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Martin O'Neill Resigns as Aston Villa Manager

 Martin O'Neill Resigns as Aston Villa Manager

Martin O’Neill has resigned as manager of Aston Villa just days before the 2010-11 Premier League season is set to begin. Kevin MacDonald, the reserve team manager, takes over as caretaker manager and will prepare the team for the opening Premier League game of the season against West Ham on Saturday.

No reason was given by O’Neill or Aston Villa for his departure. However, it’s believed that O’Neill has been unhappy at Aston Villa’s transfer policy for quite some time and that he was upset that he hasn’t received the transfer funds he needed this summer to mount a serious challenge to break into the top four in England. At the same time, O’Neill must have been disillusioned by Villa’s selling policy. James Milner is on the verge of a massive transfer fee to Manchester City. And in the past, Gareth Barry left Villa Park to join City also.

O’Neill’s dissatisfaction with Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner’s reluctance to inject more money into the transfer kitty is going to significantly impact Villa’s Premier League campaign, I believe. Here is a proven manager who has done extremely well by turning Villa into a serious team in the Premier League. The club has momentum. While there are plenty of other managers out there who would love to step into Martin O’Neill’s shoes, Villa is going to have a difficult time finding someone who can improve the club’s performance. O’Neill is the type of rare man-management gaffer who takes players and turns them into much-improved athletes. Ashley Young is just one recent example. As far as managers who could replace O’Neill, it’s going to be a difficult time finding someone at such short notice. Sven Goran-Eriksson is the likely candidate. But other than that, who else could do the job as well as O’Neill?

The other question is where does Martin O’Neill go from here? He’s been successful as managers of Aston Villa, Celtic, Leicester City and other clubs. I wouldn’t be surprised if he took a break from the game for a few months and went back into doing punditry on a more regular basis. He may sit out the management game to see who will be the first manager casualty during the 2010-11 Premier League season. Or he could return to Celtic if Neil Lennon doesn’t do well in Glasgow.

According to UK bookies, the leading contenders for O’Neill’s job as the usual suspects: Slaven Bilic, Alan Curbishley, Dave Jones, ad infinitum.

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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
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36 Responses to Martin O'Neill Resigns as Aston Villa Manager

  1. Lennon says:

    I think the more interesting question is, where does O’Neill go next? I’m sure at least a couple of teams with high ambitions will start the season poorly and have their fanbases begging for their coach to be replaced with O’Neill. My guess is either a Premier League side (Sunderland? Fulham? Even Liverpool or Man City if either Hodgson or Mancini have an unexpected dreadful start?) or a highly touted international club will have O’Neill at the helm by the end of 2010.

  2. Such a massive blow to Villa. O’Neill has been fantastic wherever he’s gone and his exit will surely have a massive impact on the entire face of the top half of the Premiership table. It’s likely they’ll be finishing in the bottom half now.

    As for O’Neill, he’s long been on my list of managers to take over for Fergie once he retires. Obviously, this is a bit premature as far as that, but he’ll certainly turn up somewhere soon and work his magic again. Best of luck, Martin!

  3. UpTheBlues says:

    I was shocked when I first read the news. Milner is certainly off to City now…

  4. Jayoh says:

    This most likely means Ashley Young is soon to go as well…How frustrating! So close to a champions league spot and now this…say hello to the bottom half of the table. MON you were class act, and I wish the best of luck to you wherever you end up. I’m just praying the team gets sold to an owner who’s actually interested in investing money into the team…

  5. Angie says:

    This is a big loss for Aston Villa, I also think there are not a lot of managers who can do what he has done for them. It looks as though he was not going to get the money for the transfer market they are receiving for Milner.

  6. Huh says:

    Well It’s looking very bad for the Villa isn’t it, Shorey gone, Millner going and Young thinking of a move to the Spurs, can’t get much worse can it?
    I bet hughes is kicking himself because if he didn’t take the Fulham job I reckon the Villa one would have been his no contest and he would have done a great job there as well even though the owner seems intent of wrecking the club.

    • aol says:

      Nicky Shorey? You can’t be serious mentioning him, can you?

      • Huh says:

        More than serious this player was very good cover for Warnock with England caps to boot. Should they sell all the squad players weaking the team even more? is that the way foward? MON say’s it is not.

  7. ScottG says:

    Am I the only one who thinks this is a shit thing to do to your club? If you have a problem with ownership, days before the season is NOT the time to quit. How many clubs in the premiership have funds available for the transfer market right now? Very few. This sounds very much like an ego battle between O’Neill and ownership and once he didn’t get his way, O’Neill just packed up his toys and left.

    Granted, I’m sure there’s more to the story than this but I would be pissed right now if I were a Villa player or supporter.

    • West Coast Villan says:

      I’m with you. As a Villa fan I’m pretty upset that this is happening right now. A month ago and we would have had time to shop around and give the manager a preseason to settle in.

      Maybe there will be more to this story later, but for right now O’Neill is on my shit list.

      • ekowtheunitedfan says:

        exactly what i thought people. as much as oneil wanted money to deal this summer, there’s no right to his actions of leaving the club just 5 days off the big kickoff. it’s nonsensical really. a problem of egos. the guy’s got a big ego and doesn’t want to give in. see how hard it was to compromise on barry’s transfer.
        more again, it seems to me like he adopts a stoned fist in his approach with players. these guys need to be talked to…not bullied around.
        i’m pissed off right now. good luck to the villa.

      • Stacy Richardson says:

        The blame for this debacle begins and ends with the owner, who is trying desperately to conserve money. I think it’s time to ask questions about Villa’s solvency.

    • brn442 says:

      I’m sorry fella but O’Neill owes Villa nothing, it sucks for the Club as its the worst time to prepare for the season, looking for a new manager but at the end of the day – he’s his own man.

  8. Mark says:

    Wherever MON goes next I hope they have a big cheque book. In four seasons at AV he oversaw a net spending of £82.3 million (gross spending was £116.8 million for the four years). That’s second only to Man City in net spending since 2006.

  9. CR7 says:

    Shocked by the timing, but not surprise at all that he left.

    I made a prediction a month ago, the O’Neil would not be the manager at the end of the season.

  10. David says:

    Bob Bradley’s replacement? One could only dream.

  11. aol says:

    How hard was it for MON to play the same EXACT lineup for an entire season for two straight years and then wonder why they taper off and can’t win a game in the final couple months of the season? There might have been a feeling that he couldn’t get them much further than 6th and a Europa League spot each year. He seemed to want his way and to bring in veterans like Keane and McGeady when instead Villa should be looking at the likes of Delfouneso, Delph, Lichaj, etc. as players who can start FA Cup and Europa League games and to fill in during the Premier League campaign instead of relying on Emily Heskey and John Carew to play in every game all season long.

    Bailing on the team with 6 days until the first game of the season shows more about O’Neill’s character than anything else here. Maybe more info comes out, but if it’s simply because Barry and Milner wanted to leave to take the payday to sit on the bench for City during Europa League games, that’s shite.

  12. Is the reason behind this because his wife is sick?

  13. sammy says:

    i think England should sack capello and hire Martin Oniel as the England manager…I think he will do better for England, and I do hope england lose thei upcoming friendly England vs Hungary so that FA look into the matter and sack capello….we dont need any foriegn manager just need a special english man who can giude us to succes and Martin O neil is just that…..

  14. A2daC says:

    Bob Bradley is now favourite to replace O’Neill FYI

    • David says:

      I’m an American and I would love nothing more than to see Bradley or another respected US manager try their luck overseas, however, having him (or any other for that matter) walk into a club like Villa with a regular place in the top 10 and usually challenging for the top 4 with little to no transfer budget is not an ideal situation.

      Fulham may have made sense for him being that the expectations were lower and supposedly was to be given some sort of transfer budget. Villa is notorious for punching above their weight in respect to the fact that they don’t spend like the traditional top 4 or Spurs or City.

      I would love to see him at a Championship side perhaps.

  15. SantaClaus says:

    Great. Now we’ll see more anti-American protests in England, this time in Birmingham, with more flag burning and the like. Randy Lerner better right the ship ASAP or the fans are going to turn on him and end up getting the “Gillette and Hicks treatment”.

    Most Villa fans will probably side with MON on this one and blame Lerner for MON’s departure.

    • Dave C says:

      From the tone of most Villa fan’s responses on this blog at least, it sounds like most people are pissed off with O’Neill for jumping ship with such short notice, so I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that anyone is going to be starting any Liverpool-style protests against Lerner (unless further facts emerge to change everyone’s views).

  16. Lyle says:

    Cowardly… unless there are some health, family, and/or personal issues involved. Just quitting cause he wasn’t going to get his way or because he knew Villa wasn’t going to compete this year… is cowardly though.

  17. Huh says:

    I think O’Neil has left because all the money from the Milner deal was not going to be made available for new players. Also that Spurs are showing an interest in Young and he is not guaranteed to stay if the right offer comes in, this would obviously be a huge problem to any manager in the world as it is imposable to take the team any further with this pattern repeating every year. So you have to ask why any ambitious manger would stay at a club that not only make it next to impossible to progress as a team but also make the manager look less competent because of lower league placing. It is unfortunate these realizations have just hit home with Martin a few days before the league begins as the Milner deal is going through as well as some other problems.
    Martin O’Neil is one of the best British managers around (in fact the best with the exception of Fergie in my opinion) so why would he let the owners damage his own career, especially when he could walk into any top job that becomes available? I do not blame him in the slightest and wish him good look in his next post.

    • Mark says:

      Moyes and Hodgson are both better British managers IMO (Moyes got Everton into the CL qualifiers on a smaller budget and Hodgson has worked miracles all over Europe for the last 30 years) . Lerner has backed MON with more money than any club not named Citeh over the last 4 years and yet in the last two seasons he contrived to drop out of the top 4 after the turn of the year. MON isn’t a bad manager, but he’s not as great as some here make out

      • Huh says:

        Sorry Moyes’s record just doesn’t stand up to O’Neil’s at all, are you saying because he finish 4th in the EPL that he’s better? He has spent a lot of money in the process, fair enough similar to O’Neil in that department. People seem to forget the £15+ million spent on Fellaini, £12 million on yakubu or how about £9 million on Andrew Johnson not to mention James Beattie. Moyes won the First div with Preston and reached an FA cup final other than that he has upper league placing which a club of the size and with the stature should have.

        As for Hodgson he has been in Management since 1971 and has rarely done much, he had a good spell in Sweden and a good run as the Swiss manager which lead to a big job with Inter where he won nothing but did get them to Europe and I think a UEFA final. He then moved to Blackburn where his time there was seen as a failure. Then who knows?

        Now compare O’Neil’s history: He Takes Wycombe Wanderers into League football for the first time? At Leicester City he finished 9th, 10, and 8th wining the League cup twice while Qualifying for Europe twice, this is Leicester City not Everton! Then follows his time at Celtic, with the SPL being totally dominated by Rangers (they won 11 titles from 1988 to 2000 with Celtic wining only 1 in 1998.) O’Neil won back to back titles putting into motion a shift in power of the Scottish League not to mention a UEFA cup final as well.

        While I do think Moyes is a very good Manager I feel that O’Neil has the edge.

        Hodgson is more the flavour of the month a great tactician but doesn’t seem to hold great respect with the big players (and there’s many at Liverpool).I don’t think he will do that well at Liverpool at all but maybe he’ll prove me wrong time will tell.

        • Mark says:

          I’ll agree to disagree with you on the relative merits of MON, Hodgson and Moyes, however on points of fact Everton’s net transfer spending since 2006 is 18.5m which is less than the 20.5m that MON averaged per season at AV. Last season was the only time MON finished above Moyes. I’m not even an Everton supporter, but Moyes has been much more effective with his transfer spending which is why it would be ironic for MON to leave over transfer money

  18. mouchezdm says:

    Clearly I don’t see any reason why Aston Villa let go O’Neil, they ain’t gonna get a better manager. Now they are going to lose the like of Young.

    Found this on: http://soccer.mynucleus.org

  19. paul says:

    I am a villa fan, and I have read the above posts…

    Clearly you guys who are talking about MON didn’t watch this team the last four years.

    Did you know he used LESS players than any other manager in the league? It wasn’t even close. And he HAD good players, rotting on the bench. Players like Habib Beye, Nigel Reo-Coker, and a cast of others.

    Did any of you see how he stuck with Heskey even WELL after that project hadn’t worked?

    How he didn’t make any changes two years ago as the team cascaded from a secure #3 spot down to a #6?

    How he has gone out of his way to bench players like Carew, and NRC because he was “angry” at them, despite the obvious benefits they could bring?

    The guy was great at finding talent, and a DECENT manager. Not the best manager, not the worst, but I am not going to cry over him.

    But yeah, real cool… thanks for leaving a week before kick off…

  20. Sir Guy says:

    We’ll have to see what shakes out over the next week or so. Was he pushed or did he jump? What EXACTLY precipitated it?

    Off hand, I don’t like the idea of a manger jumping ship right before the season. It seems way too calculated. What took place today that he wasn’t aware of weeks ago? I love O’Neill’s passion on the sideline, but he hasn’t been anointed “Saint” anything as of yet.

    I really hope it’s not just some hissy fit on his part, because I thought much more highly of him than that. Time will tell.

  21. Gilles Markus says:

    Lets not be nostalgic here, it is like O’Neil is a champion manager of the highest order? Nonsense.

    He wanted more money? He spent £88m net up to last season, and the best he finished was 6th.

    He had the chance to finish 4th in 08-09, and whilst Arsenal bought Arshavin to get them over the line, O’Neil bought Heskey. That shows you what kind of manager he is, Heskey would not have helped if they reached the Champions League.

    has he developed any superior tactics? Even Moyes has not complained about funds, instead he buys quality, and if the squad is thin, develops tactics, O’Neil just wants cash.

    If he wanted to show he was good, develop the team further, devise new tactics, not ask for cash.

  22. Was he really unhappy with Aston Villa’s transfer policy. Or has he just had enough.
    Looks like he spat the dummy.

  23. this is the classic problem faced by so called struggling mediocre teams. when they have good players, the big boys loaded with cash will try to buy them. teasing players with insanely high salary. no manager can live like this..

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