Martin O’Neill resigns as manager of Aston Villa

August 9th, 2010

I'm outta here: Martin O'Neill has quit Aston Villa after three successive seasons in the top six

Martin O’Neill has resigned as manager of Aston Villa with immediate effect just five days before the start of the new Premier League season.

The Northern Irishman has stood down from his position after four years at the helm.

He led the club to three successive top six finishes in the Premier League but had grown frustrated at the financial restraints placed upon him by American owner Randy Lerner.

In a statement O’Neill said: ‘I have enjoyed my time at Aston Villa immensely. It’s obviously a wrench to be leaving such a magnificent club.

‘I would like to pay tribute to the Villa players, my coaching staff and the Villa supporters for all the support and encouragement they have given both the club and me personally during my time as manager. I wish them all the best for the future.

‘I will obviously be assisting the club in the immediate short-term with regard to the handover of my duties.’ 

The statement revealed that Kevin MacDonald, the current reserve team manager would take over the role of caretaker manager.

Villa begin the season on Saturday afternoon with the visit of West Ham.

Concern had been growing at Villa Park after another summer in which it appeared their best players were to be sold.

Gareth Barry joined Manchester City last summer and James Milner looked set to follow suit before the end of the month.

Paul Faulkner, chief executive of Aston Villa, added: ‘The club would like to thank Martin for the great work he has done at Aston Villa over the past four years.

Signs: O'Neill first questioned his long-term future in the aftermath after Villa's 7-1 thumping at Stamford Bridge

‘He has helped to establish the club in the upper echelons of the Premier League, has taken us to Wembley and we have also qualified for European competition for the past three seasons under his management. We wish him the best in the future.’

Cracks first appeared in the manager’s armour in April following a 7-1 mauling by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

He said then: ‘I will be talking to the chairman at the end of the season to see where we are positioned.

‘People make judgments and calls and I will see if the Villa fans are disgruntled with it. I will then see if the chairman, who has a big say in proceedings, agrees. Interestingly, I will have a say in proceedings because it’s my life.

Fans began to voice concerns about O’Neill’s team selection and many questioned the manager’s ability to lead Villa into the promised land of the Champions League.

Villa had fallen away badly at the end of the previous two campaigns despite having a strong grip on fourth place, ultimately finishing sixth.

Emile Heskey’s continued deployment ahead of John Carew was another source of frustration among the crowd, considering the England striker’s disappointing goals tally.

O’Neill added at the time: ‘I must stand up for myself somewhere along the way. By the time August comes around, I’ll have been here four years. I’ve invested £80m. That equates to £20m (a year) at the end of it all.

‘If the chairman so desires — which he has not intimated to me — that the club choose to sell four or five players, and we all know who they are, then he would get a return on his money. With interest. I think all of that has been forgotten.

‘Four years ago we were a disaffected club who had sold 12,000 season tickets. The team were close to relegation. I know the chairman is very pleased with the players here who are major acquisitions for the club.

‘We have reached the Carling Cup final and the FA Cup semi-final. I have the utmost regard for some managers who have been here before, but in recent times I’d say I’d be a breath of fresh air looking at this club.

‘We are heading for the biggest turnover in the club’s history. The major issues are television revenue, winning competitions, keeping going, bonuses for reaching Wembley, extra television revenue. If I’m responsible for results then I’m also responsible for that as well.’
                                                                                         Source: daily mail 

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