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Browns owner takes over Aston Villa


Burning River

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LONDON (AP) ? English Premier League team Aston Villa agreed to a $118.8 million takeover Monday by a group led by Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner.

Lerner's group, Reform Acquisitions Ltd., offered $10.37 per Aston Villa share, the principals involved in the deal announced to the London Stock Exchange. That represents a premium of about 47% over the closing price on Sept. 16, 2005, the last day before the beginning of the offer period.

"It is my belief and the basis for my bid to acquire Aston Villa Football Club that it can compete at the highest level within the Premiership and in Europe," Lerner said.

Lerner, former chairman of credit card company MBNA, would be the second U.S. National Football League owner to buy a Premier League club.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Malcolm Glazer purchased Manchester United in 2005, sparking protests by fans worried Glazer would be more devoted to making money than to winning.

The board of Aston Villa recommended the transaction to shareholders, and said owners of 56.85% of shares had already committed to the deal.

Villa chairman Doug Ellis, who has owned the club since 1982 and has a 39% stake, put the club up for sale a year ago.

"It has been my sincere pleasure to have been involved with Aston Villa these many years, both as chairman and as a substantial shareholder," Ellis said. "The club has been an enormous and immensely enjoyable part of my life."

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As if Aston Villa hadn't gone far enough down the tubes. Look for them in Division 1 soon enough.

So what, is every crackpot NFL owner going to try and purchase an English football club?

Hmmm who would Spanos buy? I'm thinking Nottingham Forest or MK Dons. Cheap bastage.

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As if Aston Villa hadn't gone far enough down the tubes. Look for them in Division 1 soon enough.

So what, is every crackpot NFL owner going to try and purchase an English football club?

Hmmm who would Spanos buy? I'm thinking Nottingham Forest or MK Dons. Cheap bastage.

... lol could you imagine Al Davis owning an English football club? I think he would be a good fit for Newcastle :P

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I was just thinking, since many of the MLS teams are owned by NFL owners and now two well-known teams in the UK are now owned by NFL owners. Maybe a more shrewd NFL might purchase a lower level UK team for the purpose of using it as a feeder for a MLS team, or purchase a Premire level team and use the MLS as a feeder for that. Or if not a parent club/minor league relationship certainly at least a player exchange agreement.

Either way could be a way to further legitimize the MLS and give it another source for talent.

I also remember a time when the NFL required all owners to own no other sports team save their NFL franchise. No other team in any other sport on any other level, your full attention was to the NFL or not at all.

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I think there've been plenty of rumors of such deals with either NY/NJ Red Bulls or Los Angeles Galaxy with Chelsea FC. I know Chelsea has about 8 world class midfielders so I wouldn't mind seeing a couple of them in Los Angeles to give them some playing time over the summer.

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