Lerner puts Villa up for sale
Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner has announced that he has put the Premier League club up for sale.
American Lerner assumed charge at Villa Park in 2006 after agreeing a £62.6million takeover with the Midlands club's board.
However, speculation over his future with Villa has been rife, with the 52-year-old stating last month that he would soon clarify his position.
And Lerner - a former owner of the NFL's Cleveland Browns - has now confirmed his intention to sell his controlling stake in Villa.
Lerner said in a statement: "Several weeks back I said that following the end of the season I would clarify my future role with the club, and address what had become seemingly constant rumours of a sale.
"I have come to know well that fates are fickle in the business of English football. And I feel that I have pushed mine well past the limit.
"The last several seasons have been week in, week out battles and having now come through this last season unfortunately limping amidst very meaningful injuries and constant sale rumours, I feel further that now is the time for me to look for new ownership and thus new leadership.
"I have asked the world of (manager) Paul Lambert and (chief executive) Paul Faulkner and they have both delivered selflessly. On a personal level it is time for me, like the Shunammite, to dwell among my own and get on with other aspects of my career, following a sale.
"Above all, the debt I owe Aston Villa whether as owner, chairman, custodian or simply as a fan is to put the club first. To make good on that debt, I owe it to Villa to move on, and look for fresh, invigorated leadership, if in my heart I feel I can no longer do the job.
"On a practical level, the club will continue with its normal operations and plans for the summer. I've no doubt that the core staff at both Villa Park and BMH, to whom I owe a massive debt of friendship and loyalty, will continue to guide and protect the club through this period of transition according to their collective sense of professional pride and long term service to Villa - the vast majority having preceded my tenure.
"Finally, in light of the above, I have engaged Bank of America Merrill Lynch to advise on the sale of Aston Villa."