Roman Abramovich flew over the London skies three years ago, looking down at the empty playing fields of Chelsea, and at that instant he wanted to buy the club. Malcolm Glazer the owner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, an NFL football team decided that he would merge American football with football (or soccer as they call it across the pond) and takeover Man U. So far the only thing he has given Man U supporters is unending heartburn and no league titles. They can't even attract new talent because they do not have the cash because Mr Glazer is busy paying off the debt he incurred while buying out Man U.
And now we have Aston Villa. This is a really sordid case. Villa is now on the buying block and chairman Doug Ellis is prepared to sell to the highest bidder. The frontrunner is English businessman Michael Neville, with a bid of 64 million pounds. A nice tidy sum of money and the bidder is from the country. What could be better? No, Mr Doug Ellis wants more. So it is good old greed now that is keeping the Villa deal in the works.
Now we have a NFL baron, a Mr Randy Lerner who is the owner of the Cleveland Browns, bidding for Aston Villa. He is a billionaire owner of a very unsuccessful NFL team (the Browns don't seem to have won anything since the Civil War was settled). An EPL like Villa is far less costly to buy than an NFL team which run anything up from $400 m to close to a $1 billion. Mr Lerner is the son of the MBNA financial company chairman, Alfred Lerner, who makes his money ripping of customers with $34 fines for not paying the credit card bills on time. Paying the equivalent of $100 million is small change for him. However his offer was met with a cold shoulder by Doug Ellis who when he saw an American businessman interested in his club saw cash registers go off in his head. Officially, the Lerner bid has been rejected and he is out of the running but unofficially according to sources Mr Lerner still has a pulse, and this is just a ploy for him to cough up more. Meanwhile, the only thing that is keeping Michael Neville's bid alive is the resistance put up by Villa supporters to the Lerner takeover.
What does this takeover have to do with Sven Goran Erickson?
Mr Sven Goran Erickson was caught in a telephone sting about 7 months ago, discussing becoming Villa's new manager with a journalist representing a group of hypothetical Arab sheikhs who wanted to buy out Villa. Sven was all agog because his one condition was that he would become manager if Villa was successfully bought out. Arab sheikhs have the dosh to dole out to Sven with his high maintenance girlfriend Nancy Del Ollio. So you see Sven had lost interest in coaching the English team months before. Eight days after that conversation he announced that he would resign from coaching the English squad once the World Cup was over.
Sven's agent Athole Still (Jeez! that first name sounds like a body part. Say it with a lisp) says no deal will be possible if it does not include Sven as the coach. Meanwhile Michael Neville has shortlisted Martin O'Neill as his coach if his bid is successful. All of this depends on Doug Elllis who has the final say as he controls 38% of the club.