Villa survivor Stride to bow out

Steve Stride, Aston Villa's great survivor, is saying farewell to the club after 35 years - convinced that it has a better chance than ever of restoring former glories.

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Steve Stride, Aston Villa's great survivor, is saying farewell to the club after 35 years - convinced that it has a better chance than ever of restoring former glories.

Stride, who rose from office boy to secretary and finally Chief Operations Director, is standing down with effect from the end of May.

The resignation severs one of the few remaining links with the Doug Ellis era, but the 56-year-old Stride leaves confident new owner Randy Lerner will give Villa a great chance of once more competing for the top prizes.

Stride was secretary when Villa won the League title and European Cup in 1981 and 1982 and he says: "The time is right to go before I become a crusty old man in the corner telling everyone how we used to do it!

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moreSteve Stride, Aston Villa's great survivor, is saying farewell to the club after 35 years - convinced that it has a better chance than ever of restoring former glories.

Stride, who rose from office boy to secretary and finally Chief Operations Director, is standing down with effect from the end of May.

The resignation severs one of the few remaining links with the Doug Ellis era, but the 56-year-old Stride leaves confident new owner Randy Lerner will give Villa a great chance of once more competing for the top prizes.

Stride was secretary when Villa won the League title and European Cup in 1981 and 1982 and he says: "The time is right to go before I become a crusty old man in the corner telling everyone how we used to do it! "The new owners have given Villa a new direction and now there is both a real desire as well as the resources to take the club right back to the top.

"It's not going to be easy - but it can be done. I have only missed one home game in 35 years and I intend to keep up that level of support.

"I've been lucky enough to combine my job with my passion since I first walked through the doors in 1972. There were eight staff then - so that shows you how times have changed."

Villa issued a statement saluting Stride's contribution saying: "Steve has been a key member of the club since joining it in 1972, providing stability and continuity during the ups and downs of the club over four decades.

"Steve has been an effective ambassador for the club and has generated an enormous amount of goodwill on its behalf during his tenure.

Everyone at the club thanks Steve for his contribution and wishes him and his family all the best in their future endeavors."

Stride added: "It has been a fantastic career. I've been a first hand witness to our European and domestic campaigns but also the big games at Villa Park - England matches and FA Cup semi-finals."

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