We've known this was coming for several days but the club has made it official.
No matter what you think of Gerard Houllier and his time with Aston Villa, it's fair to label his tenure a disappointment at the very least. I wouldn't go so far to call this a lost year-we do have Darren Bent and Jean Makoun after all-but we are now faced with the prospect of yet another manager next season. That means different philosophies, different tactical approaches and different ideas when it comes to suitable personnel. No matter how much faith you place in the board to make the correct decision, it's a nervous time. Again.
I for one think it's a tremendous shame that Houllier will be unable to continue. I was not always enamored with the man's approach and decision making but it could have been a damn sight worse and you'd be hard pressed to convince me he didn't have things moving in the right direction. I wanted to see what he could do with a full transfer window and off-season and how the young players would be handled. Not everyone agrees with me, and that's of course reasonable. But I would hope that all of us can be relieved in one sense, that all parties involved-Houllier, the club and medical professionals-came to the conclusion that this course of action would be best for everyone and that Houllier's health going forward was of the utmost importance. I wanted Houllier back, but not at the expense of his well being.
Now that it's official, the rumor mill should begin to churn at an ever quicker pace. We will of course keep you posted as news emerges. This stuff is a lot of fun for some. Not so much for others. Guess which camp I'm in!
Some excerpts from the club's statement after the jump.
Chief Executive Paul Faulkner:
I would like to thank Gerard for his considerable efforts over the past nine months and for the dedication, commitment and work ethic he has demonstrated as Villa manager.
As a Board we are very conscious of the need to ensure that the Club is prepared fully to meet the demands of the new season and, to that end, we have already embarked upon the process which will lead to the appointment of a new manager.
I am extremely disappointed that I will not have the opportunity to manage Aston Villa next season.
I would especially like to thank my assistant manager, Gary McAllister, my staff, the players and all at Aston Villa for their support and, of course, for their efforts in securing a very positive end to last season.
It has been an honour to manage this great club and I wish everyone connected with Aston Villa every success for the future.