So Houllier at Villa. Will he be a success?By: Rob | September 9th, 2010
So after six years away from the Premier League (and it feels like about 4 of those were speculation he was joining Villa – can you believe its been less than a month?) Gérard Houllier has officially been confirmed as manager of Aston Villa.
So the immediate question – will he be a success? He’s had a mixed bag of a career. He was last in the Premier League as manager of Liverpool, where he set about dismantling the Spice Boy Era, and bought a bit of success to the club (including a UEFA Cup win) before leaving the club in a bit of a mess after failing to qualify for the Champions League. Not that dissimilar from his successor then.
He did help turn Steven Gerrard into the Steven Gerrard we all know today, and he did get the best out of Michael Owen (who hasn’t really been the same player since). Although it wasn’t all roses, he also bought El Hadji Diouf instead of Nicolas Anelka. If you are going to buy one sulky foreigner, you want to make it Anelka.
They key, I think is that the Premier League is a pretty different beast than it was in 2004. Since then English Clubs have come to dominante in the Champions League (last season excepted) the status of the League has grown, the money is crazier, it is an altogether different beast. Although having some experience is better than none.
The other key is Villa. Can they be pushed farther than O’Neill took them? Over the past few seasons they have been bleeding talent (Barry, Milner etc) without ever breaking into the top four (Despite threatening a couple of times). Keeping hold of talent is going to be key, and its unlikely he’ll be able to dismantle and start again as he did at Liverpool.
He is a great coach though – he won other trophies at Liverpool, cups and super cups, as well as the League in France a couple of times. He had a torrid international spell, but as we know that’s a different beast entirely.
Also, apparently Villa think he shares the same core values as they do. Whatever the hell they are.
Its a really interesting appointment and I can’t wait to see how it pans out. His first game is against Stoke on Monday (Its on Sky of course), also make a note in your diary for the beginning of December, when he heads back to Anfield.