O'Leary announced as new Villa boss
Just to point out how much I'm incommunicado, I didn't about this until this morning when a friend SMS'ed me about it (Thanks, Fami!). And, yes, I am extremely excited about it!

O'Leary is an excellent choice, I think - he was top on my list for Graham Taylor replacements, if you only consider managers who are not currently employed by a premiership club. Others I would have hoped for include Martin O'Neil and Alan Curbishley, but it would have been unlikely for either one to have left their club for Villa.

I am, however, surprised that O'Leary accepted the post. The truth is that I thought he would have wanted nothing of boardroom wrangling after his experience at Leeds, and the thought of him jousting with Deadly Doug doesn't auger well for the future. However, we must be positive.

He has hoped for European qualification in two years, which I think is extremely realistic, although I am hoping for a top eight finish next year.

Will O'Leary bleed the youngsters like he did at Leeds? Will this be a coming-of-age for kids like Stefan Moore? Villa doesn't want to buy new players (rather, "Doug doesn't") so maybe this will be the policy that has to be enforced.

The other thing that comes to mind is the fate of creative and talented but problematic individuals like Juan Pablo Angel and Alpay, as well as the creating Kachloul and Hadji. What role do they have to play under O'Leary? Angel is a top-notch goal scorer, I think, and it's an utter waste that he didn't play a bigger part in last season. You've got to play him or sell him, there's no two ways about it.

Whatever it is, the future looks brighter now for Aston Villa. I just hope that it's not a false dawn that will end two years down the road (the Villa average lifespan for managers in the last 20 years).
posted on Friday, May 23, 2003 - permalink
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