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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 September 2006, 13:54 GMT 14:54 UK
Lerner closer to control of Villa
Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner
Lerner had needed 75% of Villa's shares to take control
American Randy Lerner is set to take full control of Aston Villa after acquiring 85.5% of shares in the club.

Lerner had owned 59.69% of the club after his 62.2m takeover in August, but must reach 90% stakeholder support before the takeover can be complete.

The deadline for that to happen is 18 September - until then Villa's existing board of directors remains in place.

A club statement said: "Lerner's offer for the company remains conditional on 90% shareholder acceptance."

Earlier in the week, Lerner told BBC Sport: "Aston Villa was a club I read and thought about for a long time.

"Over the last three or four years I became more and more focused and I was advised that it might be available."

Lerner, 44, is pleased Villa fans have got behind new manager Martin O'Neill, and believes the former Celtic boss holds the key to bringing success back to Villa Park.

He told Villa's fans to "focus on Martin O'Neill," adding "that's absolutely my focus - I think he is great.

"I am just getting to know him, I can't say I know him very well.

"But he has got the record and the history which are the makings of a steady long-term commitment to Villa - that is the plan."

Lerner also owns the Cleveland Browns NFL team and said he saw some comparisons between his two clubs.

"They both have extremely avid, loyal and passionate - to the point of religious - support," he explained.

"So yes, I suppose there is an overlap.

"But I don't want to over do the parallels because I don't know enough really at this point about that area of the country to do that - and I am tentative about overdoing it anyway."

End of an era
05 Sep 06 |  Aston Villa
Lerner seals majority Villa share
25 Aug 06 |  Aston Villa
Learning about Lerner
15 Aug 06 |  Aston Villa
Lerner to take low-key Villa role
20 Aug 06 |  Aston Villa


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