What did Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner actually mean with that letter?


Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner published an open letter to fans on the club website on Friday afternoon, complete with phrases Alan Partridge would have been proud of.

Here, we take a look at what he says, and our interpretation.

On Villa's defeat to title favourites Leicester

Villa slipped to a 3-2 defeat at Leicester back in September
Aston Villa went 2-0 up against Leicester but could not hold on (Nick Potts/PA)

What he said: "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..."

Our interpretation: "Life at Villa Park has been so unbearably awful since we contrived to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory back in September, when we threw away a 2-0 lead with 18 minutes to go to lose 3-2 to a Leicester team nobody thought was any good, that I've scrubbed everything that's happened since from memory. Remi who?"

On why he wants to sell up

Jack Grealish in action against Wycombe
Jack Grealish has failed to live up to the hype so far (Nick Potts/PA)

What he said: "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."

Our interpretation: "We've served up such brain-numbingly hopeless football for so long now that people forget we won the League Cup twice in three seasons in the 1990s. Spending my hard-earned money to pay for Gabriel Agbonlahor's "nitrous oxide" and Jack Grealish's trips to Tenerife is why I've been trying to find a way out. I can't think why no-one wants to buy me out."

On what the future holds

Randy Lerner at a Villa game against Arsenal
Randy Lerner has taken responsibility for Villa's dismal season (Mike Egerton/PA)

What he said: "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."

Our interpretation: "Even though we have been forced to lay off hundreds of non-playing staff right, left and centre to cope with the impact of relegation, please remember we still care about you guys. Just not quite enough to persuade Joleon Lescott to sell his latest motor to finance your wages for another year."

On Ashley Young's winner against Everton

Ashley Young in action against Everton back in 2008
Ashley Young scored an injury-time winner against Everton (Mike Egerton/EMPICS)

What he said: "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."

Our interpretation: "I lay awake at night fantasising about Ashley Young's winner against Everton in a 3-2 win eight years ago. And you think you've got it bad? It renders any other romantic nourishment impossible."

On his attempts to get Villa back where they belong

Randy Lerner in the stands as Villa take on Chelsea
Lerner wants to see Villa return to the top-flight (Mike Egerton/EMPICS)

What he said: "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."

Our interpretation: "I promise things will get better for me, I mean Villa, and we absolutely, definitely won't plummet through the divisions until even Birmingham City fans are feeling sorry for us."