Houllier steps down as Aston Villa manager

Gerard Houllier has stepped down as manager of Aston Villa after

just nine months in charge following medical advice.

The Premier League club announced on its website on Wednesday

that the 63-year-old Frenchman had left by mutual consent.

Houllier, who underwent emergency heart surgery in 2001, had

been absent from his job since he was hospitalized in April with a

heart problem described by the club as ”a dissection of the

descending aorta.”

”Doctors have advised that he will require further time to

recuperate,” the Villa statement said.

Houllier took over in September 2010 following the abrupt

departure of Martin O’Neill shortly before the start of the

season.

”We regret the circumstances of Gerard’s departure and,

naturally, we wish him well in his continued recovery,” chief

executive Paul Faulkner said.

”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.”

Houllier led Liverpool to the FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup in

2001 but in October of the same year, he fell ill during a Premier

League match and underwent open heart surgery.

He resumed his role at Liverpool after five months away but left

in 2004 and had been working as technical director for the French

football federation until his appointment by Villa.

”I am extremely disappointed that I will not have the

opportunity to manage Aston Villa next season,” Houllier said on

Wednesday.

”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.”

Assistant coach Gary McAllister had been in charge of the team

in Houllier’s absence, leading Villa to a ninth-place finish in the

Premier League.

Amid recent speculation that Houllier would be unable to

continue, McAllister, former England coach Steve McClaren and

Fulham manager Mark Hughes were linked with the vacant Villa

post.

”We have already embarked upon the process which will lead to

the appointment of a new manager,” chief executive Faulkner

said.

”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.”