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Premier League

Villa loss hits £54m after O'Neill's exit


Aston Villa yesterday revealed the price they paid for a season of turmoil following the departure of Martin O'Neill as manager when they announced losses of almost £54m for the year ended 31 May 2011.

O'Neill left Villa in August 2010, frustrated at the club's inability to break into the Champions League places and owner Randy Lerner's determination to cut down on spending. Gérard Houllier took over but departed because of health fears at the end of the season, after a brush with relegation was averted only by the signing of striker Darren Bent for a fee rising to £24m .

Villa confirmed yesterday the overall group loss for the year had increased to £53.9m from £37.6m. That figure includes the money spent to bring Bent to the club in January last year, but does not factor in the sales of Ashley Young to Manchester United and Stewart Downing to Liverpool, which went through last June.

The club also revealed record revenues, with commercial income increasing by 15.9 per cent year on year and total income by 1.3 per cent, resulting in overall revenues of £92m. Villa spent £12m on changes in football management staff, with £25m invested in the club by Lerner. There was an £8.3m reduction in bank borrowings.