Villa still ambitious says chief

Last updated : 22 December 2010 By BBC Sport

Aston Villa's chief executive Paul Faulkner insists the club is as ambitious as ever and has defended owner Randy Lerner's spending policy.After three successive top-six finishes Villa are 15th in the league and only paid money for one player in 2010.

"Over the four-and-a-half years Randy has been here, probably only Manchester City have spent more," said Faulkner.

"There's always an initial period of spending and then it settles down but the ambition's the same as always."

Villa's season got off to a surprising start, with Martin O'Neill's resignation after four years in charge, less than a week before the campaign began.

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Kevin MacDonald took temporary charge, during which time James Milner was sold to Manchester City, with Stephen Ireland, Villa's only new arrival this year, moving in the opposite direction as part of the deal, and Villa were knocked out of the Europa League.

Former Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier took charge in September but has failed to turn things around amid talk of player unrest and Ireland has already announced he wants to leave.

Lerner has been in charge of Villa since September 2006, and Faulkner said his commitment to the club remains as strong as ever.

"When he bought the club, you knew you were going to have to pay the price to buy it and then spend on players initially over a number of years," said Faulkner.

"We've spent £140m on players and - net - it's still nearly £100m.

"You've also got to spend on infrastructure, which we did with redeveloping Bodymoor Heath (Villa's training ground), and in improving and upgrading parts of Villa Park."

Source: BBC Sport

Source: BBC Sport