Aston Villa have stayed true to their word in the continuing search for a Gerard Houllier replacement by keeping things slow and waiting until at least this week. With club owner Randy Lerner flying in to Birmingham today, however, things appear to be heating up. Over the weekend, we found out that former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti would be taking a one-year sabbatical from soccer to learn more about the game by observing other managers. Coupled with the continuing efforts of all involved to deny any connection between Mark Hughes and Villa, this news means that the two men most predicted to take the helm are out of the running.
So who could be ready to step in? Both the Daily Mail and the Guardian are reporting that Steve McClaren, the erstwhile England manager, appears to have jumped to number one on Aston Villa's shortlist. I'm shocked that the Villa twittersphere hasn't shown more outrage at this possibility, as it was McClaren who failed to lead England to qualify for the Euro 2008 competition and was unceremoniously ousted from his job, only to be replaced by Fabio Capello. Since then, McClaren has been sacked from his job in Germany and generally been a bit of a pariah in the soccer world. That said, I'll leave it up to you all to figure out if McClaren is what we want for the team. I haven't watched enough of teams he has coached to be able to form a good opinion of him. However, there are a few other interesting names still on the radar, if the Daily Mail is to be believed.
In-house favorite Roberto Martinez still seems to be under consideration, and I think most of us would consider his selection to be an excellent one. Martinez-led teams play soccer that is, at the very least, fun. I imagine he could do great things with the youngsters, and he obviously has some skill, considering he very nearly kept Wigan up this year. Also mentioned was David Moyes, but for some reason I really don't see us grabbing him. I'm not sure I can quite tell you why, but it doesn't make sense for Moyes to leave Everton for Villa.
Finally, in "People whose opinions we most care about," I would be remiss if I didn't tell you that Villa's most famous celebrity fan has weighed in on who he would like to see leading the Claret and Blue. No, not the Duke of Cambridge, but Tom Hanks! When accosted at a movie premier, Hanks decided to put his support behind Brian Clough. You know, star of The Damned United and a man who has been dead for a number of years.
Come to think of it, I'd rather have Clough's reanimated zombie corpse than MON back.