We've already heard about the possibility of Larry Ellison and Ray Davis possibly wanting to buy Aston Villa, but now it's time to add another name to the pile: Robert Kraft. The owner of the New England Patriots (of the NFL) and the New England Revolution (of the MLS) is apparently interested in owning an English football club. The rumours have been circulating on twitter and the Birmingham Mail even did a quick profile of Kraft today.
Obviously, given his other investments, owning Aston Villa would be nothing new for Kraft. He's demonstrated success in running an American football franchise, but his time with the Revolution has been fraught. In a scathing piece for Boston magazine last month, Kraft was called "the worst owner in the league" for his apparent apathy towards the Revolution. The article further criticizes the Revs because "They’ve also failed over the years to pay for any high-priced stars, earning a reputation as one of the cheaper franchises in the league."
That doesn't sound like what we're looking for in Aston Villa, but I'm not entirely certain that the situations are comparable. Kraft came to the Revolution after having owned a franchise in the NFL, a league in which you could basically do nothing and still print your own money. Compare that to the MLS, which is finally achieving some of its full potential, but which was for years a growth industry. Perhaps Kraft simply didn't want to invest the time to grow a team like the Revs.
And he wouldn't have to with Aston Villa. Despite a few down years, Villa are one of the most well-established clubs in one of the world's most well-established and successful leagues. They are closer to the Patriots than the Revolution in many ways.
That said, I'm not in love with the idea of Kraft as owner of Villa. He apparently flirted with the idea of buying the club in 2004, but nothing came of it. His estimated net worth of £1.72 billion would certainly be attractive, but Kraft has many of the hallmarks of being an owner who buys a club for status, not for what he sees in that club. He's worked wonders with the Patriots and apparently been quite bad with the Revolution. I imagine he'd be somewhere in between with Villa, but I'd rather we avoid more years of mediocrity.