Villa'a Manager Search Heats Up

With an international break coming word out of Villa Park is that the club will be stepping up their search to fill the managerial vacancy after longtime boss Martin O'Neil quit five days before the start of the season.  What Villa needs in their next manager is somebody who can build on the successes of the O'Neil regime while doing a better job than Martin in other areas.

Going forward Villa's next manager needs to have experience integrating young players into the first team and be shrewd in the transfer market in the way that O'Neil was not.  While Villa have earned praise for fielding so many English players, they do not necessarily represent the best value. If a club graduates home grown players into the first team that would obviously represent the best return on investment for any club.  Undoubtably the purchases of James Milner and Ashley Young have been tremendous investments for the club.  But what about all of the money spent on the squad players?  Would another manager have spent that more wisely on non-English players who generally cost less on the market?  That is the opportunity for whoever the next manager is.

I would also prefer that we find a manager whose career is on the ascendancy  I would rather that Randy Lerner be bold and take a chance, than go for a retread or the biggest name he can find.  I want Aston Villa to be on the lookout for the next great manager.  Unfortunately looking at the names that have been rumored I am not sure that candidate exists.

Bob Bradley-Overall I think he did a pretty good job with the U.S.  If I had to give him an overall grade I'd say he earned an A-.  He also had some decent results in MLS.  One could even argue that his long tenure coaching in the college ranks gives him experience working with young players.  I don't see this as a fit for a couple of reasons.  He has no experience in the English Premier League, or dealing in the transfer market.  If Bradley is as serious about managing in Europe as it appears he should take a job in the Championship and bring a club up, or in one of the smaller leagues in Europe.

Alan Curbishley-Brought Charlton up to the Premier League, left, and they fell back to oblivion.  He kept West Ham up, left, and the club is now in the process of falling to oblivion.  He has drawn plaudits for his dealings in the market in his previous stops and was considered for the England job in 2006.   To me this would be the safe pick who could keep the club in the top half.  I am not sure he is the manager who can take Villa to the next level.

Sven Goran Eriksson-Urgh.  Epitomizes retread. No, no, no.

Gareth Southgate-Former Villa captain, and was once seen as a future managerial star.  While he was very harshly sacked by Middlesboro, he did get them relegated.  If he took another job and built up his credentials that would be one thing, but what kind of message does it send when you appoint a manager who was sacked by a club in the Championship?

Martin Jol-Not happening.  Now that Ajax has reached the Champions League Group Stage, and will likely roll to the Eredviisie title I can't see him leaving for Villa.  He wanted to go to Fulham because he still has his home in London, and Ajax still had to navigate through two very tricky qualifying rounds in the Champions League.  I don't think living in Birmingham, and playing Blackburn in the Carling Cup is enticing to him at all at this point.

Billy Davies-Southgate without the Villa ties.  He is about to be unfairly sacked by Forrest after nearly earning them promotion with an extremely young squad last year.  Ironically there are rumors that Martin O'Neil wants to return to the club where he enjoyed so much success as a player.

Paul Lambert-After securing promotion for Norwich and winning League 1 going away he is well regarded.  This would be the board rolling the dice and swinging for the fences.  The clubs statement today indicated they were looking for a manager with EPL experience.  Lambert has never managed or played in the Premier League.  Hopefully they would at least consider him for the position.

Ottmar Hitzfield-This is the biggest name listed by one bookmaking site as a possibility.  He speaks fluent English, and given his two Champions League titles I am sure the club would overlook the lack of EPL experience.  The fact he has never managed in the Premier League is the only way I could see him taking the job.  One of the major reasons Carlo Ancelotti was as eager as he was to go to Chelsea was that he wanted to manage in the richest, most popular league in the world.  I have no idea if Hitzfield has similar ambitions and wants to measure himself against Fergie, Venger, and City's $$ on the biggest stage week in and week out.

Jurgen Klinsman-While he did a good job with Germany, he did not last a whole season at Bayern and was undermined by the backroom politics at the club.  He doesn't have enough club experience, and he appears to be campaigning for the US job.

Steve McClaren-This hurts.  If Martin O'Neil at least had the decency to quit at the end of last season McClaren would have been an ideal candidate.  He lead FC Twente to the Eredivisie title for the first time.  He did this through shrewd dealings in the transfer market by finding bargains in Africa and the Americas, and earned high marks as a tactician.  Neither of these were strengths of the previous regime.  Now he has taken the post at Wolfsburg and has millions of Volkswagen euros to spend.  It is hard to see him leaving at this point in time unless he has some Lane Kiffin in him.  If he did I am not entirely sure I would want a scumbag like that running my club.

Kevin MacDonald-I have been pumping up the Kevin MacDonald era for awhile.  Two weeks into the Kevin MacDonald era my biggest reservation is that he might be too nice of a guy.  We have seen this side implode in embarrassing fashion against Newcastle and Rapid Vienna.  Maybe having a tougher manager on the sidelines translates to a tougher team on the pitch.  K-Mac might know this as well, which in turn is fueling his trepidation in pushing for a permanent appointment.  Most coaches and managers would do anything to manage in the Premier League, let alone a club like Villa. 

Given how the club responded against Everton some of my faith has been restored after the two previous awful results.  He has the support of all of the players and has been a loyal servant to the club for a long time.  With the dearth of other clear alternatives giving him the rest of the year and a little bit of cash in January would not be a bad idea.  If the results are not there at the end of the season there will be more managers available than so early in the current campaign.Given the candidates out there, I'd let the Kevin MacDonald era continue if he is committed to being the manager of Aston Villa

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