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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May 27, 2009

Villa owner Lerner: Cash won't guarantee success

In a rare public utterance, Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner has insisted that financial backing alone cannot guarantee success. Lerner was responding after being asked whether Villa would have to spend more money to compete with the likes of Manchester City and Tottenham next season in the battle for a European place.

Villa clinched a Europa League spot by finishing sixth but City and Spurs lost out to Fulham in the fight to join them in the revamped UEFA Cup.

Lerner has already pledged to provide Martin O'Neill with funds for new players this summer but he claimed: "You see clubs spend a lot of money and they aren't always successful.

"I don't know if straight spending equals success.

"Of course, there is no question that if you are going to remain ambitious, then you have to bring in better players or top players.

"I think we do remain eager to do that. On the other hand, we are aware of other factors that do drive and bring success.

"I think that is serious because both the clubs you name (Tottenham and Manchester City) didn't finish where they would have hoped."

Lerner was content with Villa's achievements during the past season despite a late fade-out ending hopes of securing Champions League football.

He said: "How do I view this season? I am very happy with what we achieved. I think it was another season of progress.

"I wasn't disappointed not to achieve the Champions League position. It is out there, it is a long-term ambition, and it has been a very exciting season but we did great with what we have.

"I was not disappointed with the way the season tailed off. I think it happens. In this business you are going to go through those ups and downs. That was one of them.

"I actually thought we did a pretty good job of getting through it and ending on a strong note."

Lerner is pleased with the impact manager O'Neill has made at Villa at the end of his third season at the helm.

He said: "I think the three years have been superb. We have improved steadily and qualified for Europe two years on the row. Martin has done an excellent job.

"I think Martin has bought into the club. I think he has emotionally invested. He has bought into me and my ambitions to some extent."

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