Prospective bidder Michael Neville has made a last plea for public support from Aston Villa fans to stop the club coming under American ownership.
But it appears that Neville's desperate attempt to win more time will not stop Randy Lerner from making an official #60 million-plus offer to Villa chairman Doug Ellis at an expected meeting at Villa Park today.
Neville has been trying to raise the funds for a whole year to meet Ellis's asking price. But he finds himself up against an American billion-aire who appears to have no love of football but has certainly shown that he knows how to run a sporting concern after inheriting the Cleveland Browns American Football team from his late father four years ago.
Lerner was a student at Clare College, Cambridge, in 1983, when Villa were the reigning European champions. But his sporting roots are otherwise centred on his boyhood heroes, the Browns.
Ellis has always said he will sell his 39 per cent majority shareholding to a consortium that has the club's interests at heart. Neville can only hope that the veteran chairman does not prove supportive of a bid from a man who clearly has business rather than football interests at the top of his agenda, and that Villa fans prove as hostile to an American takeover as Manchester United's were a year ago.
"We're working hard to get this bid done," Erdington-born, Solihull-based Neville said. "And our interest is definitely Aston Villa Football Club.
"Our focus is on building a football club, making Aston Villa great again with the supporters' help."
Neville again reiterated who his first choice as Villa's manager would be. "I'd love Martin O'Neill to be the next manager," he said.
That is a plan backed by one of O'Neill's former play-ers, recently-retired Birmingham City old boy Muzzy Izzet, once so close to coming to Villa Park himself in John Gregory's time in charge. One of O'Neill's first signings when he took charge of Leicester City in the mid-1990s, Izzet is convinced O'Neill, the fans' choice to take over from David O'Leary, would be able to bring the good times back to Villa Park.
"Martin has been linked with just about every club," Izzet said. "And, if Villa can get him, they'll have got a manager who has won so much and achieved so much -and that is what they want.
"If anyone can do it, and restore Villa to where they want to be, then it is Martin O' Neill. That is guaranteed. Within a couple of years he w ill have achieved something."
While O'Neill lies in wait, the man at the helm, caretaker manager Roy Aitken, should not be discounted. Former Villa manager Gregory has reminded Ellis to look at the job Glenn Roeder did at Newcastle last season.
"lt's always sad when a manager leaves a football club," Gregory said. "Last season was a difficult one for David and everyone connected with the club. And there's still a little bit of doom and gloom around the place.
"But this is a great opportunity for somebody to go in and revitalise the whole club and give it the good kick up the backside it needs all the way through the place.
"Somebody needs to take Villa back to where they should be, Roy's the man in charge, sat in the big chair, and he's now got that opportunity.
"The way things are going he could even start the season in charge. But, as we saw with Glenn Roeder and Newcastle when he came in as caretaker boss and totally transformed the team, that showed what can be done.
"Just by good coaching methods, he turned them round, they qualified for the InterToto and now they're in the Uefa Cup. It was fantastic what Glenn did there and who's to say Roy Aitken can't do the same for Villa."