You might be wondering why we haven’t yet commented on this weeks news that Tony Xia is the new owner of the club. Given that we have been very critical of the previous owner, why haven’t we been jumping for joy at the end of the Lerner era?
In truth, it is because we are not sure what to make of it. It was plain for all to see that Randy Lerner had to sell up. Another disastrous campaign has ended in timid relegation and what all Villa supporters desperately want is for invigorated, passionate, competent leadership in the boardroom.
What we won’t do however is to welcome someone with open arms simply because “anyone but Lerner” will do.
We have been trying to find out as much as we can about the owner before commenting but there is very little concrete information to hand. The club have already had to alter their welcome message after details about the Recon Group were listed incorrectly and he still needs to pass the fit and proper person test.
What we will say is that we have been encouraged by some of the quotes attributed to Dr Xia. With so much to be done this summer, appointing a new manager the first on the agenda, we should quickly learn what kind of owners we have.
We would like to express our thanks to Steve Hollis. He has worked tirelessly to ensure a sale and leaves with our best wishes. Steve always had a very open dialogue with AVST and we trust that he will encourage more of the same with the new board once they are in situ.
Insofar as our message to Randy Lerner goes, the views of our members are clear. We enjoyed chasing the Champions League dream in the early years and, in terms of infrastructure, he leaves us in a much better place than we began. The inability to put into place an able management team however leaves a bitter taste and finds us looking at a campaign in the second tier for the first time in a generation.
There is much to be done. When the new manager is appointed there will be no fifth chances for those Senior Professionals that have proven such a divisive influence in the dressing room this season.
We all need to row in the same direction if we are to achieve an immediate return to the top flight. Let us hope that Randy Lerner’s legacy will be in selling to owners that can put this club back where it belongs.
For now though, we look on with cautious optimism and wait to see what the new owners are made of.