Aston Villa’s month long search for a new manager has finally concluded with the club announcing the appointment of Gerard Houllier.
The distinguished Frenchmen who has played an integral role in the evolution of French football for nearly two decades has replaced Martin O’Neill who walked out on the club five days prior to the start of the domestic season after a clash of views with club owner Randy Lerner.
Sixty-three year old Houllier has expressed his sheer delight at joining one of England’s most renowned football clubs.
“I am very happy and proud to join this great and historic club.” he told the clubs official website.
“It was a very difficult decision for me to leave the FFF but I could not turn down the opportunity to manage a club whose approach, both on and off the pitch, I have long admired.”
“Aston Villa is one of England’s biggest clubs and has an amazing set of fans. This is a tremendous challenge and one I am very much looking forward to taking on.”
He departed Anfield in 2004 and took up the managerial role at French giants Lyon in 2005 where he won back to back league titles. He mutually agreed his release from the club in 2007 and has since been working as technical director for the French Football Federation (FFF).
The club are clearly satisfied with their new appointment and consider his credentials as perfect for matching their criteria.
Chief-Executive Paul Faulkner said:
“Two of the key qualities which we identified as being of crucial importance in our search for the new manager were experience of managing in the Premier League and a strategy for building on the existing strengths in our current squad, and Gerard Houllier comfortably satisfies these criteria.”
“In fact, he stands out as a football man who understands the ethos of our club and shares our core values.”
“We look forward to working with Gerard and supporting him and we ask our supporters to get behind the new manager and the team as we look to build on the progress we have made over the past four years in all areas of the club.”
Details over his contract are sparse but its believed that he has signed a three year deal. Also his official unveiling has yet to be revealed.
Villa travel to Stoke City on Monday night but as yet it is unclear whether or not Houllier will be in charge or if Kevin Macdonald will manage his last game as caretaker boss.
The club’s reserve team coach had stepped in and took over first team matters following O’Neill’s departure and has won two of his three league games in charge.