By Tadhg Peavoy
Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner has released a statement announcing that he has put the Premier League club up for sale.
Lerner bought the Birmingham club eight years ago, acquiring the business for £62.6m.
There has been much speculation over Lerner's ownership of the club and manager Paul Lambert's future in a season where Villa failed to impress and finished the Premier League in 15th position, just five points above the relegation zone.
Lerner said in a statement: "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.
"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 while also trying to carry on the McGregor tradition of being mindful of the local community we serve."
"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" - Randy Lerner
The American entrepreneur bought the club from long-time owner Doug Ellis in 2006 and with Martin O'Neill in charge oversaw sixth-place Premier League finishes for three consecutive seasons from 2008-2010.
Also under O'Neill the club reached the Europa League round of 32 in 2009 and the League Cup final in 2010.
However, following the departure of current Republic of Ireland manager O'Neill due to lack of availability of transfer funds, the club's form slumped, with finishes of ninth, 16th, 15th and 15th in the Premier League in the last four seasons.
During the 2010-2014 period the club also struggled for managerial stability, with three managers overseeing the first team during that period: Gerard Houllier, Alex McLeish and current manager Lambert.