Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Villa to be 'most famous club in China'

19 May 2016, 15:23

London - Aston Villa revealed ambitions to become the most popular team in China after Harvard-educated businessman Tony Jiantong Xia snapped up the relegated club for a reported $87 million.

The "Villains" crashed out of England's Premier League after winning only three times this season, but they will have their fingers crossed for better times ahead under their new ownership.

US-based owner Randy Lerner had been trying to sell Villa for two years and he finally found a buyer after slashing his asking price to a reported 60 million ($87 million, 78 million euros).

Fans will hope Xia now follows the lead of Thai-owned English champions Leicester City, rather than that of their city rivals Birmingham City, who were bought by a one-time Hong Kong hairdresser who was later jailed for money-laundering.

A new manager will be appointed "shortly", a club statement said, with former Leicester boss Nigel Pearson and ex-Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo both reportedly in the running after Remi Garde was sacked in March.

The first goal for Xia's Villa is to win promotion to the Premier League and then return to European competition by finishing in the top six, the club said in a statement.

"Dr. Xia's immediate objective is to return Aston Villa to the Premier League and then to have the club finish in the top six, bringing European football back to Villa Park," the statement said.

"He plans to make Aston Villa the most famous football club in China with a huge fan base."

Chinese tycoons have been at the forefront of a wave of Asian investment in European football, snapping up stakes in powerhouses Manchester City and Atletico Madrid.

Chinese investors are also negotiating to buy shares in Italy's seven-time European champions, AC Milan.


The Premier League is hugely popular in China and success by Villa would guarantee wide visibility in the world's most populous nation, making them a magnet for sponsors.

Lerner has agreed to sell 100 percent ownership of Aston Villa to Xia's Recon Group, subject to approval from the Premier League and Football League, the club said.

The Recon Group is a privately owned holding company with controlling stakes in five companies listed on the Hong Kong and Chinese stock exchanges, the Villa website said.

The conglomerate also owns "many other private companies employing 35,000 people in 75 countries" and has grown during China's giant urbanisation programme of recent years.

Lerner, who bought Villa in 2006 for around 60 million, had hoped to sell the club for 200 million, but the team's dismal form over the last two seasons put off potential investors.

According to Villa's website, Xia decided to buy "an iconic football club in England as the cornerstone of his Sports, Leisure and Tourism Division".

The statement says he became "a fan of Aston Villa many years ago" and "played football as a striker until he finished at college".

Villa chairman Steve Hollis flew to China to complete the deal as soon as their woeful top-flight campaign was completed last weekend.

Xia will take charge with Villa condemned to second-tier action for the first time since 1987-88 and with fans' morale at an all-time low after months of protests against Lerner and the under-performing players.

Lerner, in a rambling farewell message, said Xia has the enthusiasm and experience needed to redevelop Villa Park and improve revenue streams.

"As we visited together, and had some unrushed time to discuss his plans, Tony's excitement to develop Villa Park shone through," Lerner said.

Xia's move for Villa comes after a glorious season for Thailand's Srivaddhanaprabha family, who bought Leicester in 2010 and transformed the club into unlikely Premier League champions.

Leicester contrast with Championship side Birmingham City, who were bought in 2009 by Hong Kong's Carson Yeung -- who was jailed in 2014 for money-laundering, but was freed on bail last year pending an appeal.



7 arrests over violence at West Ham

27 October 2016, 18:00

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Leave ODM if you are unhappy, Rai...

Leave ODM if you are not happy, Raila Odinga tells Senator. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Former Assistant Minister joins J...

A former Assistant Minister has quit PNU and joined the Jubilee Party. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
DP Ruto intervenes as Kerio Valle...

DP William Ruto will visit Kerio Valley to try solve never-ending clashes between local residents. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
ODM MP chased down by angry Kibra...

Kibra MP Ken Okoth had a hard time in his constituency after angry youth pelted him with stones. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Prepare for DP Ruto fight in 2022...

An MP has warned that the Kalenjin Community will not stand back and watch as DP Ruto is duped ahead of the 2022 polls. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Be careful who you deal with, DP ...

Watch out for your political future, DP William Ruto has been warned. Read more...