Why Aston Villa Made a Wrong Decision to Rule Out Bob Bradley

aston-villa

When Aston Villa chief executive Paul Faulkner issued a club statement Sunday afternoon announcing that the Midlands side had identified the two most important traits in the search for a new manager, US coach Bob Bradley was effectively ruled out of the running. The first trait was they wanted candidates with experience managing in the Premier League. The second trait was someone who could build on the existing strengths in their current squad.

I understand Aston Villa’s reluctance to hire Bradley, but I wholeheartedly disagree with their insistence that the manager must have Premier League experience. To me, the club was essentially repeating what many of the Villa supporters were saying. But instead of kowtowing to its supporters, Villa needed to make a bold decision by hiring Bradley. Instead they have now narrowed their choices significantly by insisting that Premier League experience is a necessity. But is it that important? Football managers don’t necessarily need Premier League management to be successful at Villa Park. Times have changed a lot, but none of the following managers had Premier League management experience (or First Division experience) before becoming English top flight managers: Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger, Carlo Ancelotti, Roberto Mancini, Roberto Di Matteo, David Moyes, Roberto Martinez and Tony Pulis.

By ruling out managers who don’t have prior Premier League experience, Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner has put himself in a corner. Either he hires a manager who is not qualified for the position or he has to convince another Premier League club to let go of their manager.

Consider for a few seconds the list of managers who have Premier League experience and who are out of work looking for opportunities:

  • Gary Megson,
  • Paul Jewell,
  • Sven-Goran Eriksson,
  • Gareth Southgate,
  • Gerard Houllier,
  • Alan Curbishley,
  • Graeme Souness,
  • Alan Pardew,
  • Paul Ince,
  • Ricky Sbragia,
  • Joe Kinnear,
  • Iain Dowie,
  • Lawrie Sanchez,
  • Steve Clarke,
  • Glenn Roeder

Except for one or two of the above managers, the vast majority of them fail to fill me with any confidence that they can do a decent job at Aston Villa. So unless Lerner goes back against their decision, they will effectively be forced into nicking a manager from another Premier League club. The challenge with that is that no league club is going to let their manager go easy. And even if Villa can convince a fellow Premier League to let go of their manager, it’ll cost Villa an excessive amount of money to end the manager’s contract and sign him on at Villa Park.

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19 Comments

  1. GuitarearI August 30, 2010
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  6. VillaPark August 31, 2010
    • The Gaffer August 31, 2010
  7. John Dorian August 31, 2010
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  9. Bob Bradley August 31, 2010
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