Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner has penned an open letter to fans of the club explaining that their relegation from the Premier League this season “lies at my feet and no one else’s”.
Despite sacking two managers in Tim Sherwood and Remi Garde for poor results, Lerner has attempted to take the blame for Villa’s drop to the Championship, which has already been confirmed as the club are 15 points off safety with 12 points to play for.
Lerner has been heavily criticised along with the players this season, but the 54-year-old American businessman has stressed that he has actively sought to sell the club since announcing his intention to do so in May 2014.
The statement, posted on Aston Villa’s official club website, read: “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.”
The letter was signed off “R Lerner”, and it remains unknown if the club owner can find a potential buyer before Villa get their Championship campaign underway in their bid to return to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
Lerner was in the headlines earlier this week when both David Bernstein and Lord Mervyn King walked out of the club just weeks after joining the Villa board following a furious row with Lerner. Both Bernstein and King, who arrived at Villa Park in March and February respectively, tender their resignations on Tuesday after it was revealed by the BBC that they had been left angry and upset with the lack of progress and change they were able to make.
It led to an email from Lerner to Bernstein and King that left them believing their positions were untenable.
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