Aston Villa Put Up For Sale By Randy Lerner
The American owner of Aston Villa has announced a plan to sell the football club.
Entrepreneur Randy Lerner said it was time for a "fresh, invigorated leadership".
Mr Lerner bought the club from long-time owner Doug Ellis in 2006, and now plans for Bank of America Merrill Lynch to help find a buyer.
Aston Villa has struggled this year, ending in 15th place in the Premier League following its 3-0 defeat by Tottenham on Sunday.
In a statement, Mr Lerner said: "Several weeks back I said that following the end of the season I would clarify my future role with the club, and address what had become seemingly constant rumours of a sale.
"I have come to know well that fates are fickle in the business of English football. And I feel that I have pushed mine well past the limit."
The decision comes following the failure of the businessman's attempt to see the club sustain top-flight form.
In August 2006, Mr Lerner said: "It is my belief and the basis of my bid that Aston Villa can compete at the highest level within the Premiership and in Europe."
VIlla made it to Wembley in 2010 for the League Cup final and the FA Cup semi-final.
However, the departure of manager Martin O'Neill just before the 2010-11 season signalled the beginning of a decline.
Subsequent appointments of Gerard Houllier and ex-Birmingham boss Alex McLeish were unpopular with the the club's fans.
Current boss Paul Lambert has also come under criticism during this season.
Mr Lerner added: "The last several seasons have been week in, week out battles and having now come through this last season unfortunately limping amidst very meaningful injuries and constant sale rumours.
"I feel further that now is the time for me to look for new ownership and thus new leadership.
He said: "I owe it to Villa to move on, and look for fresh, invigorated leadership, if in my heart I feel I can no longer do the job.
"During my time with Villa, I have tried to strengthen and improve the club's physical infrastructure both at Villa Park and Bodymoor Heath (BMH) while also trying to carry on the McGregor tradition of being mindful of the local community we serve.
Mr Lerner insisted the club would continue with normal operations during the summer.
He said: "I've no doubt that the core staff at both Villa Park and BMH, to whom I owe a massive debt of friendship and loyalty, will continue to guide and protect the club through this period of transition."