Neville expected to launch Villa bid


Michael Neville is renewing his bid to buy Aston Villa and admitted it would be "fantastic" if Martin O'Neill succeeded David O'Leary as manager.

Lifelong Villa fan Neville was part of the consortium which included Irish property developers the Comer Brothers interested in taking over at Villa last season after chairman Doug Ellis put the club up for sale.

That bid collapsed but Solihull businessman Neville is convinced he has new unnamed parties willing to lend their support with any takeover likely to happen sooner rather than later.

Ellis is due to return from holiday during the latter part of next week with Villa fans calling for him to quit after more than two decades in charge.

Neville said: "It is true to say that I have accelerated my efforts to make a bid for Aston Villa. I believe I have backers but cannot reveal any more than that.

"The timescale is short. If anything is going to happen, it would have to happen soon."

Neville admitted: "Villa fans must be fed up with hearing my name associated with a takeover - but if I can't make it work this time, then I can't make it work at all.

"This is an exciting prospect, the result of a year's work for me and I say that I have the best interests of Aston Villa at heart."

O'Neill has been linked with a move to Villa along with the likes of Claudio Ranieri and Alan Curbishley and the Irishman's qualities are admired by Neville.

He said: "As for Martin O'Neill, it would be fantastic to have him. Any club that has him on board would be very fortunate. He is top of the tree."

O'Neill and Graeme Souness are the frontrunners for the vacant manager's post at Aston Villa, according to reports in the British Sunday papers.

Ellis is looking for a new first-team boss after O'Leary's departure and will step up his efforts when he returns from holiday.  PA