front page article was posted in August 2006 by villafan306 and deserves scrutiny in the light of the mess we are in!

I have always believed that Randy Lerner's heart was in the right place but desperately want him to take a lead and reflect on his own words in the first paragraph below:

"They need someone working as hard as possible to get the results they have been entrusted to get. If the fans don't see that you are going to lose their support."

News: Lion Posted by: villafan306 on Sunday, August 20, 2006 - 02:33 PM

Lerner speaks in detail about Villa for the first time.

The following quotes are from an interview with the News of the World printed this morning.

"The way I see it, people don't need some self-important guy running around the place telling everyone he owns it," said Lerner. "They need someone working as hard as possible to get the results they have been entrusted to get. If the fans don't see that you are going to lose their support.

Martin O'Neill is the saviour of this club — not me. If Aston Villa are to succeed, he will be the one that puts it up there again, not me.

I'm what you call the custodian. There have been plenty of custodians of Aston Villa since 1874 and if I can't make it work, I will do what the others did, move on and let someone else try."

So far so good - the word humble comes to mind. Some subtle digs at Ellis there, well not so subtle really!

"People like me come and go. The fans will always own Aston Villa because they never leave."

That will probably be the sentence that wins over the sceptical shareholders and fans.

"I can't say the trappings of ownership have ever interested me," he adds. "It is claiming credit where none is due. I won't let my kids walk around in Browns shirts because I don't want them saying: ‘Yeah, that's my dad's football club — he owns you.' That's the way to create little monsters.

I don't see the role at Villa as endowing me with anything other than a hell of a lot of responsibility. It's a very serious task and you have to be focused.

"Own is not necessarily a verb. You can't go in and own all day. ‘Hey, what time is it? I think I'll get down to Villa and own for an hour.'It never ends well when the owner wants everyone to know his name. I have not got the nerve to go on the pitch and wave to the fans."

Again, the man can do know wrong - he certainly knows the right things to say!

"I can't pretend to be Aston Villa through and through. I grew up a fan of English football, the way some Americans are, with these legendary colours and teams and the whole mythology around them.

I was in school in England in 1982 when Villa won the European Cup, so I remember it but I'm not going to tell you that was the beginning of any great love affair. That would be dishonest. But it is possible to take up something in your 30s or 40s that becomes a lifelong passion.

"Rather than bend the past to create some great fairytale I would rather show my commitment with what I am doing now.

It is coming up 25 years since this club won the European Cup. Why aren't we doing more to celebrate that? Fans say: ‘We haven't even got a star over our badge to show we won it like the other clubs.' We can change that.

So no "lifelong Villa fan" Randy Lerner, just "lifelong business man who listens to the fans" Randy Lerner.

That last part which has been put in bold is the bit which has certainly removed any doubt in my mind that Lerner is the man to take us forward (well there wasn't any doubt but I'm running out of ways to compliment the man!).

"I have met Martin O'Neill. He's fantastic. This was the man we wanted and I still think getting him is the most exciting part of the story.

Martin knows there will be money available for transfers, but his analysis is what matters — what he needs, what he sees as an achievable rate of growth. You don't meddle with the top guys or they won't work for you. You can't get the best if you spend all day poking them in the ribs."

This seems almost too good to be true! My opinion is that Randy Lerner is the man who will lead us into a successful era and no-one else can compete with what he has planned for us!

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I'm what you call the custodian. There have been plenty of custodians of Aston Villa since 1874 and if I can't make it work, I will do what the others did, move on and let someone else try."

This is the crux of the matter. He hasn't made it work as we are back where we were when he came in and he hasn't moved on.

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I don't think they are, though I respect anyone's right to feel differently. I feel he wants the Club to do well. I think he's basically made some bad choices, and yes judge people on what they do more than what they say, but I trust his intent and am rather less trusting of his judgement, but that could change.

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How can anyone think appointing a manager like Mcleish is ambitious or shows he wants the club to do well

Appointing Mcleish is at best admitting to being a lower half club it shows not one sign of wanting the club to do well. Sorry but "intent" has jack to do with it. Actions do

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It's spin. Spin, spin and more spin. The problem with spin is you can't keep it up forever, and when you fail to meet your targets it exposes you and makes you look incompetent.

Last night's appeal to the fans was just more unnecessary spin. A "stick together and we'll make it work" message is never going to work when the reason it is not working is because he doesn't give a **** about the thought or opinions of those he is appealing to. I don't give a flying **** how Randy feels about that.

He doesn't give a **** about how we have lived and breathed Villa for most of our lives, plumbing thousands of pounds of hard earned money into the club along the way.

You said it yourself, Randy. It's time to find an owner that will make the club successful.

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It was is and always shall be PR spin and bull shit. No substance just the magic man visiting town and selling us the alexia for youth. We were all sucked in , some of us realised sooner than others

Stick together is a great message but when was the last time he or krulak or faulkner ever stuck together with us?

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and would have stuck together when the fans, people with better footballing knowledge than Lerner, Faulkner, Krullak or Mcleish, said that Mcleish was a shit appointment and would take us down but they still appointed him saying our objections were based only on where he came from

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I remember hearing about MON quitting and instantly blaming Randy Lerner and wanting him out. By that night though I was turned full circle against MON thanks to the spin Krulak put on the whole story. He was damn good at it though, you have to give him that.

When the time came that Hitler himself couldn't have changed our perspective, he just quit, showing that he was here to change our minds, not listen to our thoughts and complaints.

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It was is and always shall be PR spin and bull shit. No substance just the magic man visiting town and selling us the alexia for youth. We were all sucked in , some of us realised sooner than others

Stick together is a great message but when was the last time he or krulak or faulkner ever stuck together with us?

I agree that nearly six years on his words seem empty but I also agree with Pete that he had the right intent but the big question is over his "judgement"

We will never know why the stupid decision to employ McLeish was made and over the next few weeks Lerner may come to rue the day!

Personally I would like him to seek a super rich buyer but doubt such an individual is in the wings. I might be wrong but I cannot see him accepting a huge loss to sell on.

Therefore we can only hope that he realises his error of judgement and reappraises his approach to Villa, gets rid of McLeish, hires a decent manager and gives him the backing needed. But he also needs back up his belief that the fans ultimately own the club with better leadership.

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Intent counts for nothing in football. It is a results game driven by fan expectations I'm afraid

I'm sure Ellis had the intent for us to win everything, he still does. He was judged on actions and so should Lerner

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