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Villa announce £54m losses

Aston Villa lost £54m in the year from 1 June 2010 to 31 May 2011, the club has announced. That is a record loss since American Randy Lerner bought Villa in 2006, and the club's losses have deepened every year since, reports The Guardian. In the previous year, 2009-10, Lerner's UK-based holding company which owns Villa, Reform Acquisitions, lost £38m, so losses worsened 42% in 2010-11.

Companies House documents show the total Lerner has invested in return for shares is now £133m; he has also put money in as loans, but Villa did not release full figures, only the headlines of their financial results, so the total Lerner has invested is not yet known.

They announced they spent £12m in "exceptional charges" in 2010-11 relating to changing the club's "management personnel". That apparently refers to Martin O'Neill, who left in August 2010 and subsequently achieved a financial settlement at a tribunal, and also compensation paid to the departing Gerard Houllier and to Birmingham City for Houllier's replacement, Alex McLeish, although that change happened in June 2011 after the date of these latest accounts.

Villa pointed to a slight increase in the club's annual income to a record £92m as a pleasing development: "This was achieved despite a backdrop of instability as the 2010-11 season constituted one of the most turbulent in the club's recent history," the club said.

In the summer of 2011, Villa sold Stewart Downing to Liverpool for £20m and Ashley Young to Manchester United for £17m, a total of £37m, with Charles N'Zogbia, for £9.5m and Shay Given, for £3.5m, £13m altogether, the major arrivals.

Since then, the club have tried to bring down the wage bill, although the figures for spending on wages were not released.

Robin Russell, Villa's chief financial officer, said: "The board is confident that the actions taken since the end of the 2010-11 financial year have galvanised the longer-term sustainability of the club and have given us a better financial platform on which to build for future success."

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Dave Williams

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