New Villa chief Lerner delighted by win

August 28, 2006

New Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner could not conceal his delight after watching Martin O'Neill's side climb to second spot in the Premiership by defeating Newcastle at Villa Park.

Lerner and his family flew over from the United States and received a standing ovation from the Villa fans before witnessing goals from Luke Moore and Juan Pablo Angel maintain an unbeaten start to the campaign.

The 44-year-old Lerner was introduced to some of the Villa players by outgoing chairman Doug Ellis after the game and will now sit down with O'Neill to discuss transfer targets before the window closes at midnight on Thursday.

Lerner, the billionaire owner of NFL side Cleveland Browns, said: 'What a great start that was. My family have enjoyed it, particularly with Villa scoring within two minutes of the kick-off.

'They didn't waste anytime and the crowd were chanting my name. That was great. I thank them for that.

'The whole afternoon gave me a nice warm feeling. It underlined to me why exactly I am so happy to be buying into English soccer. It is a great club.'

O'Neill said: 'I haven't sat down with Mr Lerner yet. I will do hopefully in the next day or two. He is staying on in England for a little while.

'Before the transfer window closes we are going to try and do something. The good players at the club need a bit of help and it would be really important for us to get some people in.

'There is some momentum there at present. We have got seven points and for club to make a signing or two would be nice if that is the case. If it doesn't materialise, then we still try and get some people in - even if they are on loans.

'We will try and do something because the squad does needs bolstering. All thoughts will be on that between now and Thursday evening.'

On an almost perfect day for Villa, new skipper Gareth Barry pledged his future to the club by signing a new four-year deal after coming close to asking for a transfer in the summer.

Villa defender Aaron Hughes said: 'I think Gareth pledging his future to us is a massive lift because he is a very important player for us.

'Since I've been here, he has been very consistent, probably the most consistent player at the club. To get him signed up is fantastic for us.'

O'Neill said: 'We wanted him badly and I think it was really important for us to keep Gareth at the football club.

'If he had left - and at one stage he could have done - it would have been a massive disappointment to us all. Just to get him on board has given all of us a big lift.'

Newcastle suffered their first defeat in 13 games but the one consolation was new £10million signing Obafemi Martins' injury was not as serious as first feared when he was carried off on a stretcher after an hour.

A relieved Magpies boss Glenn Roeder said: 'We have been very lucky. He has suffered a heavy dead leg. When he was stretchered off I thought it could be a serious knee injury but he expect him to be fit for our next game with Fulham.'

Roeder admitted: 'The players will be disappointed with the goals they conceded. There were individuals who should have done better.'