In a story first broken by @QuakesForever, and confirmed by the San Jose Mercury News (and falsely reported as an “EPL” executive), the San Jose Earthquakes have hired former Aston Villa and Arsenal executive Tom Fox as the club’s new President. Former President Dave Kaval will take over as team president of the Oakland Athletics.
Kaval’s departure was simply a matter of time, and a move I predicted back in November. Kaval performed the duty for which he was hired: to get San Jose a stadium, and now he takes his experience and expertise to Oakland for a similar call of duty. Oakland has been seeking a move out of their current stadium for some time, and Kaval seems like the most appropriate choice to get that job done.
Tom Fox has a checkered history as an executive. While at Arsenal as the Chief Commercial Officer and upon their move to the newly minted Emirates Stadium, the team continued to fall from their glory days of the “Invincibles Season” of 2004, the last season Arsenal won the league title. In 2014, he moved to Aston Villa as President, and then team went into free-fall, dropping out of the Premier League and into the EFL Championship League. Fox quit a year ago, and Villa finished 13th in the Championship League this past season, well out of promotion range.
Quakes fans should be cautious with Fox at the helm. While he has English pedigree with Arsenal and Aston Villa, for all intents and purposes, Fox is a Championship League hire, and a bad one at that. Villa dropped like a lead balloon out of the Prem a few years after Fox was named club president, and Villa has yet to recover. That type of history doesn’t bode well for a San Jose team seeking to become an MLS powerhouse.