Bucks Owner Is in the Best Bind: His Soccer Team Also Has a Big Game
A would not have been surprising, given the former Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner’s disappointing 10-year tenure as the Villa chairman from 2006 to 2016. But Edens has thus far dodged the usual suspicion and rancor from English soccer fans that often greet American owners, largely because he and Sawiris bought out the Chinese businessman Tony Xia, whose approval rating in two seasons sank to Lerner levels.
Another factor: Aston Villa fans were recently treated to a 10-match winning streak, longest in the club’s 144-year history, which vaulted Villa into the four-team playoffs for the third and final promotion spot to the Premier League. The British broadcaster Jonny Gould, who doubles as director of the Aston Villa Supporters Trust, asserts that Edens and Sawiris have ushered in “a decade’s worth of improvements in 10 months.”
“They have taken us from certain double relegation, bankruptcy and easy pickings for other clubs to take our best players to stand on the edge of an unlikely return to the big time,” Gould said Thursday. “The fun, inspiration and good times are back at Villa Park after a decade of decline and slumber.”
Reviews of Bucks ownership are also on the rebound. In the 2017 off-season, the elevation of Horst to general manager was portrayed as a compromise of three controlling partners who could not agree on an external hire. Of the three, only Edens attended Horst’s introductory news conference. Two years later, at age 36, Horst is a contender for N.B.A. executive of the year.
“I’m not the kind of person who says, ‘I told you so,’” Edens said. “That’s not how I spend my life. But I feel really good that the decisions we’ve made around him turned out the way they did.”
On Friday, Edens was still trying to work out whether he should fly from Toronto to England on Sunday, or arrange a soccer watch party Monday morning in Milwaukee, if the Bucks find a way to force that Game 7.
“One of the other owners told me, ‘No one’s going to feel sorry for us,’” Edens said. “There’s no sympathy out there, because it’s a wonderful position to be in.”