Aston Villa CEO Tom Fox has stepped down from his position, effective immediately, according to the club. I'm not even going to pretend to be unbiased here, this is the best news we've gotten in a while. Tom Fox has been nothing but a cancer on the club since (at the very latest) January, and his departure is a sign that at least someone in charge realizes how toxic his tenure had become.
In his 18 months with the club, Fox brought a number of changes, including two new managers (Tim Sherwood and Rémi Garde) and a new structure for back room management. Hendrik Almstadt, who left the club earlier this week, was the club's first sporting director, and that was a position that Fox worked hard to get.
But after initial optimism when he came aboard ("He got Arsenal lots of money! Maybe he can do that here!") things have quickly turned sour. The club is almost certainly doomed to relegation this season, and Fox has not taken the criticism well, having signs and banners calling for his ouster removed from Villa Park.
But lest we get too excited by this news, remember what the past five years have taught us: there is no floor. Yes, it is unequivocally good to see Fox leave, but we have no guarantee that his replacement will be any better. To see this vividly illustrated, one only has to look back at the Paul Faulkner to Tom Fox transition less than two years ago. We all thought it couldn't be much worse than Faulkner, but boy were we wrong.
Finally, even to his last dying minutes with the club, Fox lived in a world of delusion. His statement of departure included the line "watching the Club compete at Wembley in the FA Cup Final last year is a memory I'll cherish." I watched that match, too. As did most of you. And the memory I have of it is quite the opposite. I have the memory of a club who didn't even show up ready to compete.
What a shambles Fox has left behind. Until a new CEO is named, Chairman of the Board Steve Hollis will fill that role.