As a manager he has enjoyed mixed fortunes but French Ligue 1 titles with PSG and Lyon, together with UEFA Cup, FA Cup and League Cup wins with Liverpool and a stint in charge of the French national team, all add up to a pretty impressive career.
The worrying news coming out of Aston Villa yesterday was that Houllier had been admitted to hospital on Wednesday evening. The sixty-three year old has had heart problems before and this news must be of concern.
The hospital in Birmingham have said that Houllier’s condition is ‘comfortable’ and that he is likely to be kept in for a couple of days.
Aston Villa chief executive Paul Faulkner said,
“I’ve received a lot of good wishes from fans and I would like to thank them for their kind thoughts in wishing Gerard a speedy recovery. I will see him this afternoon, along with Gary (McAllister), and we will pass on the fans’ messages. I know they will mean a lot to him. We would ask everybody to respect his privacy and that of his family at this time.”
When manager of Liverpool back in 2001 Houllier had an eleven hour operation after suffering heart problems. After he took the Villa job in September last year he said that his health was something that he checked thoroughly before accepting the challenge.
“When you go into a job you know there will be pressure, that it will be hard work and you won’t sleep every night. You need to make sure your body is ready. I have checked that. I am much healthier and fitter now than I was before.”
What Houllier wouldn’t have expected when he took the job was a battle against relegation. His side have struggled under his leadership and there have been stories of player’s falling out with each other and general player unrest. A section of Villa support has been keen to see Houllier replaced and the Villa board have twice been forced to issue a ‘vote of confidence’ in their manager.
Two wins in a row have eased the relegation worries and this health problem seems to have come at just the time that Villa are pretty much assured of Premier League safety.
A number of fellow managers have spoken about Houllier and what has happened.
Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish said,
“Your health is more important than anything, so we wish him well and I’m sure he is in the best possible hands.”
Other managers also wished Houllier well and pointed to the incredible pressures that manager’s find themselves under. Stoke’s Tony Pulis said,
“Everyone in football will wish Gerard a swift recovery, we hope he is well and I am sure they will be looking after him. We have some fantastic medical people in this country and I am sure he will get well looked after. Irrespective of what medical care you get, nothing stops you from getting excited on the touchline or carrying the pressure on your shoulders if things aren’t going too well. Pressure is part of the job, you get used to it.”
Roberto Mancini added,
“It is not easy because, when you are under pressure, you can have some problems. But I hope Gerard comes out of hospital very quickly because he is a big person, a big manager. He is my friend and I hope he can be on the bench in the next game.”
Everyone at Soccernews would like to add our good wishes to Gerard Houllier for a quick and full recovery.
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