Date: 27th November 2018 at 6:07pm
Written by:

Following on from the The Aston Villa Fan Consultation Group 1st Meeting With CEO Christian Purslow – Minutes I thought I’d write a few articles on the meeting, the discussion that ensued and my views.

It’s taken a while, you can blame man-flu (lady readers, you won’t understand, so move along!)

Christian Purslow (CP) was very engaging, now before anyone says (fairly in my opinion), “Yes, but we have been here before,” I agree, we have. What I liked about CP is, in his introduction to the group, he said he realised, “Talk is cheap, it is actions that you all want.” That was before any of us in the consultation group had said anything, totally unprompted and I don’t think any of us would argue with him on that point.

It is actions we want, then we can judge the new regime, hopefully very favourably! As a first impression, I liked the fact he said that.

He was very positive about the chance to have a direct relationship with the fans and was happy with the structure of the consultation group. I see the odd snipe on social media about who has been selected, why they aren’t on it, etc but at the end of the day some fans have to represent and we’ll never have a totally perfect mix to suit everyone. However, as it is, we have website owners – at least we have an audience to tap into for the questions to be put on the agenda, disabled representation, The Trust representation, Lions Clubs AND the independent fan groups (that split from the Lions) represented, the more modern media (Villa View who are largely youtube and twitter), as well as differing age ranges represented. Whoever is there, the one thing we all know is, we are all Claret and Blue and want the best for our club. All of us can be approached with your queries, questions and feedback to represent your worries.

So .. words are cheap, he wants action. Great start.

He didn’t hide away from the fact that he has walked into a mess. It was only after talking with the new owners that he decided he would join the club, he assured them of his role and what they wanted for this great club of ours. The structure at Villa, I don’t think this will shock many fans from the shambles we’ve seen over the last goodness knows how many years, was not right and people weren’t fully accountable.

CP is keen on “a high level of transparency, openness and accountability.”

The accountability was a key issue to him, he explained he was putting in a new structure top to bottom, all of whom would ultimately be answerable to him as the CEO. This encompassed the football part of the club and the commercial area. Both have directors responsible for overseeing the staff who on a day to day basis are managed by the err.. managers of each department. The managers report back to the correct directors, the directors report back to CP. The structure also allows for a Finance Director and Legal Director.

Not rocket science is it? This is how all good businesses are structured.

CP predicted good things will follow a proper structuring of the club.

And again, it won’t shock you when he said the focus is to get back to the Premiership “As soon as possible.” Refreshingly though, he wasn’t about to – and I noticed this when we met the owners as well, start making rash predictions and big promises. We’ve been there before. All the promises under Doug, overstated and under delivered. The much-maligned Proud History – Bright Future from the Randy times and the utter (Twitter) nonsense from Xia of late.

I would much rather they understate things and over deliver!

As stated in the original minutes of the meeting:

He confirmed that the new owners had cleared off all historic liabilities via their investment in the club but this still requires the club to operate in a prudent and responsible manner. Mr Purslow said he was confident, clear and excited about the changes the new owners are bringing. The new ownership group are hugely experienced in sport and business, know what needs to be done to get the club on a long-term successful and sustainable footing.

He was also very clear that they inherited numerous issues that needed improvement. I guess this can’t be solved overnight but he was clearly very engaged in solving all the problems as soon as he could.

He promised, again top to bottom, that a lot would change at this club. And goodness knows, an awful lot NEEDS to change if we are serious about building back to being a contender in the Premiership.

The whole aim of the new owners, CEO and directors is to have us operating at the top end of the sport. “This is Aston Villa” he exclaimed, making it clear this great club should not be languishing where it is.

He also assured the group that they won’t be gambling on the Club’s future in order to get us back to the top, they will be building solid foundations (how many times have I said we are buidling on sand?) in order to make sure Villa is sustainable as a club. This is not a short term project, this is about the long term future of Aston Villa. No more saddling the club with huge debt was the message. Music to the ears isn’t it?

I liked it when he said, “There is a lot of wood to chop here and we’ve started chopping that wood.”

More to follow this week on some of the specific areas covered.

Feel free to share this folks!

Click for the forum