“We have a completely clear balance sheet” – Christian Purslow, Villa ceo
At the press conference that revealed both Aston Villa Head Coach Dean Smith and CEO Christian Purslow to the Villa faithful, amongst the talk of homecomings, promotion aims and club management restructure, the most interesting piece of news was Purslow seemingly dismissing of the omnipresence spectre of Financial Fair Play (FFP) as a threat to the club.
It was initially thought that FFP would compromise both the new Villa owners room to operate, as well as the incoming Villa Head Coach’s squad building, but the Villa CEO suggested that FFP worries are a thing of the past.
Purslow mentioned that a few years ago he had sat on a working group that helped construct the rules to help maintain football club’s profitability and sustainability.
“We’re highly respectful of them and of course the navigating within those rules”, said Purslow.
“It changes nothing, we are determined to support our new management team in improving the squad, where we need to do so, and we can easily do so with our financial resources within the rules.”
Understandably, considering Villa’s high wage bill and previous issues, he was pressed on why he was “not just confident” about the FFP issue.
“Thanks to our new majority owners, Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens, we have a completely clear balance sheet,” proclaimed Purslow, to the assembled press.
“Our financial problems and liabilities that the club had incurred were all cleared with the investors money, and we now therefore have a very, very strong base, financial base.”
Just how the financial slate has been wiped clean after Tony Xia and friends led Villa into a seriously flimsy financial ground is intriguing. The process of turning debt into shares was no doubt part of the equation.
Purslow praised both Sawiris and Edens as being “responsible, intelligent, long-term owners” and that they were “empowering” him and Smith to do their jobs.
It’s certainly so far, so good, in terms of the owners, if what he says checks out to be all good.
What was also interesting was the Villa CEO playing down Villa’s entitlement to be in the Premier League. A far cry from the previous regime talking nonsense about playing in the Champions League in five years time and being one of the biggest three clubs in the world.
“I believe you have to earn those things through hard work and through thoughtful organisation and planning,” concluded Purslow, of winning promotion to the top tier.
It maybe only one press conference, but on the evidence of it, it seems the circus may have finally left B6.