There's nothing quite like a personal note from Randy Lerner. The rambling. The awkward punctuation. And beneath it all, a seemingly genuine affection for Aston Villa. No matter that he ruined us, it's hard to be too mad because he never seems to have been malicious in doing so.
And so, with the sale of the club, we get one final missive from the erstwhile owner. "Goodbye to all that..." he begins (no, really). From there we get a ramble that is absolutely worth your read, if only to humanize a man who has become demonized in most of our minds.
Lerner writes: "Fates are fickle in football so that we could claw back to safety last season, end up at Wembley at a Cup Final sitting amongst old friends!, and then spend the 2015/16 campaign at Bannockburn!" If you're a Scottish fan, you probably see this differently than most of the English fans, but hey, it's a nice attempt at localizing the missive.
He, too, addresses some criticism that has been leveled at him lately. First by outlining his goals and providing a frank assessment of their success: "my longstanding affection for The Trinity, was in three parts: Villa Park infrastructure, Bodymoor Heath infrastructure and the Villa squad. I have a sneaking suspicion that my best chance of any tolerable memories in this regard will lie with the father and son of this trinity…!"
He then adds that, despite the fact that some of the improvements to Villa Park and the surrounding area were seen as wastes of money, "if spending to restore and preserve the wonderful Jacobean Holte Hotel at the southern tip of the Ground, or researching and adding the Holte End mosaic as a nostalgic nod to that wonderful Leitch Stand of our past, add to the tally of personal losses then I can offer no counter argument other than to say I would do the same all over!"
Lerner was an inept owner, and once his attention waned, he became a frankly bad one. But he's not a terrible person. He's a man who seemed to genuinely love this club and in that he's just like us.