Big buys no guarantee, says Lerner

Aston Villa owner backs O'Neill to achieve success that money alone cannot buy

Randy Lerner, the Aston Villa owner, has insisted that financial backing alone cannot guarantee success. Lerner was responding after being asked whether Villa would have to spend more money to compete with the likes of Manchester City and Tottenham next season in the battle for a European place.

Villa clinched a Europa League spot by finishing sixth in the Premier League this season but City and Spurs lost out to Fulham in the fight to join them in the revamped Uefa Cup. Lerner has already pledged to provide Martin O'Neill with funds for new players this summer but he claimed: "You see clubs spend a lot of money and they aren't always successful. I don't know if straight spending equals success.

"Of course, there is no question that if you are going to remain ambitious, then you have to bring in better players or top players. I think we do remain eager to do that. On the other hand, we are aware of other factors that do drive and bring success. I think that is serious because both the clubs you name [Tottenham and Manchester City] didn't finish where they would have hoped."

Lerner was content with Villa's achievements during the past season despite a late fade-out ending hopes of securing Champions League football. He said: "How do I view this season? I am very happy with what we achieved. I think it was another season of progress. I wasn't disappointed not to achieve the Champions League position. It is out there, it is a long-term ambition, and it has been a very exciting season but we did great with what we have. I was not disappointed with the way the season tailed off. I think it happens. In this business you are going to go through those ups and downs. That was one of them. I actually thought we did a pretty good job of getting through it and ending on a strong note."

Lerner is pleased with the impact O'Neill has made at Villa at the end of his third season at the helm. He said: "I think the three years have been superb. We have improved steadily and qualified for Europe two years on the row. Martin has done an excellent job. I think Martin has bought into the club. I think he has emotionally invested. He has bought into me and my ambitions to some extent."

James Milner has shrugged off fears of suffering from footballing burn-out and believes a successful European Under-21 Championship campaign can only stand him in good stead if he breaks into the full England squad.

The Villa player may have only a week's break should Stuart Pearce's side reach the final in Sweden on 29 June before O'Neill's team report back for pre-season training. O'Neill had voiced concerns towards the end of the current campaign that Milner and some of his team-mates had looked tired after operating with one of the smallest squads in the Premier League.

But Milner is determined to use the Under-21s tournament as a positive experience ahead of the bigger prizes up for grabs in 12 months' time via the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa.

Milner said: "I'm sure the manager will look after us. You need a rest. I've got six days before we join up with England. Then, if we reach the final, I've got another week.

"But it's an honour to play for your country and it's great to be going out there to Sweden to play with the best young players in Europe. Getting that experience is priceless. If you look at teams winning the World Cup and European Championships, so many of the squad have played in the Under-21s tournaments.

"It's getting that experience and winning mentality that helps. If we can win with the Under-21s, it stands us in good stead in the future as England players. Hopefully there will be a chunk of players who have been to a major international tournament and won it and that's massive. If you can then take that into senior tournaments, then you have better chance of winning those."

Milner is confident Villa will learn from their experiences of the past season when a poor run cost them the chance to finish fourth. He said: "It is about how you learn from these runs. We know we should have done better but it is about what you take from such poor runs. It's what you pick up from being up there and we need to make sure we learn from this season."

News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
News
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
people
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower