Villa’s New Boss…Same As The Old Boss?
Aston Villa’s search for Martin O’Neill’s replacement as manager is expected to be short, with current caretaker boss Kevin MacDonald in the frame and willing to take on the role permanently.
MacDonald’s continuing candidacy is a surprise given Villa’s indifferent results under his tutelage and a recent club statement released which appeared to rule out his chances, as well as those of other reported candidates for the post.
Meanwhile, the club’s transfer deadline inactivity was blamed on the continuing managerial uncertainty, rather than any “change in direction or dilution of ambition” from O’Neill’s free-spending days.
Villa have also named their EPL squad for the period up to the January transfer window, in accordance with the league’s new rules which allow clubs to name up to 25 players, including at least eight deemed “home-grown”.
Villa have named only 22 players and will use the regulations allowing any number of home-grown under-21 players to supplement their squad, including Marc Albrighton, who has impressed observers with his fine start to the season.
Villa grabbed their second home EPL win of the season on Sunday, 1-0 over Everton, thanks to Luke Young’s early goal.
But this followed a 6-0 humiliation at newly-promoted Newcastle seven days earlier, and came three days after they were dumped out of the Europa League by a home defeat to Rapid Vienna…for the second consecutive year.
The 3-2 loss meant that Villa were the only EPL side not to qualify for the group stages and appeared to signal the end of MacDonald’s hopes of becoming permanent manager.
And after the Everton win, the club released a statement on the managerial position from chief executive Paul Faulkner which said it was “of crucial importance that candidates have experience of managing in the Premier League.”
This also appeared to rule out the US World Cup coach Rob Bradley, who was being touted as a candidate, and former Dutch captain and widely-experienced European club manager Ronald Koeman, who claimed Villa had “a contact with my agent about a week ago.”
Bradley has since extended his contract with the United States. Koeman admitted that “if they are looking for a manager with Premier League experience then of course I cannot come,” but added: “I think I would do a good job, my experience (in Holland, Portugal and Spain) is enough.”
And earlier this week, MacDonald declared publicly for the first time that he wished to be considered for the job full-time, despite the potential quality of other candidates. He said:
“It would help me being in the position, but you there are going to be people who are interviewed who have a lot more experience, have won things and have done it at the highest level.”
Reports suggest a five-man short list, with England ex-boss Sven Goran-Eriksson reportedly interested, as per.
Villa said they wish to make an appointment “in the near future,” with club sources suggesting that an appointment could be made before Villa’s next EPL fixture, at Stoke City on September 13th.
Tags: Aston Villa, Kevin MacDonald, EPL, Luke Young, Europa League, Premier League