On April 20th, after a dull 0-0 draw to Southampton, Randy Lerner released a statement chastising fans for not being more excited and instead focusing on rumours of an impending takeover. On that point Lerner had this to say: "As regards my personal role at the Club and the steady rumours of a sale, I will address these after the season." Nothing specific, just after the season.
But a growing number of reports seem insistent that "after the season" means "very shortly after Sunday's season finale." It may be a matter of just being logical–if Lerner is to release a statement, it would be smart to do so quickly–but that's never been the style of this club, so something tells me that people are hearing things.
And even if they aren't, the sale of the club is starting to feel more and more likely. First we had the rumours from message boards exploding into the mainstream press and CEO Paul Faulkner denying that the club were for sale. Then we got the aforementioned statement from Lerner himself, which refused to deny anything and thus just fanned the flames higher. And finally there was the owner's conspicuous absence this weekend.
The last bit of the puzzle isn't really all that shocking, as Lerner is hardly ever at Villa Park. But if he were really planning on holding onto the team, wouldn't you think he'd be present at one of their most important matches in his tenure as owner? It is absolutely possible that I'm reading too much into this. Maybe it's just more indifference from an owner suffering with a crippling case of ennui. But I'm glad to know that I'm not the only person parsing the lack of action so carefully.
We may not have to wait long to find out, though. It wouldn't be shocking to see some sort of communication from Lambert on Sunday evening or at least Monday. And if we haven't heard by then, we'll have final proof that no one in the club's PR department have any clue what they're doing.