How will Purslow be remembered?: The mixed legacy of the Villa CEO who had his own terrace chant

Aston Villa has announced Christian Purslow is to step down from his role as Chief Executive after five years at the club. Credit: PA Images

Aston Villa fans will continue to chant his name and debate his qualities long after he is gone. It's a legacy usually reserved for players and managers but rarely a chief executive.Christian Purslow leaves his role at Aston Villa following five years at the club in which he has transformed it into a serious Premier League force.It's a journey that has been far from straight forward with many very good decisions and one that backfired spectacularly.

The Prince of Wales with Prince George and Aston Villa chief executive Christian Purslow (r) celebrate a goal at Villa Park in April 2023. Credit: PA Images

Let's get that one out of the way first. The strongest argument against Purslow was his Red-tinted glasses for his former club Liverpool and specifically Steven Gerrard.The appointment of the former Reds captain was eye-catching but ultimately led to the club veering towards the bottom of the table.It is now known among fans as the Purslow Vanity Project.

After swallowing his pride and removing Gerrard he went on a mission that would repair his relationship with fans, so much so they made a chant about it."Christian Purslow went to Spain in a Lamborghini. Brought us back a manager, super Unai Emery." This was one of the best moves any company in the world made in 2022.

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith with CEO Christian Purslow (left) during a press conference at Villa Park in October 2018. Credit: PA Images

Villa are now back in Europe. When he joined in 2018, the club was in the Championship and was emerging from the threat of administration.In the month he joined the club, Villa Women lost 12-0 against Manchester United. Carla Ward's side are now the fifth best team in the country and improving as quickly as any team in the Women's Super League.Unlike some CEOs, Purslow is comfortable appearing on TV and was one of the most vocal voices against the European Super League project.

CEO of Aston Villa Football Club Christian Purslow at Villa Park on the day the club opened a seven-day vaccination hub in February 2021. Credit: PA Images

Many would rather a board member keep quiet and just provide the tools for a manager to do his job. Former Villa striker Stan Collymore tweeted today: "Genuinely looking forward to a new CEO who isn't on TV every 30 seconds."When owners look at how he executed his turnaround vision for Aston Villa, there will be no shortage of offers to do the same for their club. They'll happily have their revolution televised.