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Aston Villa Champions League challenge has cost owner Randy Lerner 82.5m
Published : 05 Mar 2010 20:51:21
Accounts for the club and their holding company reveal that Aston Villa's American owner has injected the money in the form of loans and equity since May 2008. Lerner's massive financial support will further endear him to supporters, but it was fundamental to Villa's progress as the club recorded losses of £43.7 million for the season. Related ArticlesReading v Aston VillaO'Neill eyes first Villa win in MarchLineker on top form for Carling CupCuellar lifts Villa fans with Wembley promiseO'Neill huffed and puffed but to no availSport on televisionThe new investment takes Lerner's total investment to £179 million since he bought the club in 2006, with £95 million in equity and a further £84 million in loans. The investment comes on top of the £62 million he paid for the club. Lerner put £70 million into the club during the 2008-09 season, with a further £12.5 million at the start of this campaign. According to the accounts Lerner's loans to the club are unsecured and interest free, and repayable between 2016 and 2019. Lerner has been rewarded with successive sixth-place finishes and a place in this season's Carling Cup final, but his support is key to the club's continued progress, as last year's accounts for the club's parent company Reform Acquisitions Ltd demonstrate. Despite turnover increasing by 11 per cent to £84 million, the club's loss of £43.7 million was a record, and was £13 million more than in 2007-08. The loss is explained by a rise in player wages to £70.6 million, up from £50.4 million. Lerner also authorised the payment of £7.7 million in "management charges" to Villa's US-based holding company. The club insist that this fee has been covered by additional equity being taken up, rather than from cash taken out of the club. The purchase of Richard Dunne, James Collins, Stewart Downing, Stephen Warnock and Fabian Delph contributed to the rise in wages. The club still made a profit on transfer dealings however, thanks largely to the £12.5 million sale of Gareth Barry to Manchester City. Villa's current model is likely to breach new Uefa regulations on "financial fair play". Uefa's rules, which will be introduced in 2012, will require clubs to break even or be self-supporting to compete in European competition. A club source said Villa would comply with the new rules, but acknowledged that Lerner would have to underwrite further losses going forward.