[quote_center]”When I talk to him now, he sounds like someone who brought the club last week. He really is enthused and energised” – Fox on Lerner[/quote_center]

Last week the newspapers were full of stories of Randy Lerner being willing to slash the asking-price of the club to 100m in order to get rid. Having invested roughly three times that amount as Villa chairman (including the initial purchase fee), on face value it would hardly be seen as a wise move for any astute business man.

Dawn of the Fox

Enlisting the services of Tom Fox as Villa’s new CEO also suggested that Lerner wasn’t running for the hills just yet. Unless Fox was part of a very imminent take over and the new owner wanted his man in place while the paper work was going through. Alas, this isn’t the case.

In the Tom Fox video interview that the club has just released (see below), the new Villa CEO admits that the chance to work with Lerner was the main reason he took the role at the club.

“I’ve told everybody who has asked me, I came here to work for Randy Lerner,” said Fox. “My whole background has been as a marketer, a builder, as someone who can organise and help things grow and I came in to do that with Randy. It was my relationship with him that made me as interested as I was to come to Aston Villa.”

Based on that quote alone, it seems Lerner is here to stay.

Fox goes on to talk about what appears to be a reboot in Lerner’s interest for the club.

“When I talk to him now, he sounds like someone who brought the club last week. He really is enthused and energised. He said something when we first met, he said I just want to start to have fun with it again and I don’t think that’s a lot for the owner to ask.”

This doesn’t sound like PR talk to cover the cracks as a new owner is sort out. In fact, it sounds like the process of trying to sell the club has given the Villa chairman fresh food for thought. To leave now would be considered a failure both on a personal level and a financial one.

It does raise the question though why Villa fans haven’t heard any evidence of our chairman’s new-found drive for the club from the horse’s mouth? Or is he simply keeping his options open in terms of a sale?

New Villa Direction

Fox goes on to explain that football has become a different beast over the last decade or so, with it becoming such a financially driven game. “I’ve spent enough time in the business of sport and world of football, to understand that it is a game driven on your ability to spend on your squad”. A new long-term is needed in terms of financial infrastructure to maximise the club’s potential, as he points out in the interview, giving the example of Arsenal’s unpopular move from Highbury at the time when the Gunners were at the peak of their powers on the pitch, as successful long-term strategy.

‘Maybe Villa haven’t kept the pace with a club like Arsenal, but that doesn’t mean to say that’s the way it always has to be,” he said.

“Five years ago at Arsenal we needed to invest into people and capability and I see the same opportunity here. All the ingredients are there, we just need to put some investment in the right areas and create the right plan and we can get back to where we deserve to be.”

Fox projects Villa as a club that should be competing for domestic cups and being in with a shout of at least the Europa League (i.e. very much embedded in the top half of the league), and is convinced it’s “not a wild dream, but a journey we can go on.”

He seems convinced that Randy Lerner very much in for the ride.

“We can talk about the business all you want, but the business is here to enable the football and the football is here to generate pride amongst the fanbase,” says Fox. “Randy’s a fan and I think he’s starting to feel that pride again for the club. He sounds fully engaged to me.”

 

The Full Tom Fox Interview

 

 

UTV

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13 COMMENTS

  1. Money making machine ? If you was talking about the Glaisers & ManU I might beleive you but this is Villa your talking about . But were talking about Villa, a club that very nearly went bust after money was gambled on getting CL and all the income that would generate . But that did not happen and big choices needed to be made . Throw more good money , after bad in a vain attempt to acheive the impossible or rein in the spending . Clearly the later route has been followed as the club is now ?? solvent . Which if we were being run by con men as you like to suggest Terry that would not be the case OR do you have proof of wrong doing ? Or could it be that in your world most are con men ?

    • No I was not happy with the past few seasons but I would have been even less happy if the clubs management had allowed us to go bust , Even if would seem fans such as you seemed hell bent on demanding boom or bust management rather than the more prudent route that has been taken . But then I was not content with the years of 5th place finishes which preceded those of doom & gloom . But better the years of doom & gloom if they are followed by long term succcess rather than all the years of mediochrity that followed the clubs last big successes

      • no need to think as the club might have been debt free but it was also stuck in a time warp and going no where except down wards as the take over at ManC changed everything money wise . And perhaps Terry ,you forget the campaign to oust Deadly or the years when the club finished 5th under Randy yet was going nowhere with MON as manager

  2. Lerner did already make a statement on his intentions when the club wasn’t sold by the end of the WC or shortly thereabouts. He plainly stated he would concentrate of the football at the club and the sale was on the back burner. He is not a man to make a lot of comment, and I appreciate that, I have given examples of other owners below who are less appealing, there are more.

    Tom Fox has still to close on Delph and Grealish to fully win my backing. He’s saying good things, and the Lambert extension was a good call, but still have my reservations. Be interesting to hear what he says to the supporter groups in private.

    Thankfully Faulkner is gone, things feel better since his departure, for me at least.

  3. the Lerner situation is quite clear. He is not selling. There is no other way to interpret the signs from the bunker. Fox certainly was not going to give up a job at Arsenal and put his reputation on the line for an uncertain future. If the club was to be sold, he could be out of a job.

    The fact that Keane joined up and that good players signed though all with something to prove, and the contracts for Hutton and Lambert all point one way. Lerner is making decisions for a long term future. If he was selling the club, no way would he have agreed with this.

    While its always difficult to understand anything happening at Villa Park, the signs are pointing one way. Lerner, who came for the Arsenal game I understand, is back in the driving seat and he will not be selling the club. some serious money may be spent next summer, or in January, but whatever he does and the season will be a difficult one, many rivers to cross as the song says, for the next year or two expect Lerner to stay.

    Stories of the price being cut to get rid are like the rumours of Russians in Britian in the first world war, with “snow on their boots” a little unbelievable. After all, with the Russians.. would the snow not have melted? Its common sense to see Lerner as back in the saddle. Though I could be wrong, you never know with Aston Villa. My money is however on two years more of Lerner at least.

    trevor Fisher

    • I’d agree on the 2 years as towards the end of the interview Fox mentions 2 years suggesting that the club is looking at 2 years to come good

  4. It will be the total ruination of the club if Randy the clown stays, the reason he has suddenly fell back in love with Villa is the TV money as he can’t find a buyer. Make no mistake Lerner will pocket the TV revenue and continue to run the club on a shoestring. The man is a turd.

    • Oh there are some sad & bitter individuals around the club who it would seem are happy to wallow in the mire rather than cheer the club to victory . Randy it would seem was depressed as most fans about the way things have gone in recent times ,if Fox is to beleived . As for turds if that’s all Randy’s critics know about well I feel sorry for them as not all in this world are like such creatures . . But perhaps they have yet to learn that there are honest people who are disgusted by such creatures and those who think everyone is out for all they can can get
      Time will tell what what the future holds for Villa but the season has started off far better than the doom & gloom merchants predicted even if things have slid over the last 2 games but the season is still young and the January transfer window beckons so let’s wait and see whether our new CEO can live up to his words

    • You’re a bluenose? Or you would rather a chairman like Ashley or Tan? The former is an example of a money creamer, and the latter is just a plain egomaniac.

      Worst Lerner has done is some mistakes (with his own money, I hasten to add) and fallen out of love with the club, easy to do when you pump 300M£’s into something with the best intentions and the “fans” call you a turd.

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