Lerner expected to complete Villa shares buyout

September 18, 2006

Randy Lerner is expected to take complete control of Aston Villa during the next few days.

The American billionaire will bring down the curtain on the Doug Ellis era if, as expected, he acquires the remaining 4.5% of shares needed to assume overall control.

If Lerner acquires 90% of shares, then he can compulsorily acquire the remaining 10%.

Ellis, who has been associated with Villa since 1968, will retain an interest in Villa by being given an honorary presidency.

His final game before Lerner formally takes over was Saturday's goalless draw at Watford which maintained Villa's unbeaten start to the season in the Premiership.

Villa keeper Thomas Sorensen said: 'Mr Ellis told us it was his last game but he will always be around the club.

'He means a lot to Aston Villa and should always have an honorary place in the stadium for the rest of his life.'

Meanwhile, Villa striker Juan Pablo Angel has vowed to turn back the clock and recapture his stunning form of three seasons ago.

Angel scored 23 goals in David O'Leary's first campaign in charge of Villa in 2003-2004 when the club missed out on a UEFA Cup spot only on goal difference to Newcastle.

But the Colombian international has since struggled to reproduce that level of performance and has scored only three goals last season.

Now the 30-year-old has been given a new lease of life under new manager Martin O'Neill and has already been on target twice in the current campaign.

Angel said: 'I feel I can recapture my form of three seasons ago. If I'm playing well and getting good service and opportunities, I'm more than capable of putting them away.

'Any striker will tell you it is important to score goals, especially early in the season.

'It's all about confidence and I'm playing with confidence now. It's up to me to perform well and keep my place in the team.

'The results so far have gone our way and you build up confidence by getting results.'

He added: 'It's been a good start - especially after what happened last season.'

Angel could soon face competition from Milan Baros, who continued his return from a foot injury by playing the final 18 minutes of the goalless draw with Watford.

But O'Neill is taking little notice of Baros' claims that he is happy to stay at Villa after being linked with a move to SV Hamburg during the summer.

He said: 'I would always be worried about those things. I used to do it myself as a player when a new manager came along and I hadn't been in the team for about four years before that!

'I was quite pleased to see him - and then the new manager within two weeks thought the same way as the old manager and I was complaining again.

'If he plays well, he is a quality player and that would be great news.

'I haven't asked about how he felt previously. It really doesn't concern me. It is what he does from now on that that will have a bearing on my view of him and how he does for the club.'

O'Neill's side visit Scunthorpe for a Carling Cup clash on Wednesday and it is a competition which will bring back happy memories for the Irishman.

For O'Neill's last League Cup game was as manager of Leicester in March 2000 when they defeated Tranmere 2-1 in the final courtesy of two goals from skipper Matt Elliott.