Houllier’s ‘condition is improving’

The Frenchman also expressed his gratitude for the messages of

support he has received from Villa fans as well as from friends far

and wide. “I am extremely touched by all the messages I have

received and by the reaction of people throughout the world of

football. It has been overwhelming actually,” he said in an

official statement. “I’m especially grateful to the Villa fans for

their genuine concern and encouragement and to the fans of clubs up

and down the country. There has been a groundswell of goodwill and

I appreciate this so much.” It was confirmed that the cause of

Houllier’s chest pain was a dissection of the descending aorta,

which occurs when a tear in the inner wall of the aorta causes

blood to flow between the layers of the wall of the aorta and force

the layers apart. The 63-year-old appears to be on the mend and was

quick to praise the reaction of the club at the weekend. “I’m

grateful to my players for their texts and messages and, of course,

for their efforts in extending our recent unbeaten run on Saturday

against Stoke and also to Gary McAllister and the rest of my staff

for stepping in and taking the reins at this time,” he said. “My

condition is improving and extremely encouraging. Dr. Mark Waller,

the club’s doctor, is better placed to explain things from a

medical viewpoint, so suffice to say again that I am very moved by

the fact that so many people have me in their thoughts just now.”

Dr. Waller confirmed that Houllier’s had improved since being

admitted last week and that he should be allowed to return home

soon. but it remains to be seen if the former Liverpool boss will

return to the dugout before the end of the season. “All the tests

have confirmed that his heart is working perfectly. We are

extremely encouraged by Gerard’s improvement over the past six days

and we now anticipate that he will be discharged from the coronary

care unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital within the next three to

four days,” he said. Houllier was appointed manager at Villa Park

at the start of the current season but did not enjoy the best of

starts, an upturn in form since Christmas however has seen them

move away from the relegation battle and into mid-table.