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Aston Villa manager seeks knowledge from Browns

The following is a true story.

Aston Villa Football Club has fallen upon hard times, so they're shadowing the Cleveland Browns to learn how to win.

Like the Browns, the Premier League club boasts a long, storied history -- and the same owner, Randy Lerner, who asked embattled Villa manager Alex McLeish to spend two days with Cleveland coach Pat Shurmur.

"(McLeish) is always looking for any advantage he can get and he felt this was an ideal opportunity to exchange ideas with his American counterparts at the Browns," Villa chief executive Paul Faulkner told The Associated Press this week, obviously not having seen last season's NFL standings.

McLeish is under heavy fire at home, the subject of fan protests amid a crumbling season that has Villa dangling near the Premier League relegation zone, something akin to the Browns being shipped to the CFL.

An Aston Villa spokesman said "Lerner believes there are universal transferrable methods both clubs can employ," but failed to expound.

Somewhere, far off, Mike Tomlin sleeps like a baby.

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