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Interview With Steve Stride

Following on from our interviews with Dennis Mortimer and General Charles Krulak, as well as our in the pipeline interview with Paul Birch, Vital Villa has lined up operations director Steve Stride to answer your questions.

Simply leave your questions in the article comments box below or ask away in the forum thread.

Out of respect for this site and also for Steve who has kindly agreed to do this, can I ask you to be fair in your questions please!

Details on Steve from Wikepedia:

Steve Stride is currently Operations Director of Aston Villa, having been employed at the club since 1972.

Originally recruited as an admin assistant, Stride quickly rose through the ranks at Villa Park, spending a lengthy time as Club Secretary before being elected to the board in 1997. To mark 25 years at the club, Stride released the book 'Stride inside the Villa', chronicling his time at the club.

In the Summer of 2005, Stride was responsible for the running of the club when Doug Ellis was recovering from a Heart Bypass operation.

In September 2006, Stride became the only existing Aston Villa Director to be part of Randy Lerner's new board following the American Billionaire's takeover of the club.




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The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday November 20 2006

Time: 10:21AM

Your Comments

How is life different for you under the new regime? What do the new board changes mean for you? Will you be heading the transfer dealings in January? Are you still in touch with DoL? (Whoever he is!)
Gordonsleftboot
In the past both yourself and HDE have come in for a lot of stick, have there been times where you have been tempted to walk away and did you feel the criticism was fair?
Aronno7
What would you see as your biggest acheivement at the Club since 1972.
col8
Fans seem to have vented some of their frustrations over the Ellis era on you. Guilty by association is probably the phrase that best sums it up. It is apparent that the new owners are bringing in the ideas that fans have been crying out for. However you never once stood up to be counted and have the balls to say the club was going backwards. Is your long term position untenable? You are a fan, but you were more concerned about your relationship with Ellis than the views of the fans ..... are you ashamed of your lack of bottle? Do you look back at your input to the shareholders meetings and realise how much you offended the shareholders? Ellis 'awarded' you many shares over his tenure to keep you onside, this is a ploy that worked as you turned your back on the fans. Do you feel no sense of shame in collecting the money from them? Or have you surprised us all by donating the ill gotten gains to a good cause? How many others that are included in those that had 'jobs for the boys' should now be moved out of Villa Park? As fans view success in silverware, do you think the last 24 years have been a success? UTV
voiceoftheholte
voth, a little harsh noddy.
col8
LOL at voiceoftheholte, be interesting to see if Fear puts those questions to him :) Steve you have obviously been at Villa for a long time, during that period which players have you enjoyed watching the most?
Aronno7
Was renaming The Witton Lane stand after Doug really decided by the board, as a surprise for Doug? Or was the only surprise yours? How fast can you rename the stand? Are you glad Ellis no longer runs the club? How do you feel now that the long overdue change in ownership has occurred?
The Usual Suspect
Steve, what are the biggest differences between the way the Americans conduct business to the way us Brits do. What are the biggest lessons you have learnt in your short time working for Randy?
DeanoVilla
I have one for Steve. Why are you still here ?
crosswesleyanchapel
Steve, there is a common opinion amongst the fans that Bruce Langham was doing a good job, and had some very positive ideas. Is this true and was his dismisal extremely unfair? Or was he really just bad at his job?
DeanoVilla
What are your views on Martin O'Neill? Who really appointed him- was it Ellis or did the new board pick him? Did he have assurances that Ellis would be selling before he agreed to become our manager? Bit unfair voiceoftheholte...the guy has agreed to answer our questions so why slate him?
Geordie_Villa
Crosswesleyandchapel, that is what I tried to say, but I used to many words. I think you have knocked the nail on the head. Geordie ..... I believe Stride desreves both barrels. He was more interested in saving his job and cuddling up to Ellis instead of standing up to be counted. By asking to give him some slack because he is answering questions, is akin to giving Goebells an easy ride because he is answering questions on his role alongside Hitler.
voiceoftheholte
How can you compere Doug to Hitler, at least Adolf was honest what his intentions were. Anyway Mr Stride do you believe Mr Lerner is here for the long haul or to make a few $$$?
silkie villain
Well, that's it then! When's the hanging???????Ve have vays of making you talk!!!!
TheQ.
Hardly a fair comparison voiceoftheholte. I agree that Stride didn't cover himself in glory during the Ellis regime, but who did?! He is part of the new board now, so Mr. Lerner obviously feels he has something he can offer the club. Fair enough to ask him about what went on under Ellis, but a personal attack is totally unwarranted
Geordie_Villa
Do you feel with your experience of UK soccer and Aston Villa, you can still offer the new management something worthwhile to the Villa cause?
avfc48
VOTH. Way to go..you're absolutely dead on mate
jonah
TheQ. LOL fella. Geordie ... it is not a personal attack. The questions I mentioned are questions that I want answered, or are we only allowed to ask 'nice' questions. That smacks of the Ellis regime. As an 'ex-shareholder', who has witnessed his contribution first hand, I think his efforts were poor. He was good when things looked on the up (the same as all the hangers on) but IMHO his arse went when the fans required someone to speak out against the former dictator. But in an attempt to please you here goes. Steve mate, what has been your favourite kit? What is your opinion on the food served in the Corner Flag Restaurant? Do you prefer cats or dogs. Does having no balls make you speak in a high voice. You look like Gareth from 'The Office', have you built your management style on him?
voiceoftheholte
"The sooner everybodys cup is half full, rather than half empty, the sooner VP will be the positive, vibrant place, most of us (I can't talk for the moaning, whingeing, miserable old gits that still infest our club) want." VOTH- are you not doing the same in having a pop at Stride? The Ellis regime is gone. It's time to accept that, although Stride got mixed up with things he shouldn't have done under Ellis, he is part of the new board and whether you like it or not, he'll be part of the future of Aston Villa
Geordie_Villa
I disagree again Geordie. Whilst Stride is their, some of the Ellis regime remains. I make no excuses for hoping that he is used for some of the knowledge and contacts he has built over the last 32 years, and then shown the door. Having him removed IMHO would help make the cup half full.
voiceoftheholte
On a scale of 1 to 10.....1 being free transfers and 10 is signing ronaldinho, what will be our ambition in the transfer market in January?
tylervilla
Just have to agree to disagree on this one voiceoftheholte, although I do see your point and I understand where you are coming from. I just think, considering all the experience on the board, if he was that attached to the previous regime, Randy would have shown him the door
Geordie_Villa
Given that there are no 'football men' on the board with experience of transacting football transfers and running a Premiership club, I think Steve Stride is most necessary. To have pushed him out would have been a classic case of throwing the baby out with the bath water.
Gordonsleftboot
I am not a fan Steve. On the contrary I believe you should have walked by now, if only out of respect to the supporters of AVFC. I suppose I can understand Mr Lerners decision to keep you at Villa Park to assist in the transition from the old regime to the new, but now that the ball is rolling and new top quality professional people are being installed in key positions, I wonder how you yourself see your future role at Villa Park, or will you indeed decide that your time is up, and its now time to go? I personally have a very hard time in believing other than that you solely looked out for number one during the Ellis years, putting your self interest and loyalty to Ellis above any real concern for the future of AVFC. How do you respond to my accusation? I dont wish to be disrespectful, nor do I intend to make any unwarranted personal attacks, but I simply cannot understand how you failed to see, like all other supporters clearly did, the damage and decline being suffered by our great club. Yet you chose for whatever reason to remain quiet, abusing your position by failing to challenge or speak out against the policies and stipulations laid down by Ellis. Why Steve? Do you really believe Steve that you have a role to play in the future of AVFC, that you indeed deserve to have a role to play in the future of AVFC? If so, please explain why.
glensider
How did you get on with a complete and utter liar for so long? I know if it was me i would of told him to feck off a long time ago. And i agree with Deanovilla comments about Bruce Langham he seemed to be doing a good job then just like that he's gone something smells a bit fishy there and i'm not talking about doug being incontinent !!!
chris the villan
Some interesting questions, I'll put anything that isn't personal to him as Steve is more than capable of talking for himself and can obviously choose what he doesn't want to answer. I don't think we have said you should ask just 'nice' questions but for us to get people willing to giv etheir time to talk to the readers of this site, it surely follows that a bit of respect has to be shown in the way the questions are asked?


It isn't as if I've not been vocal on the issues and did say at several shareholders meetings that I didn't believe there was one man apart from Doug on the board who thought that Doug should remain. However, IF we follow the line that Ellis interfered in everything and held staff back, is it not reasonable to extend that to all? Is Steve not the same as any other member of staff at Villa? He wasn't a major shareholder, without looking at the annual report I'm sure he had very few, he wasn't an owner, he was just an employee and to be fair, he had a great job so it is easy for us all to say he should have walked but I'm not sure on that pay and with a position that he obviously loves, would we have done the same?

I am also led to believe that there was more than meets the eye when it came to the takeover and I'm not sure if I'm breaking confidences etc, but I think he very much stood up to Doug and pushed as much as us for the takeover. Just not everything is in the public domain. I think anyone who worked with Doug will be tarnished with the same brush but after over two decades at Villa, surely it made sense to keep Steve Stride on for the contacts and knowledge he has? Again, he was an employee.
The Fear
What is your role of opearations manager entail? what do you actually do? day to day?
meakers
It will be very interesting to see how he responds, if indeed he decides to respond, to some of the questions and accusations directed at him. I just believe and feel that he has a lot to answer for, but I'm more than willing to listen to and evaluate any responses he might care to make. He may of course believe that he offers us no explanations for his actions or lack of, and that is something we will have to live with, if not actually accept. His responses might not satisfy me or fellow posters, but hearing his version of events wherever possible, may enable supporters to possibly view him in a slightly better light. Maybe not. We shall see.
glensider
So it seems most of us agree then. Make use of his knowledge and contacts ..... and then get rid. And I do not believe because he was an employee that makes any difference. I would make an employer aware of issues and if they were not acted upon then I would find another job. I think the General said 'that you do not steer a ship by its wake'. Well Steve Stride is the wake, you can see where we have been but that is very little indication of where we are going.
voiceoftheholte
ask him do u like our manager
Newman
MMMMMMMMmmmmmmm old stevie boy doesn't seem to have many fans, Fear I understand your point regarding him been an employee, and this is one of those rare occasions when I actually disagree IN PART with voth, I do not know Smithers financial or family situation, I also do not know how much of a fan he is, I do know he was part of a regime and a time many of us wish to put away in that dark place, So your a fan of a club, you get a job there, you make great strides (sorry) forward in your job, you are making what I assume is a very good wage, do you risk losing your job, and possibly your house, do you put yourself and your wife, kids, (again I do not know if these exist) on the breadline just because you felt the need to open your mouth, or do you keep it shut and try to change things behind the scenes, or do you do nothing (possibly under pressure from a partner who doesn't want the good life to end) and just collect your wages at the end of the week, hopefully Steve can put us straight on a few things, but it is hard to judge someone without the facts. Give someone the benefit of the doubt, of course he may just be an ar*eh*le, So come on Steve spill the beans. and UTV
steff_the_villan
Can we still call you Smithers now that Mr Burns has gone?
Steve64k
Well I don't think that Steve Stride is stupid and I suspect he knows his association with the old regime would attract criticism. But to answer questions in this manner has to be applauded. He didn't have to. However, I cannot see anything but diplomatic answers as no one associated with the club has criticised DHE yet. With that in mind I cannot see the point.
Gazvilla
Forget about Steve's association with Ellis, we can't all choose who we work for. Steve has my greatest respect. I can remember how he helped and supported Alan Instone at B'ham City, whilst Alan was recovering from a serious illness. He has been a loyal servant at VP for many years and long may it continue. Two questions I would like to ask is - what does Steve believe made Ron Saunders such a successful manager and does he know why Ron Saunders and Ellis did not "get-on"?
villacross
Ask Steve if he is just a "yes" man. If he says no then ask how he managed to keep his job for so long. Surely if he had stood up to Doug he would have not remained at VP for as long as he has.
Hoss The Villain
Thanks for the questions chaps, that will be more than enough as we've got some good ones in the forum as well.
The Fear
Steve , what is different about the job you are doing now and to the job you were doing whilst Doug was in charge, who agreed the transfer fee for bosko balaban and which scout went to see him play ???/
agentprovocateur
 

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