Owner Lerner takes blame for Villa relegation

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London (AFP)

Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner said Friday he alone was responsible for the Birmingham club's relegation from the Premier League.

The American businessman, rarely seen at Villa Park for home matches, has been criticised by supporters as the club have slid ever closer towards the drop in the past five years.

Now bottom of the table, managerless Villa's relegation was confirmed when they suffered a 1-0 defeat by Manchester United last week.

It was the first time in 29 years that Villa have dropped out of English football's top-flight and Lerner, in a statement on the club's official website, said: "I write to Villa supporters to make clear that this relegation lies at my feet and no one else's."

Lerner bought Villa in 2006 but the past two years have seen him trying to sell the club, although no potential new owner has yet emerged.

Last week witnessed further upheaval when directors Mervyn King, a former governor of the Bank of England, and former FA chairman David Bernstein, previously a key boardroom figure at Manchester City, both resigned

But Lerner did not try to share the blame for the club's relegation, saying in his open letter: "How many seasons after all can one hold on and hope to slide through?

"That is not Aston Villa. That kind of desperate existence is totally unacceptable, unbearable and totally incompatible with Villa's glorious past.

"That is not what, or why, I looked to get involved back then and it is why I've looked for some time to make a change.

"I can say certainly in good faith that I have tried to sell since my May 2014 announcement and put our beloved club in better suited hands -- but that hasn't happened.

"I believe in Aston Villa and know it will come back stronger and more able, with love and care for the community it serves.

"I will continue to try to put the club into worthy hands and also do my best to position Villa for the quickest possible return to its rightful place among England's elite."