Christian Purslow delivers honest assessment of job Steve Bruce did for Aston Villa

New signing Tammy Abraham of Aston Villa poses for a picture with CEO Christian Purslow and Steve Bruce manager of Aston Villa at the club's training ground at Bodymoor Heath on August 31,...

The former Aston Villa manager has since taken charge at Sheffield Wednesday.

New signing Tammy Abraham of Aston Villa poses for a picture with CEO Christian Purslow and Steve Bruce manager of Aston Villa at the club's training ground at Bodymoor Heath on August 31,...

The Aston Villa chief executive, Christian Purslow, has defended the former Villans manager, Steve Bruce, after Monday's Wembley success.

Bruce led Villa to last season's play-off final but was sacked just five months later after a poor start to the new campaign and has since taken charge at Sheffield Wednesday.

But while the Wednesday fanbase has quickly taken Bruce to its heart, many of an Aston Villa persuasion continue to blame the 58-year-old - who in his final game in charge had a cabbage thrown at him by one Villans supporter - for their side's early-season struggle.

Much of the Villa side promoted this campaign was in fact assembled by Bruce - something acknowledged by his Villa Park successor, Dean Smith, afterwards.

 

And speaking to BBC West Midlands on Tuesday, Purslow explained just how tough the Sheffield Wednesday boss had it last summer.

"Well, it's a very different scenario (in 2018) to be looking down the barrel of a dramatic reduction in parachute payments with no cash, because the previous ownership had run out, and facing another year in the Championship, which is one of the most difficult leagues in the world," he said.

"We now have two of the best-qualified owners in the world, two massively experienced investors in sport, fabulously well-resourced individuals, who want to do things the right way. So that’s the first and obvious positive.

"The second is we’re in the Premier League. The Premier League is the finest sports league in the world at marketing itself to the television industry, which means very significant chunks of television money are available to teams that play in our league. That’s not true in the Championship. So on a strictly financial level, it’s very different.

Villa manager Steve Bruce reacts after a near miss during the Sky Bet Championship match between Aston Villa and Middlesbrough at Villa Park on September 12, 2017 in Birmingham, England.

"But I’d like to think also on an organisational level. I often think Steve Bruce last year was on his own. He’s around a club, there’s no CEO, there’s no Sporting Director, the owner is under huge financial pressure. He’s more or less having to run a club on his own, with huge financial uncertainty, until the takeover happens.

"Now we have a full management team in place, very stable ownership, good financial conditions and so I think it’s as different as you could possibly be. It doesn’t mean it’s easy, doesn’t mean we should be complacent about that, because I want this club to be run in a thoughtful way and that means taking your time to get decisions right."

Bruce's Sheffield Wednesday side fell just short of a play-off place of their own, despite being 17th at the time of his arrival.

And Wednesday's former Aston Villa midfielder, Barry Bannan, told Open Goal this week that a top-six finish would have been achieved had the Owls had another five games to play.

Barry Bannan of Sheffield Wednesday during the Sky Bet Championship match between Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday at Bramall Lane on November 9, 2018 in Sheffield, England.

Have something to tell us about this article?

Register for ASTON VILLA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch