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Gerard Houllier Leaves Aston Villa By Mutual Consent

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So says Mat Kendrick of the Birmingham Mail:

Gerard Houllier leaves #avfc by mutual consent. Read today's Birmingham Mail exclusive for full storyless than a minute ago via Mobile Web Favorite Retweet Reply

That's obviously unconfirmed, but Kendrick is as reliable as they come. There's obviously more to this that will be coming out in the days ahead, but the biggest question concerning Aston Villa this summer appears to be halfway answered. Now the "fun" part of managerial speculation can begin.

I'll of course wait to pass judgment on whether this is a positive move for the club until Houllier's replacement is named, but I'm very pleased that the decision has been made this early in the going. It seems reasonable to expect that the club have begun contacting potential replacements (or even that they have a replacement lined up) and that Aston Villa's next manager will have a bit more time with the team before competitive games begin than Houllier which can only be seen as a positive thing.

There will be a great deal of speculation in the coming days and weeks (everyone watch the betting lines!) but for now we're once again managerless and in a state of flux. Neat. Let's hope things go better for Villa's next gaffer than they did for the last.