Next in line for Aston Villa

Since the shock departure of Martin O’Neill a mere 24 hours ago names have been speculated left, right and center to fill the vacant post.

Here we’ll look at some of the front runners for the job and some of the long shots which may appeal to Villa faithful a little more than the hot favorites!

Bob Bradley


United States boss Bradley has emerged as an early favorite seemingly as he is a fellow compatriot to chairman Randy Lerner. The American has already been given odds as low as 9/4 to become the next Villa boss but whether this would be a popular choice amongst the fans is up for debate. After losing a manager of O’Neill’s caliber many will be hoping for a marquee signing to push the club on and Bradley does not really fit the bill.

However, some Villains are in favor of bringing in the USA coach as he is a manager with a point to prove at club level after some impressive results in internationals which include a 2-0 victory over world champions Spain among their best. The manager may have the ability to bring in some players well known to him, perhaps Landon Donovan and even son Michael Bradley to replace the outgoing Milner.

Whether he can attract much in the terms of quality to progress Villa to challenge the top 4 is another matter. Bradley’s man management and motivational skills have been praised which could give the Villa dressing room a much needed lift but his tactical prowess and in game decision making may not quite be up to Premier League standard.

Saying that, Bradley is a relatively young prospect in managerial terms which could be what Villa need to progress their youthful and exciting squad.

Sven Goran Eriksson


A controversial option to say the least but the Swede is constantly amongst the front runners for any managerial vacancy these days. Eriksson, however, is not a popular option for the Villa fans and it is hard to see him receiving the warmest reception were he to be appointed as the next boss. It is thought that the 62 year old would jump at the chance to manage in the Premier League once more as he felt he was unfairly treated at former employers Man City.

He became the first City manager since 1970 to win both league derbies against United and also achieved the joint highest Premier League point total in the club’s history finishing in 9th place.

One thing that cannot be questioned is his experience at top flight football which is an invaluable commodity at any top 6 side. His off field antics are something that Aston Villa could definitely do without and an apparent lack of passion and energy would be a massive difference to that of his predecessor which could cause to much of a culture shock among the ranks. Can’t see this one happening as most faithful Villains wouldn’t abide the decision.

Gareth Southgate


The unemployed and up and coming young manager didn’t have the best of starts to his managerial career at Middlesborough and eventually saw the club relegated in 2009. After being given time by chairman Steve Gibson, the 39 year old did have some high points at the club finishing a respectable 12th in his first season.

Amongst his other achievements included an 8-1 drubbing of Manchester City, a Manager of the Month award at the start of the 08-09 season and victories against all of the then top 4. His reign at the club was controversially brought to an end with Boro just 1 point off the top of the Championship in October 2009.

His experience, however is extremely limited and at the level of a club like Villa is non-existent. His ties with the club in a 6 year spell at Villa Park are surely not enough basis for employment, though with John Robertson expected to leave with O’Neill he may make a decent assistant to a foreign manager with little knowledge of the league and the club.

With numerous names being touted including Alan Curbishley, Slaven Bilic, Gianfranco Zola and Alan Shearer there is an abundance of managerial talent out their to choose from but the following are three foreign managers that may be a preferred option. These managers are likely to be more long shots but may give Villa fans something to be excited about.

Jurgen Klinsmann


Former Germany and Tottenham legend, Klinsmann is perhaps a realistic target for Randy Lerner as he has been out of a job since his departure from Bayern Munich last year. After a successful spell as coach of his native Germany, leading the team to the World Cup Final in 2006 he surprisingly resigned from his post after receiving much praise for his managerial style.

During his time as the national coach he breathed new life into an aging national side and developed a youth setup and energy to the team that has been successfully emulated by current coach Joachim Low. These qualities may well suit Villa’s young squad and emerging youth talent and although he has been criticized as an overly offensive coach this may be just what the club need.

With an impressive defensive record last term the club lacked goals from the front and players like Downing, Young and Agbonlahor could benefit from a more attacking system. Klinsmann, 46, looked set to become the USA coach but after a deal could not be agreed, fellow managerial candidate Bob Bradley was offered the job. The one doubt is that his only experience at club level ended disappointingly at German giants Munich where he failed to repeat his success at international level and was sacked before the season came to a close.

More time however may have been what he needed and the German is seen as an attractvie prospect to the Villa fans.

Martin Jol


Uncompromising Dutchman, Jol, is considered as a favorable option by Lerner and also amongst many Villa fans. Jol had a successful spell at rivals Tottenham between 2004-2007 and was lauded for the turnaround of the clubs fortunes after a shocking start to the season under then coach Jacques Santini.

Jol was number 2 under the Frenchman before his departure just 13 games into the season and was given the job in November 2004. Spurs fans were grateful to the 54 year old for leaving behind the defensive style set by the previous management and his first season came close to securing European qualification.  

His second and most impressive season at the club saw Spurs sit in the final Champions League spot for much of the season only for much of the squad to be hit by illness on the final day. They lost to West Ham and finished in 5th behind rivals Arsenal but Jol’s capabilities were unquestionable leading the club to their highest league position for 16 years.

Since then he has managed German side Hamburg finishing 5th and reaching the semi finals of the UEFA and German Cup. Jol then returned to Holland where he currently manages Ajax, a major stumbling block in any future switch, where he is one year through a 3 year contract.
He was reportedly close to becoming the new Fulham manager this summer before, Mark Hughes was appointed, but many felt this was a ploy to get guarantees over transfer funds at Ajax after he had grown increasingly tired of the clubs policies.

A good CV, experience at top level football and not to mention Premier League knowledge make him an ideal candidate.

Guus Hiddink


Perhaps the longest of the long shots and inevitably the favorite amongst many Villa fans the shrewd Dutch tactician would be a major coup for a club like Villa. His resume makes for impressive reading at both club and international level including  PSV, Fenerbahce, Valencia, Holland, Real Madrid, South Korea, Australia, Russia, Chelsea and now Turkey.

These positions have lead to numerous league titles and cup victories as well as an incredible World Cup record. Without a doubt the most incredible of these achievements saw him lead World Cup hosts South Korea to a semi final in 2002 winning the hearts of the nation and the backing of, seemingly, the rest of the world.

This CV, however could lead to be Villa’s undoing as many believe he is out of their reach especially after recently beginning a new adventure with the Turkish national side. Possibly a pipe dream for Villa then, but a pleasant one nonetheless.

Barring the aforementioned managers does anyone know if Diego Maradonna is looking for a job?

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One Response

  1. Victor Li 11 August, 2010