Villa confirm Houllier exit

Houllier is parting company with Villa because of concerns over his
health after his recent heart problems. It has been common
knowledge for 24 hours that Houllier’s reign was coming to an end
after he underwent further medical tests before the weekend.
Fulham’s Mark Hughes one of the early names to be linked with the
post. Houllier was unable to take charge of team affairs for the
final five games of the season and doctors have advised that he
will require further time to recuperate. Villa chief executive Paul
Faulkner said: “I would like to thank Gerard for his considerable
efforts over the past nine months and for the dedication,
commitment and work ethic he has demonstrated as Villa manager. “We
regret the circumstances of Gerard’s departure and, naturally, we
wish him well in his continued recovery. “I know I speak for
everyone associated with Aston Villa in expressing our hope that
Gerard will return to full health as quickly as possible and we
wish him all the best for the future.” Faulkner added: “As a board
we are very conscious of the need to ensure that the club is
prepared fully to meet the demands of the new season. “To that end,
we have already embarked upon the process which will lead to the
appointment of a new manager. “We will update when appropriate and
until such time as we can make an announcement there will be no
further comment from the club on this matter.” Houllier has hinted
he may eventually return to football. He said: “I am extremely
disappointed that I will not have the opportunity to manage Aston
Villa next season. “My health has improved considerably since I was
taken ill on April 20. I now intend to take the next few months to
concentrate on recuperating fully before I may return to football.
“I was very much looking forward to the prospect of my first full
season as Villa manager and returning for pre-season training to
prepare for the campaign ahead, a luxury that I did not have last
season. “I have been extremely touched by all of the messages I
have received and by the reaction of people throughout the world of
football. “I am very grateful to the Villa fans for their genuine
concern and encouragement and to the fans of clubs up and down the
country for their kind sentiments. “I would especially like to
thank my assistant manager, Gary McAllister, my staff, the players
and all at Aston Villa for their support and, of course, for their
efforts in securing a very positive end to last season. “It has
been an honour to manage this great club and I wish everyone
connected with Aston Villa every success for the future.” Phil
Thompson, Houllier’s assistant at Liverpool and a close friend, was
surprised by the announcement. He told Sky Sports News: “I spoke to
Gerard yesterday and he was getting back to full health. It comes
as a bit of surprise. “He was fine and he was looking forward to
pre-season and everything. “Things have gone on today to change
matters but as far as health matters go he sounded good, he was
looking forward to it.” Asked if he felt the Frenchman’s
managerial career was now over, Thompson added: “The game would be
poorer if he packed it in. He’s a fantastic manager, a great
organiser and a great man manager and that’s important in the
modern day.”