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O'Leary exit leaves Villa in turmoil again - Printable Version

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O'Leary exit leaves Villa in turmoil again - forwardone - 07-20-2006 11:44 AM

O'Leary exit leaves Villa in turmoil again
By Bill Barclay
LONDON, July 20 - David O'Leary's departure from Aston Villa has plunged the troubled club into turmoil less than a month before their opening Premier League fixture at Arsenal.
The former Ireland defender drove off into the Villa Park shadows late on Wednesday after agreeing a compensation deal following a row over alleged player criticism of the club's long-standing, 82-year-old chairman Doug Ellis.
The "amicable parting of ways" with their manager, as Villa put it, leaves the former European champions in limbo.
Villa revealed last September that they had received an approach to buy the club and on Thursday, confirming O'Leary's departure to the London Stock Exchange, Villa said there had been a number of other approaches, both from Britain and overseas.
"However, there is no certainty that any of these discussions will lead to an offer being made," the club's plc said.
That will deepen the gloom of Villa fans who believe that Ellis's grip on the purse-strings is the root of problems at a club that won the European Cup in 1982 but has achieved precious little under nine different managers since then.
Former Leeds United manager O'Leary himself had become increasingly unpopular after failing to build on a sixth-placed finish in an encouraging opening season in 2003-04.
The following year Villa finished 10th and last season's slump to 16th brought the club back to the precarious position O'Leary had inherited from Graham Taylor in May 2003.
DONCASTER THRASHING
The low point of the campaign was a full-strength Villa's embarrassing 3-0 thrashing in the League Cup fourth round by Doncaster Rovers, a team who finished eighth in the third division of English professional soccer last season. Former Charlton Athletic manager Alan Curbishley heads the list of possible replacements. Former Celtic boss Martin O'Neill and ex-England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson, who was quoted as expressing an interest in the post in a tabloid sting in January, are both available too.
"While Doug Ellis is here I can't see anybody succeeding," Villa fans' spokesman Jonathan Fear told Sky Sports TV on Thursday.
Whoever opts to take charge of an under-performing squad could barely face a tougher start.
Last season Villa lost 5-0 at Arsenal and on August 19 they face the added difficulty of playing Arsene Wenger's team in the first Premier League match at their 60,000-capacity Emirates stadium.

Source: football.guardian.co