Fans ready to step in and help rescue crisis-stricken Aston Villa
A group of wealthy Villa supporters is preparing to step in and aid the club as it faces up to the biggest crisis in its history.
The Express & Star understands the group has approached owner Tony Xia to offer financial support and would even consider a possible takeover bid.
At least two other consortia, including one from the USA, are thought to be interested in Villa, who are locked in the midst of a cash crisis.
Xia is battling to keep the club afloat and stave off the now very real threat of administration, which would see them start next season with a 12-point penalty.
The owner, who is based in Beijing, has understood to have secured a loan to hold off the immediate worry of a winding-up order from HMRC. But that is only a short-term solution to the problems faced by Villa, due to Xia’s difficulty in moving money out of China.
Failure to win promotion to the Premier League had already prompted the owner to warn of ‘severe’ changes.
Yet the true extent of the club’s trouble has come to light since it emerged they were facing a winding-up order, after failing to pay a PAYE bill of £4-6million. Chief executive Keith Wyness was suspended on the same day after tensions between the CEO and the club’s Chinese hierarchy over the impending financial nightmare reached boiling point.
Former Chelsea and Leeds chief executive Trevor Birch, now a managing director at London-based insolvency experts Duff & Phelps, is thought to have been advising Villa for the past week.
Xia is eager to recover as much as possible of the £150million he is thought to have invested in the club.
It is thought the owner would consider a sale, though Villa are now considered to be worth far less than the £76.2million he paid Randy Lerner two years ago.
In the meantime, the sale of Jack Grealish and other prized assets appears inevitable as Villa aim to ease their immediate cashflow problems.