Aston Villa : Bob Bradley, Sven Goran Ericksson in contention
With the sudden departure of Martin O Neill , a huge void has been created just before the English premier league kicks off on Saturday . But things in Aston Villa camp are not crystal clear as they might seem to be. The major reason why O Neill resigned has been the fact that he has been frustrated by the transfer plans of the club and that he did not have much say or control over the departure of their talismanic winger James Milner . With no great signings this season O Neill became disillusioned with the entire management and board, as well as the way things were being run by the club .
Club owner Randy Lerner’s right hand man has come out in defense of the club by saying that the club was trying to reach financial security in the age of uncertainty and criticized martin for walking out of club at such a crucial juncture. However former players like Stan Collymore , a hardcore Aston Villa fan and a striker for club fully understood the coach’s decision to walk out of the club. With the other clubs apart from the top four like Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur bolstering their squad , martin wanted to have a good summer, spending spree to make his squad ready to challenge the top 4 this season. But American owner Lerner had adopted the “sell to buy” philosophy after a combined £40 million spending on new players last season.
Although none of the Aston Villa players targeted by other clubs have left the club, yet it is clear that the transfer of James Milner to Manchester City and Nicky Shorey to West Bromwich Albion looks imminent . Villa fans would be very unhappy with the developments around the club and would hope that the caretaker would be able to maintain the level and style of play typical to Aston Villa and manage to keep them in hunt before a new coach comes. This also ends a highly successful reign by one of the best British managers of modern times who took the Birmingham based club out of the limbo and made them a genuine contender for champions’ league spot. He developed many young English players and he is known for producing quality players out of unknown ones.
But with Martin O Neill gone, the focus has shifted to who will take the reigns. Current USA coach Bob Bradley has become the frontrunner and with and American owner at the helm, this seems to be a golden chance for a coach who has repeatedly reiterated his desire to coach in England. Sven Goran Ericksson has also thrown the hat into the ring and made himself available for the post although no official contacts have been made.
Bob Bradley had earlier been highly rated as the one who is going to take Fulham hotseat but Bradley insists that till now he has not approached any premier league club. Speaking to the reporters he said: “I have said over and over as well that I am always excited about new and different challenges. Certainly coaching in Europe at some point is something that I would love to do. At the same time, I also consider it a challenge when you finish one [World Cup] cycle and begin the process of working on another one. From the time one World Cup ends, you begin to go through the process of assessing where you are.”
The race for the Aston Villa hotseat is hotting up and is sure to go down the wire. Stay tuned for more information.