Featured Matches
Previous
Arsenal
Besiktas
1
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 0
Game Details
Athletic Bilbao
Napoli
3
1
ESPNDeportes FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 4 - 2
Game Details
Bayer Leverkusen
FC Copenhagen
4
0
ESPN3 FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 7 - 2
Game Details
Aston Villa
Leyton Orient
0
1
FT
Game Details
Birmingham City
Sunderland
0
3
FT
Game Details
Stoke City
Portsmouth
3
0
FT
Game Details
Burton Albion
Queens Park Rangers
1
0
FT
Game Details
Arsenal
Besiktas
1
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 0
Game Details
Athletic Bilbao
Napoli
3
1
ESPNDeportes FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 4 - 2
Game Details
Bayer Leverkusen
FC Copenhagen
4
0
ESPN3 FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 7 - 2
Game Details
Ludogorets Razgrad
Steaua Bucuresti
1
0
ESPN3 FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 1
Game Details
Malmo FF
SV Salzburg
3
0
ESPN3 FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 4 - 2
Game Details
Aston Villa
Leyton Orient
0
1
FT
Game Details
Birmingham City
Sunderland
0
3
FT
Game Details
Bradford City
Leeds United
2
1
FT
Game Details
Burton Albion
Queens Park Rangers
1
0
FT
Game Details
Stoke City
Portsmouth
3
0
FT
Game Details
Los Angeles Galaxy
DC United
1
0
LIVE 2'
Game Details
León
Herediano
1
1
FT
Game Details
Municipal
Pachuca
1
2
LIVE 34'
Game Details
Cobresal
General Díaz
2
2
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 4
Game Details
Independiente Terán
Trujillanos
1
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
Libertad
Nacional Potosí
3
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 1
Game Details
River Plate
Universidad Católica
3
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 4 - 0
Game Details
Internacional
Bahia
0
2
LIVE 84'
Leg 1
Game Details
Atlético Nacional
Deportivo La Guaira
0
0
LIVE 39'
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 1
Game Details
Alianza Lima
Barcelona
0
0
LIVE 41'
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 3
Game Details
Atletico Rafaela
Newell's Old Boys
2
3
FT
Game Details
Rosario Central
Godoy Cruz de Mendoza
0
1
FT
Game Details
River Plate
Defensa y Justicia
3
0
FT
Game Details
Estudiantes La Plata
Boca Juniors
3
1
FT
Game Details
Irapuato
U.A.N.L
1
0
FT
Game Details
Morelia
Celaya
3
0
ESPNDeportes FT
Game Details
Oaxaca
Chiapas
0
0
FT
Game Details
Atlas
Mineros de Zacatecas
0
0
LIVE 34'
Game Details
Correcaminos
Santos
1
0
LIVE 8'
Game Details
UNAM
Mérida
0
0
LIVE 4'
Game Details
Zacatepec
Guadalajara
0
1
ESPNDeportes LIVE 36'
Game Details
América RN
Atletico Paranaense
3
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Cruzeiro
Santa Rita
5
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Botafogo
Ceará
1
2
LIVE 79'
Leg 1
Game Details
Bragantino
Corinthians
1
0
LIVE 81'
Leg 1
Game Details
Coritiba FBC
Flamengo
2
0
LIVE 80'
Leg 1
Game Details
Palmeiras
Atlético MG
0
1
LIVE 80'
Leg 1
Game Details
LDU Quito
Deportivo Quito
0
0
FT
Game Details
FC Seoul
Pohang Steelers
0
0
FT-Pens
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 0FC Seoul win 3-0 on penalties
Game Details
Guangzhou Evergrande
Western Sydney Wanderers
2
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 2
Game Details
Amazulu
Bloem Celtic
0
2
FT
Game Details
Mamelodi Sundowns
Orlando Pirates
0
3
FT
Game Details
Pretoria Univ
Free State Stars
0
1
FT
Game Details
Silver Stars
Kaizer Chiefs
0
2
FT
Game Details
SuperSport United
Mpumalanga Black Aces
1
2
FT
Game Details
Saprissa
Santos
Postp
Game Details
Carmelita
Club Sport Uruguay
2
0
FT
Game Details
Cartagines
Perez Zeledon
Postp
Postponed - now being played Sun, Aug 31
Game Details
Antigua
Marquense
9:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Petapa
Coatepeque
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Vida
Marathon
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Next

Serie A season preview: AS Roma

AS Roma 9 hours ago
Read
Aug 15, 2006

Heroes and Villans

Aston Villa supporters have long been a disgruntled lot, but a new optimism has entered their lives as the embodiment of all their suffering has exited.

Doug Ellis has called time on his 31-year reign as the frugal and frustrating chairman of the Villans and US millionaire Randy Lerner stands poised to complete a £62.6million takeover of the Midlands club against a backdrop of expectation.

Ellis' first spell at the club came between 1968 to 1975 and featured relegation to the old third division in 1970, promotion two seasons later, a runners-up spot in the second division and League Cup victory in 1975.

Frustratingly for Ellis it was during his absence from Villa Park that the club enjoyed its halcyon days, securing both the Football League title in 1981 and the European Cup in 1982.

Soon after Villa's greatest moment Ellis returned and assumed control of the club and it has been under his subsequent stewardship that Villa have slipped from a club at the top, to a shambles with no future. It is this decline in fortunes for which Deadly Doug has been vilified.

A succession of managers have left Villa Park citing Ellis's stifling presence as the main factor for their exit, and former boss John Gregory insisted the aging chairman was stuck in a time warp. Dwindling investment in a dwindling squad contributed to years of under achievement and culminated last term in Villa's annus horribilis.

Villa slipped into a relegation battle, eventually avoiding the drop by six points, lost their manager David O'Leary following a player revolt and looked set to start the new season with no additions to a threadbare squad, no manager to bring order to the chaos, no paying fans in the stands and relegation an almost certain prospect.

Enter Lerner and his takeover bid.

Potential takeovers had been rebuffed before, much to the dismay of the fans, but this time Ellis appeared willing to sell and rumours of the American's bid brought further candidates out of the shadows as Sven Goran Eriksson's agent Athole Still and Solihull businessman Michael Neville's consortium announced interest in buying the ailing club.

This public interest and behind-the-scene assurances from Ellis that he would step aside, allowed the chairman to make one final gesture before finally bowing to years of pressure and heading for the exit. He secured the services of highly-rated manager Martin O'Neill, who had reportedly refused the Newcastle United job and was highly fancied as the new England manager.

The capture of O'Neill, the saviour of Leicester City and Celtic, was an amazing and unexpected coup for the old timer and then, as one of the many talking heads on Sky Sports proclaimed, Ellis finally did Villa the ultimate favour by stepping down - although he will continue in the largely ceremonial role of life president at the club.

After signing-off in memorable fashion, August is set to usher out the Ellis era and mark the beginning of what fans instantly assume will be a golden age under Lerner. But is the American really the Messiah that Villa require or are the club just desperate to welcome anything that is not Doug Ellis?

Firstly, the American has not followed the example of his compatriot and Manchester United owner, Malcolm Glazer who plunged a club in the black, like Villa, £660million into the red. Far from it. Lerner, worth around £800million, has already promised to spend his cash upgrading the Villa Park stadium and the Bodymoor Heath training facilities.

There are similarities between Glazer and Lerner, as both own an NFL franchise, the former presiding over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the latter over the Cleveland Browns, but that is where the parallels end. While the unwanted Glazer family had to be smuggled out of Old Trafford in the back of a police riot van Lerner has been welcomed with open arms.

Lerner's financial advisor Keith Harris has gone to great lengths to express that the man he represents is a real football fan - in fact he went out of his way to stress his client referred to the game as football and not soccer - and has followed the fortunes of Villa since studying at Cambridge University in the early 1980's.

The former MBNA chairman's camp are certainly saying all the right things and the man himself, a fellow of few words, didn't do too badly when he said: '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.'

That statement ticked all the boxes and his first act as owner will further endear him to the club. Lerner will look to offer O'Neill, a manager with a proven aptitude for elevating struggling clubs, to a lucrative £10million five-year deal, binding him to the longest managerial contract in the Premiership.

And while the 44-year-old is no Roman Abramovich he is also expected to provide substantial amounts of cash for the purchase of new players as he provides his Irish manager, and former Villa player, with the tools to achieve their shared goal of restoring the club to its former glory.

However, Lerner will obviously approach this as a business project and will hardly be willing to bankrupt himself to save Aston Villa. But at least his tenure will begin in a positive manner and while it will take numerous seasons to construct a team capable of challenging for top honours - if indeed that is possible - he has at least returned long forgotten feelings of optimism and hope to the Villa faithful.

  • If you have any thoughts you can email Dominic Raynor.