Tuesday 17 July 2018

Former director Mervyn King predicts Aston Villa resurgence

Mervyn King, back, stepped down from the Aston Villa board on Monday
Mervyn King, back, stepped down from the Aston Villa board on Monday

Former Aston Villa director Mervyn King is confident the club can return to former glories under a new owner.

King, a former governor of the Bank of England, resigned from his role at Villa Park on Monday along with former Football Association chief David Bernstein.

It was reported on Wednesday by BBC Sport that an email conversation between King and Bernstein was leaked to Villa owner Randy Lerner and caused a rift that led to the departures.

The BBC report alleged Lerner was criticised in the emails. A Villa club spokesman did not comment on the story.

In his letter of resignation, King had referred to "recent communications between the owner of Aston Villa and members of the football board" as being a driver of his decision to leave.

Villa's relegation from the Barclays Premier League was confirmed on Saturday following a 1-0 defeat at Manchester United as their dismal season now approaches its climax.

Bernstein, who had only been in the role for 34 days, said his position had become "untenable" as Lerner continues to seek a buyer for the club.

Lifelong fan King admitted his decision had been a tough one to make but he believes Villa can become a force again.

"A very difficult one," he said when asked about his decision.

"I'm a supporter and have been watching Aston Villa for over 55 years, that is a large part of my life and it has been a big part of my life.

"But my letter of resignation explained exactly why I stood down along with David Bernstein. Both of us very much hope that the events of the next few weeks will put Villa back on track to where it should be.

"It is one of the great clubs of this country, it was involved in the foundation of the Football League itself, champions of Europe, we will get back there after a period."

Speaking to Bloomberg Europe, 68-year-old King also praised the fans for their support - with further protests against Lerner's ownership of the club planned for Saturday's visit of Southampton.

"It is a very proud club with a great tradition, a wonderful fanbase," he said.

"It has a terrific future, I think that will come under a different owner, I hope the sale will proceed speedily.

"But I think the fans of Aston Villa have shown a loyalty which is quite remarkable and they deserve much better than they have seen in recent years."

Villa have lost their last nine games, there is still no permanent manager in place, and they have also suspended striker Gabriel Agbonlahor after national newspaper allegations concerning his conduct following the United defeat.

It is the second time this season the forward has been the subject of an internal investigation, although no action was taken the first time around after questions were asked surrounding Agbonlahor's behaviour during a break in Dubai.

In a season to forget, the club have also sacked two managers in Tim Sherwood and Remi Garde while defender Micah Richards argued with supporters following an FA Cup draw at Wycombe and Joleon Lescott caused outrage after tweeting a picture of a luxury car after a 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Liverpool.

Press Association

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