Sunday, July 22, 2018

Can Houllier help Villa progress?

French boss Gerard Houllier has joined Aston Villa as their new boss. The veteran coach has joined the club on a three-year contract.

Houllier had agreed to join Villa two weeks ago but had to secure his release from his job as technical director with the French football federation.


He certainly brings a lot of experience to the job. He also has Premier League experience having managed Liverpool.

He did a decent job at Anfield but despite spending vast amounts of money on players couldn’t secure the holy grail of Premier League title.

In fact in the last season of his tenure at Liverpool the majority of Reds fans thought the club was going backwards. His reign was labelled a failure and his successor Rafa Benitez had a clear out of players when he arrived.

Old School

Gerard Houllier is very much an old school coach. Premier League clubs seem to think it’s a safer option to appoint an old head then take a risk by appointing and up-and-coming boss. Houllier will be seen as a safe option, rather than taking a chance on a newcomer to the top flight.


Previous manager Martin O’Neill did a really good job at Villa. He apparently left due to his chairman Randy Lerner’s lack of ambition. In other words the American was no longer prepared to throw money at the club anymore.

Villa are a very different club to one that Martin O’Neill took over. They are now regular European qualifiers and are no longer just happy to sit in midtable, where they regularly finished before O’Neill’s arrival.


The big money sale of James Milner to Manchester City should give Houllier some funds to spend in the January transfer window to strengthen his squad. He will need to strengthen his squad if they are going to challenge for European places this season.

The question is will Houllier be given enough money to get the players he needs to improve his squad and can Houllier sign the right players? Houllier brought a lot of poor quality players to Anfield in his time as Liverpool boss and for Villa’s sake I hope he gets it right.


I have to admit I wouldn’t rate Houllier above O’Neill in the managerial stakes. Houllier gained the rather cruel nickname of Clouseau within the ranks of Liverpool fans in the final few seasons because they thought he was a bumbling character who didn’t know what he was doing.

I believe his strength is developing young players. However at Liverpool he signed lots of young French players who never fulfilled their potential. He is also probably better off working behind the scenes, as he has done for his national side in different roles.


I don’t think that Gerard Houllier is the man to take Aston Villa to the next level. He won’t be helped by the fact that his chairman is no longer willing to spend money on the club. Villa won’t progress into those Champions League spots without major investment and that’s unlikely to come anytime soon.

Is Gerard Houllier a good appointment for Villa?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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