Aston Villa, Randy Lerner's other athletic baby, lost in the finals of the Carling Cup in February against Manchester United, spoiling a chance for Randy to add his first piece of hardware as a pro owner. The Browns, further from that goal, to be sure, now have Holmgren at the helm and a suitcase full of draft picks for this week's draft.
It's as good a time as any to check in with an actual Aston Villa fan and a reporter familiar with the team and delve a into the schism in perception of Mr. Lerner between us Browns-lovin' Yanks and the Villa-lovin' Brits.
There's a clear favorite sports owner in Cleveland — Dan Gilbert. You couldn't find a single soul who wouldn't pick Gilbert at the top. Finishing the rankings, Lerner would fall second, not because any fan would want to give him credit, but because Larry Dolan is so miserable and cheap that he has to be dead last on the list. If there were a category for "Would beat him with a tire iron," then most fans would probably pick that option.
So Lerner falls in the middle by default, for now, and about the only nice thing a fan might say about Randy is that he has a lot of money and he doesn't mind spending it. Beside that minor compliment, there's a whole busload of hate directed at Lerner.
I think, fundamentally, it stems from three things: