Aston Villa’s time in the Premier League is mercifully over. A 4-0 thrashing at Arsenal was a fitting end to our stay in the top flight, and as the club are set to go down, questions will surely be combed over.
Of course, the first of those deals with new ownership — and if media reports are to be believed, it’s looking more likely Villa will be under new ownership when the Championship campaign opens in August, which would be fantastic news. It’s no secret Villa have needed new owners for some time, and the longer Randy Lerner stays at the club, the slower the "rebuild" toward a Premier League return can progress.
And if those media reports are to be believed once more, we might be on the verge of a China-based consortium taking over the club. Other leading candidates are from the United States and the United Kingdom, with Lerner said to have many different options to sell to.
That’s awesome and great, but enough Villa fans don’t think so. A quick look around social media will reveal a bit of bias whenever American or Chinese bids are discussed, with many supporters less than keen to support a bid from either of those countries — but the same fears often aren’t mentioned when the English bids are brought up in conversation.
Now, it must be said that Birmingham hasn’t had the greatest experiences as a city with foreign managers over the past decade — both Hong Kong’s Carson Yeung and the United States’ Randy Lerner have run their respective clubs into the ground — but to judge an entire nationality’s worth of prospective owners on the actions of a former one would be irresponsible at best.
Take a look around England, and you’ll be able to find plenty of opportunities to make a really bad argument. Just because Leicester City’s Thai owners delivered an improbable Premier League title doesn’t mean you should throw money on Reading to win the league in 2018/19. Or since Arab money has worked so well for Manchester City, it doesn’t mean Nottingham Forest or Bristol Rovers are going to storm to the top any time soon.
And if we want to play the reverse game, it’s readily available with English owners. Ask any Newcastle United supporter what they think of Englishman Mike Ashley’s reign at Tyneside — or worse, ask a Blackpool fan about the unmitigated disaster that is the Oyston family’s ownership of their beloved club.
Bad owners come in all different shapes, sizes and, yes, nationalities. So when Villa (hopefully) announce a sale in the coming weeks, give them a chance to deliver — no matter if the new guys (and perhaps gals!) are Chinese, English, American or something else. Let’s not be stupid here.