He speaks English, French, German, and Spanish. He played with Sir Alex Ferguson. He scored 96 goals in 10 seasons as a striker for Aberdeen and Metz. And he managed Birmingham City to a loss. That's a great resume for anyone, but the bit about making Birmingham City lose a match should really endear this man to Aston Villa fans. Say hello to Villa's new assistant manager, Eric Black!
Black has quit his position as number two at Rotherham and it's widely suspected that he'll be named as Rémi Garde's assistant in the next few days. Reports say that Garde rejected suggestions for the position and instead held out stubbornly for his own man. The choice of someone who spent half a decade in France and speaks the language fluently seems particularly wise given the make up of the Villa squad right now.
At Rotherham, and in most other places he's worked, Black has been very popular with players. He's also proven himself to be a capable Lieutenant. Neil Redfearn, current Rotherham boss, had this to say about Black:
"We want to thank him for all his effort and hard work whilst with Rotherham United, and from a personal point of view I have thoroughly enjoyed working with him. Eric really bought into what I wanted to do here and was very popular with the players and staff."
Of course, we've gotten excited about assistant manager hirings before and they haven't helped the club all that much (see: Ray Wilkins), but this seems to be a good choice at least on the surface. It's also encouraging that Rémi looks to be planning for the long haul. Yes there is a chance that he could save this club this season, but more realistically, it will take some time, and it's hires like this that pave the way for future success.
Oh, and about that time with Blues? Black was the assistant there from July 2004 under Steve Bruce and was the caretaker for one match after Bruce left in 2007. It was a 0-2 loss at St. Andrews to Portsmouth