O’Neill’s Late Departure – Makes Bradley A Very Plausible Option

Martin O’Neill’s shock resignation a week before the season has left Villa in the lurch. Finding a replacement that meets the new found expectations of Villa fans is not going to be easy.

Puff pieces are already being written portraying Martin O’Neill as the protagonist and Randy Lerner as the evil American owner that wouldn’t show the proper commitment by investing in the club. This is crap. Lerner has dumped a ton of money into what was a struggling Premier League club and given O’Neill, who is a great manager, the resources to compete. But there are limits. Rumors abound about O’Neill complaining about lack of transfer funds and conflict with the ownership over selling Gareth Barry and a willingness to sell James Milner to Manchester City for 20+ million and Ashley Young for there abouts. Frankly, if that is the reason why O’Neil resigned he was living on another planet and any Villa fan upset at American owner Randy Lerner should be slapped.

NOT every owner is as rich as a Middle Eastern oil barren or a Russian oligarch. Books sometimes have to be balanced. We are also not talking about a Manchester United here that expects to be not just on top in England but in world football. The idea that O’Neil should be patted on the head for not wanting to sell James Milner for 20 plus million is ridiculous. Think about it. For 25 million Villa could bank 10 million and probably sign Mezut Ozil for 15 mil.

Villa fans with visions of grandeur are dreaming of a high profile manager like Guus Hiddink (who has a job) fail to recognize that a degree of austerity is about to fall upon them. The economy is down, presumably so is Lerner’s willingness to excessively splash the cash. If O’Neill was willing to walk out because a lack of cash a high profile figure is not going to be recruited. But furthermore, even if it were possible to attract a glitz manager, the season starts in a week. All those high profile managers are gone or have been locked up. Martin Jol the former Spurs manager, has been locked up by Ajax after Fulham made a go at him. While Villa is a step up to a degree, I doubt this is persuasive enough so late in the day.

With the season starting in a week, for Villa’s management they need to find someone first and foremost to keep the trains moving. There are experienced candidates out there, namely Sven Goran Erickson, and a variety of former Premier League managers such as Alan Churbishly.

Frankly, I don’t quite understand the English animosity toward Sven – when he left as manager in 06 he was seen as a failure, yet after getting to the quarters in both World Cups and the Euros his record should look mighty good when compared to McClaren and Capello. Sven also did a fine job at City before they were sold again. He says he is interested (he has no job after all) and would probably make a secure choice, but with him comes a pretty hefty salary, a lot of baggage, and likely a lot of moaning from Villa fans.

This gets us to Bob Bradley who when looking at what’s available is actually looking like a pretty sensible option… more on why Bradley makes sense later today.


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