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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 August 2006, 20:29 GMT 21:29 UK
Consortia ponder joint Villa bid
Aston Villa
Padfield says he has not held talks with Villa chairman Ellis
A consortium hoping to take control of Aston Villa has been approached by other groups about a joint bid.

Nicholas Padfield QC, head of the AV06 group, told BBC Radio Five Live that one of the approaches had been from the consortium led by Michael Neville.

"We are considering opening discussions but haven't taken a decision. I'm happy to arrange a meeting," said Padfield.

But Padfield said he was waiting for information from chairman Doug Ellis before launching any bid for the club.

Padfield, who is currently on holiday in Corsica, said that although a joint bid with the Neville consortium was "possible" there had been no serious discussions.

I've had no discussions with Doug Ellis at all

Nicholas Padfield

"Nothing will happen until I return at the end of the week, but I'm going to stay in telephone contact," added Padfield.

Padfield's AV06 consortium is one of several competing to take control at Villa Park.

In addition to Padfield and Neville there is also American billionaire Randy Lerner, who is said to be close to renewing a 64m bid to buy the club, and a consortium fronted by Sven-Goran Eriksson's agent Athole Still.

Padfield said his consortium were seeking further information.

"I've had no discussions with Doug Ellis at all," said Padfield.

"One of the critical issues is the extent to which Doug Ellis wants to retain a stake in the club or whether he's prepared to sell his entire shareholding. There's also the position of Mr Jack Petchey, who has a 20% stake."

Padfield believes that his consortium has the "relevant finance in place" but said they were in "no great rush to bid because we don't have all the relevant information on which to base it".

But he added that he could envisage some role at the club for Ellis, who has been in charge at Villa for 22 years - and made it clear that the club's supporters would have a significant voice.

"I'd be very surprised if Doug Ellis didn't want some sort of role after so many years at the club," added Padfield.

"Not necessarily to retain his investment but some role in helping forward the best interests of that club. We'd welcome that, depending on the nature of the role.

"If we do make a bid we would want much more involvement from the fans and would certainly ask their views before making any major decisions."

The other critical issue regards the team manager

Nicholas Padfield

Martin O'Neill has been strongly linked with the managerial position, vacant since David O'Leary left the club on 19 July.

O'Neill is thought to be the favoured choice for Ellis, Cleveland Browns owner Lerner and Solihull businessman Neville - while the AV06 consortium had been said to favour a managerial team of Danish duo Michael Laudrup and John Jensen.

"Michael Laudrup and John Jensen are two possibilities but there are a number of others," insisted Padfield.

"We believe they have access to a number of international players and we believe they are good managers but no formal decision has been made."

And the AV06 consortium are keen to establish whether plans have already been made to appoint a new manager.

"The other critical issue is what the position is as regards the team manager," said Padfield.

"Has one been appointed? Is one going to be appointed? This will impact on the amount of finance available to buy new players."

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