Randy Lerner: I'm not at Aston Villa to win popularity contest

09 April 2010 10:26
Lerner paid £62 million for Aston Villa nearly four years ago and, having brought in O'Neill, the club have risen up the Premier League standings year by year.

Villa finished 16th when Lerner and O'Neill came to the club in 2006, but in the last three seasons have finished 11th, sixth and sixth and still remain on course for a top-six finish this season.

While Lerner will only talk to O'Neill, who is on a 12-month rolling contract, at the end of the current campaign, the American businessman is eager to reward Villa's faithful supporters by giving something back.

"I think there's a palpable frustration among football fans right now that I believe we in the football business should be conscious of," Lerner told the Independent.

"Fans see TV revenues going up, wages going up, the price of their tickets going up and they're thinking: 'Hey, it's the same round ball, the same number of players and still two 45-minute halves. We don't get it.'

"Winning supporters over can only really be achieved by what you do, not what you say. It's no use just smiling and shaking hands and getting quoted with witty one-liners. We'll be judged by our actions: ticket prices, conditions inside the ground, how good our hospitality is and, of course, how the team develops.

"I'm not in this to win a popularity contest and I guess that's why I keep a relatively low profile. Winning our fans' approval will come from all of us doing the right things for the right reasons, me included."

Villa face Chelsea in Saturday's FA Cup semi-final two weeks after suffering a 7-1 mauling to Carlo Ancelotti's side in the Premier League.

Overcoming Chelsea would see Villa book their second cup final appearance this season at Wembley after reaching the Carling Cup final back in February, where they suffered a 2-1 defeat to Manchester United.

Source: Telegraph