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Aston Villa Chief Executive steps down, people cheer

Paul Faulkner has stepped down as Chief Executive for Aston Villa, pleasing fans who have made him something of a punching bag over the past four years.

Pete Norton

Aston Villa have released a statement confirming Paul Faulkner has stepped down as Chief Executive of the club. Robin Russell, who has been with the Villa since 2006, will step in as acting CEO.

This announcement has been greeted with cheers by plenty of the Villa faithful, who seem to believe that Faulkner, who has been with the club since 2010 (and with Randy Lerner for much longer) is more of a Chief Executive in Charge of Mucking Up The Villa.

The main problem here seems to be that Faulkner doesn't really know the sport. Or perhaps it's just that he's been in charge of a club in chaos ever since he was appointed - after all, Martin O'Neill left just months after he took over the reigns. Since then, Villa have been on the skid.

Is it down to Faulkner, is it down to Lerner, is it down to MON's tendency to spend big for players that would be out of place in a League 1 side? We may never know. It's likely a mixture of all three, but today, it will be Faulkner that gets crucified.

As Lerner's right-hand man, the one in charge of the daily runnings of the club, Faulkner's had to be the one to be the hard-ass. He's the one that has had to make the decisions that keep the club in a decent financial position, rather than continue along in those pre-August 2010 days of jubilee.

Did he always do well? Of course not. He's the one that originally authorized some of O'Neill's huge weekly wage offerings. Tasked with cutting expenses, he probably sold too much too fast, leaving Villa struggling. And he could have had something to do with the dark days of 2011-2012, days we try not to speak about.

But Faulkner always had a hard battle to fight. He had to balance between making massive adjustments to the club's books, while still keeping the fans happy - and Lerner happy. It was always going to be a thankless job, so really, it's no surprise that there's little love lost between the fans and the departing CEO.

This is the second day in a row that Aston Villa have issued a statement concerning yesterday's running of the club. Yesterday's was that Randy Lerner Remembered He Is In Charge Of Aston Villa FC. With the news of Faulkner's exit coming so quickly, people are speculating that it may be because the takeover is coming so soon.

Could be. But it's more likely that Faulkner realized there's really no point in sticking around to be another punching bag for an owner that fails to turn attention to his business.

Bring on the season...