Aston Villa Football Club is pleased to announce that an agreement has been signed today for the sale of 100% ownership by Randy Lerner to Recon Group owned by Dr Tony Jiantong Xia subject to the approval of the Premier League and the Football League. Once those approvals have been granted and the new board members approved under the fit & proper rules of both leagues, Dr Xia will become Chairman of Aston Villa. The Club will announce the appointment of a new manager shortly.

Randy Lerner has sought the right new owner for Aston Villa who would take great care of the Club and restore its fortunes. He believes that Tony Xia is an excellent choice.

Recon Group is Dr Xia’s privately owned holding company that owns the controlling interest in five publicly listed companies on the Hong Kong and Chinese stock exchanges and many other private companies employing 35,000 people in 75 countries.

Dr Xia played football as a striker until he finished at college and football has remained his passion. Dr Xia decided to buy an iconic football Club in England as the cornerstone of his Sports, Leisure and Tourism Division. He became a fan of Aston Villa many years ago and is delighted at the opportunity to become the new owner.

Dr Xia’s immediate objective is to return Aston Villa to the Premier League and then to have the Club finish in the top six, bringing European football back to Villa Park. He plans to make Aston Villa the most famous football Club in China with a huge fan base.

Randy Lerner Farewell Message

Goodbye to all that…
Announcement of agreement to sell Aston Villa to Tony Xia

In spite of my personal affection for reading history I have come to trust the future more than the past. And when I refer to the ‘past,’ I do so lightly and lightheartedly. I refer to recent accounts – mostly in the press regarding the sale of the Club, that are so many miles from accuracy or truth that I can only assume that they too were written by people whose tongues were firmly embedded in their respective cheeks. It is football after all.

As I’ve said, it was my hope that ownership and custodianship of the Club would have been transferred some years ago when I knew that personal and professional matters made it impossible for me to contribute the time I did in my first five years with the Club. Time and immersion that is crucial to any formula for success. Still, 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!

As I expect this to be my last message to supporters through the Villa website I thought it worth reiterating that my approach from the beginning, consistent with 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…! In the end, however, so many wonderful young players came through Villa during my time and it is to them and supporters alike whom I am indebted. Also, of course, I wish – without mentioning names, to say thank you to countless people with whom I worked at Villa Park and BMH who have touched me personally and from whom I have learned so much.

Finally, being conscious of the popular and dark pastime of wondering aloud how much was spent, or lost, I should like to think that I ‘left behind’ value which will hopefully endure and benefit this beloved old Club. In being sadly more than tone deaf, I’ll not weakly risk trying to sound any positive notes. But what I will say is that 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!

It is here that the agreement I wish to announce with Tony Xia ties into my short narrative: Tony has built his career around infrastructure. He is certainly a hugely successful businessman but importantly for me he is passionate about architecture, site design and planning. His commitment to invest in the squad, and leadership at Bodymoor Heath was expressed early on but as we visited together, and had some unrushed time to discuss his plans, Tony’s excitement to develop Villa Park shone through. I remain convinced that this is a crucial part of the Club’s future as it provides a critical, long-term second source of revenue and therefore sustainability for the Club from which squad-funding can potentially come.

It is with that that I want to say thank you, and to wish Tony every success going forward.

Comments 28

  1. Frem sorry to hear you had shingles mate. Had em around 86 . You have my sympathy mate as did Matt .
    Steamer lm gonna get a “sore finger ” T shirt done for next season .
    Hi Jenny xxxx

  2. Cheers ST75. I’m pretty much back to full health now

    Great news on the owner. Wonder if we have other backers ? Hopefully he can get us back to the top

    And he wants to develop the stadium. Blow the north stand up

  3. Seems like an intelligent guy – anyone who manages to graduate from Harvard and MIT clearly has his head screwed on. As to his aptitude at managing a sports franchise, I imagine much will hinge on the appointments that are made by Dr. Xia – we’ll have to wait and see.

    The Chinese angle will be good in terms of increasing the club’s fan base on a wider scale.

    The infrastructure point is interesting too – the question may well be whether there is sufficient room at the current site (Witton Lane) if the infrastructure is to be developed significantly given the restrictions around the residential area. That’s a long way off though – our first priority is getting back up within the parachute payments window.

  4. i struggled Frem – a lot of it seemed like waffle to me but maybe i was missing a lot of the points made

    yes Matt his academic and professional background seems flawless thus far

  5. But … do such qualifications make him a knowledgeable fan of AVFC?

    There are far more implications in all this than may seem on “face” value. Nice face or not, he is a businessman, and a Chinese businessman influenced by America.

    We were talking hopefully about a fans’ consortium takeover 2 or 3 weeks back. I wonder just what happened to that …?

  6. <ark,

    Good question! I can't any longer find the piece … I suspect the BBC report said something on that but it got cut perhaps.

    But best ignore what I said in case it's in error.

  7. Mark,

    I see the Leicester owners in a different light by their actions.

    We’ll just see what happens as Li has not done much yet has he! 🙂

    The fact that I go by is that the Chinese influence is creeping into so many things now – I’m not just talking of Villa and football. I look at what’s happening overall with some scepticism based on some knowledge of Chinese methods.

  8. JL- he’s young and spent a fair while in the states, lets hope he soaked up some scruples along the way. His construction business appears quite ethical on the surface lets wait and see

  9. Apparently they own 5 groups and one is worth just under 900mill. Dont think cash will be a prob but questions over weynes and stevenson.

    Frem i didnt bother reading learnes waffle…knob head. Ill forget all about come morning.

  10. John,

    I don’t think being a deep knowledgeable fan is particularly important in the business of football – what matters is Dr. Xia’s competence in establishing people in key positions who understand what needs to be achieved. Ultimately if you get into any market sector, you can develop experience and use that to your advantage – football knowledge, like any other, can be brought in or developed organically. Is the fact that Sheikh Mansour would probably not know Shaun Goater indicative of his ability to deliver success for Manchester City?

    As for the fan consortium, I don’t believe there was really any chance of an organisation like that taking over. As Randy mentioned in his farewell message, much was written in the press about parties being involved which was effectively unfounded. In an ideal world, I’d love a life long Villan to buy the club who had all the economic nous (and wealth) to make it work. As it stands, however, I find that list to be exceedingly short/non-existent and what’s done is done.

    It is far too early to know how Dr. Xia’s tenure will pan out. In hiring Keith Wyness, he will have a senior position filled but the methods may well be similar to that of Everton, i.e. a high degree of outsourcing as a model and operating a lean core business. The model has business benefits but also affects the amount of revenue that can be counted so there’s a trade-off that the club will need to make.

    Ultimately, we’ll have to see what happens. Many asked for Randy to sell up and, to that end, he has done so. Whether that means things will get better or worse, however, is something that nobody will know until we have a year or so to review progress.

    As with anything in life, I look at things with optimism. Whether that optimism will turn out to be unfounded, I don’t know, but it will at least give me some hope that Villa are going to get better in future rather than stay the same/get worse.

  11. Should say fair play to hollis. Vital a takeover was done asap and here we are not even a week since final ball kicked and its done with new manager en route. Next on the list new squad….

  12. Jl,

    Just to put things straight , Tony Xia was close to buying Villa last season, but Randy got cold feet when the Chinese economy started to dip…..At the end of the day, Randy has lost a substantial amount of money by not agreeing the initial deal, but Tony is happy to have a much larger sum available now for development……but as usual…I know nothing….

  13. I hope Jodan Amavi stays at Villa, though, if he wants to go they should let him go. Until his injury, he was, apart from the odd mistake, a very good player both skill and attitude wise.

  14. It sounds like he’s either worth 10 billion pounds or about 70 billion pounds depending on what conversion a site means by saying ” 100 billion”

    If it’s it dollars, then 70 billion pounds. If it’s Chinese money, then 10 billion

    Either isn’t to bad. Most of it is in assests by the sound of it but he’s sitting on a s**t load of money either way

  15. I think Jordan Amavi could be a big star for Villa if he stays.
    I’m glad to see that the new owner’s priority is an immediate return to the Premier League. That means everybody knows that Villa have to win most of their games next year. It’s good to see that ambition. Laying the foundations for that ambition to be realised is going to have to happen pretty much immediately. I think the cleanout will be massive.

  16. Frem
    He’s a real billionaire and a shrewd ambitious businessman, who enjoys success. This is going to be interesting. He says he’s a football person. Hopefully, he doesn’t try to change the name of VP etc.
    Getting his appointments right, as you know, is crucial.

  17. Thanks for trying Randy,you did your best I’m sure.Thank you Mr Hollis,well done……If Carlsberg did Wednesdays…….Villa sold and bindippers lost…….

  18. great were sold , but lm going to wait till were back in the premier and see what this guy and his companies give us to compete and hope were not just a plaything , we only know what he’s done on Wikipedia so lm giving 2 seasons before getting carried away ,
    mind you its shut the 6 fingered lot and the inbreds up and B62 must be feeling good working in Sandwell land at this moment , my facebook has gone quite as well ,
    Hiya Brasil
    Runtins ask the Telford family if they have heard of any dates for the villa game .
    Frem , good to hear mate .
    wheres Gibbo ??

    JL hopefully finish the big Part of this job lm on and will get over ASAP. no phone signal in the part of Coventry lm at , bloody joke , (mind you so is Coventry needs a bypass built )

  19. Well that is one part of the job done this guy seems as if he knows a thing or two about running a business question is can he take that into the football world, Comolli and Wyness know the game so that is a good start something Lerner should have done has soon as he came through the door.

    I am with ST75 on being patient and seeing what happens but one thing we do not have is time we need people in quickly to move players out and in to prepare for a difficult season.

    My sources tell me that Tony has a Villa tattoo on his lower leg so that’s always a good sign.

    诶 维 艾弗西

    艾丝 豆贝尔维 维

Leave a Reply