Just a few short months ago, a segment of the Aston Villa fanbase was clamouring for owner Randy Lerner to sell their beloved club -- sell to someone more invested, someone more British. Or, failing that, to a Qatar oil magnate. Instead, it seems Lerner has decided to sell his other football club.
According to Forbes, the Cleveland Browns are on the verge of being sold to a billionaire from Tennessee. Lerner wanted over a billion for the club, but it looks like James Haslam will pay $920 million, or about £585m. In comparison, Lerner paid about £62.6m to become the majority shareholder of Villa. Considering how absolutely crap the Browns are, this seems a ridiculous price. But hey, American sports!The deal isn't official yet. There are still others interested in the team, and the NFL has to approve Haslam's ownership. But he's already a minority shareholder for the Pittsburgh Steelers, so that part shouldn't be a problem. It seems this is well on its way to being done.
And that can only be good for Villa. We've seen the tightening of Lerner's purse strings over the past few seasons as he's cleaned up the mess of Martin O'Neill. It's unlikely that selling his NFL team will prompt Randy to sign a blank check over to Paul Lambert, but it should at least ease his mind a bit.