Aston Villa v Burnley live, O'Neill doing the off and Lerner cutting back

Morning all and with a little under three hours to kick off, I suspect the talk is going to be about the suggestion that O'Neill hasn't got any money to spend and that Lerner is cutting back.

I want to get this out of the way, mostly because it is going to get talked about and mostly because, well, it wouldn't really surprise me, although I am certain, if true, that it would surprise others.

Lerner cutting back


There is a report on people.co.uk that Lerner is cutting back and that O'Neill has no money to spend and that it might be enough for O'Neill to leave the club.

A Villa Source
The club is in cutback mode. It is a squeeze at all levels. The top scouts have been told that their targets have to be cheap and 'sensible' - and the word has come from the top.

Now, you can believe this if you want or you can say it is just club PR getting started early to try and make other clubs think we don't have any money. I for one think it is true, in so much that up until the last filed accounts (the new ones are coming out very soon and might present a very different story) the club basically looked like it was borrowing as much as the club could borrow and remain solvent.

What I mean is, this is an investment vehicle for Lerner. He bought the club at a below market price and we had no debt. He could lend the club money in the knowledge that the money would be safe and that he would be be paid a nice lump sum each year in interest.

If he put in £50mn more - chances are that the club wouldn't be able to finance that loan, meaning he wouldn't earn any money on that money and why, as a successful business man, should he put money into something that isn't going to make him any money.

But, the new accounts come out soon. We could find out that Lerner has written off all the debt he has put on the club and transferred it to additional shares, like the Manchester City owner did, or we could find out that he hasn't and that basically the club has got even more debt and isn't going to get any more money from him because the club won't be able to pay him his interest and continue to trade without assistance. We will find out soon and this story could be completely made up.

The report in the paper also suggests that O'Neill could be off if he doesn't get the money he believes is needed to get Aston Villa into the top four. I for one think we don't need to worry about the above until we see the new accounts and see what happens in the summer. Today, we have a football match.

Burnley at Villa Park

There is so much more to write about on the above matter, but we do have a certain match to play today and while this has three points written all over it, the really interesting part is going to be how we get the three points.

My views on the football are well documented but Burnley are so poor away from home that I think we should be able to dominate this game and maybe it is the perfect springboard for Crystal Palace and the final next Sunday.

We will have team news as and when we get it, we will update this page with anything interesting and we will also be on Twitter with 140 character updates. But today has three points written all over it, it's just a case of how we play.

Team News

Big Brad, King Carlos, RicardoDunne, Ginger Jim, Stephen Warnock, Webcam, Stewart Downing, James Milner, Stan the Man Petrov, Gabby Agbonlahor and Emile Heskey.

The Bench: Luke Young, Steve Sidwell, John Carew, The Fonz, Fabian Delph, Little Brad and Habib Beye.