Well, I for one will miss old Tom Fox. The American arrived waving the flag of corporate America along with the notoriety of turning Arsenal into a commercial “success”. Aston Villa really should have known better.
Fox was ultimately the master of his own downfall & will go down as one of very few officials at our great football club to have overseen it’s relegation. A feat indeed.
Now, the lions share of the blame for Villa’s demise naturally sits at Randy Lerner’s door, but Fox was an able assistant.
The recruitment of Hendrik Almstadt (now sacked) and Paddy Reilly (likely next out the door) will stand as monumental errors of judgement. Their combined cataclysmic efforts in the summer 2015 transfer window only accelerated our drop from the Premier League. Bravo.
Then there was the bizarre approach towards appointing managers.
Whilst Fox didn’t appoint Paul Lambert, he allowed the dreadful results to bring us almost to the brink of relegation in the 2014/15 season. After weeks of backing the manager, he made the decision to dismiss Lambert via telephone after a crucial defeat to Hull.
Then he proceeded to appoint Tim Sherwood, largely unproven, raw but motivational. Sherwood somehow kept us in the division by the skin of our teeth and got us to an FA Cup final. Swings and roundabouts indeed.
Then the disastrous transfer committee saw fit to ignore Sherwood’s recruitment requests, opting for young, untested, European starlets instead. They decided to couple this with shock signings such as Joleon Lescott.
As results dipped, Sherwood was despatched in November as Villa looked every bit as bad as the league table suggested.
Remi Garde was put in post as Head Coach in a move that few in or outside the club predicted or could make sense of. Garde saw Villa’s form worsen and at the time of writing has the worst managerial record of any recent Villa manager.
Fox’s major problem was his seemingly incessant need to say that everything was alright. Alternatively, as witnessed at the Villa Trust AGM, he would bury reality through mention of management jargon relating to change management.
We could all see that change management and review was required, but the lack of an admission of his contribution to it’s necessity was stark.
As early as January Fox was defending and stating that the hapless Almstadt was doing a great but misunderstood role. In the same month he stated at the AGM that the club was on a sounder financial footing. The financial reports just two months later showed that the wage bill had ballooned to levels never seen at the club whilst revenue had fallen.
Aston Villa is in the worst financial shape it can be in, during an era of unprecedented wealth. This is damning for Fox.
Damning particularly as the new Chairman Steve Hollis was adamant that he wouldn’t be sacking the CEO in January, yet just two months later, he has recruited replacements forcing Fox into an embarrassing step-down.
Good bye Tom Fox, it turns out that you were right about the false narrative…its just a shame you didn’t realise it was yourself you were referring to.
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