Aston Villa post 54million year-ending loss

Villa's 54m year-ending loss… but doesn't account for Young and Downing exits

Randy Lerner has lost 110million in the last three years at Aston Villa, even though they languish three places above the relegation zone.

Villa announced a deficit of 54m in the past financial year alone.

Results: Aston Villa posted year-ending losses of 54million

Results: Aston Villa posted year-ending losses of 54million

As well as bankrolling a club record
24m outlay for Darren Bent, Lerner has met expensive recruitment and
severance payments for three managers.

Martin O'Neill, Gerard Houllier and Alex McLeish cost the former credit card magnate almost 12m.

Moving on: Stewart Downing quit Villa for Liverpool last summer

New start: Ashley Young left Aston Villa for Manchester United last summer

Departures: Villa's loss does not account for the exits of Downing and Young (R)

When he bought the club from Doug
Ellis six years ago, Lerner had his eyes set on the Champions League but
trying to realise that dream has cost him dearly. Instead, Villa have very real fears of relegation.

However, Villa's chief financial
officer Robin Russell said: 'Given the challenging economic environment,
we are pleased with the positive trends in our financial performance.'

He was clearly in a minority as
others reacted with disbelief. Jonathan Fear, editor of the Vital Villa
website, said: 'Randy Lerner reached for the stars in the early days.
But it seems all he has in his hand now is stardust.'