Christian Purslow: Steven Gerrard's arrival 'fantastic moment in Aston Villa's history'
Chief executive Christian Purslow hailed Steven Gerrard’s appointment as “a fantastic moment in Villa’s history”.
Purslow described Gerrard is the head coach who can “reignite” the club’s long-term ambitions of cracking the Premier League’s elite and returning to European competition.
The 41-year-old was the unanimous choice of Villa’s board to succeed Dean Smith, after a managerial search conducted by Purslow and sporting director Johan Lange.
Purslow said: “We are thrilled to Steven with us. The feeling is one of excitement. His drive, determination and the constant pressing of himself to be the best he can be are personal qualities we think will fit well with our club at this stage of our evolution.
“We were lucky enough to have many applications for this position. Managing Aston Villa is one of the most prestigious in football.
“For Steven to come through that, be offered this position and to take this position is a fantastic moment in our club’s history.”
Purslow explained how Villa had whittled an initial 20-man list down to four candidates, with Gerrard undergoing a five-hour interview which included talks with the club’s billionaire owners, Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens.
His success at Rangers, with whom he won the Scottish title last season, was a key factor while Purslow described Gerrard’s work developing young players as a “crucial attraction”.
Appointing a manager already in work elsewhere was also factored in, with the club’s board believing it would lessen the time of the new man getting up to speed. Villa are thought to have paid around £4million for the services of Gerrard and his coaching team.
He is now tasked with building on the work of Smith, who won Villa promotion back to the Premier League in 2019.
“We were quite clear when Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens acquired the club in 2018 we were sitting somewhere in the middle of the Championship,” said Purslow.
“We set in place a five year plan. The mantra of that was we must be improving, in our performances, our results and our league position.
“We are just over three years into that journey and I think Steven’s arrival will reignite the club and push us forward. We make no secret of the fact this club is one of the few in Britain to have won the European Cup.
“That stage, playing in Europe, is something which is an exciting dream for our fans. When that happens, we shall see. But what we expect and what Steven has promised to deliver is continuous improvement in our team. I am certain he will do that.”