Author Topic: difference between managers  (Read 6903 times)

martin@

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difference between managers
« on: December 14, 2010, 12:20:28 PM »
The difference between o neill and houllier

By the time Martin O'Neill dramatically quit Aston Villa five days before the start of the season, he was fed up with owner Randy Lerner - and club officials felt similarly about him .

So Lerner and his key confidants such as chief executive Paul Faulkner deliberately sought out a successor who was completely different to the Irishman.

Yes, O'Neill had undoubtedly done a good job (and his reign is looking better with every new bad result under successor Gerard Houllier). Three successive sixth-place finishes in the Premier League is admirable and Villa also reached Wembley twice last season in the two domestic cup competitions.

But Lerner wants and wanted more from and for the football club he has spent £200million on since buying Villa .

He finally wants some silverware, primarily.

The American also wants better value for money from the £100m-plus he has spent on players, as the club, whose wage bill is an unsustainable £70m, are being forced to virtually give away expensive flops such as Steve Sidwell, Nicky Shorey and Habib Beye.

Lerner wants all his players to be trained thoroughly and improved on the practice pitch.

He wants some of the club's talented youngsters, such as Marc Albrighton, to be given more chances to flourish.

And he wants an open, friendly dialogue with the man running the team after his relationship with O'Neill turned sour.

Given those reasons, I can fully understand why Lerner recruited former Liverpool manager Houllier.

Spend any time in Houllier's company and he quickly comes across as confident, urbane, intelligent and not shy to highlight his impressive CV!

I mention this as Lerner is definitely standing by his man despite a torrid start to Houllier's managerial reign amid unrest from fans.

And I think it is precisely because Houllier has such different methods to O'Neill that Villa have struggled to adapt to his regime.

Under O'Neill, rightly or wrongly, everything was geared towards the players performing on a match-day.

The squad were often given at least two days off a week and training was laid-back under John Robertson and Steve Walford, with five-a-side games taking up the majority of the time.

There was little analytical assessment of opponents, as O'Neill preferred to focus on his own side's strengths.

O'Neill did not talk to the players much at the training ground, he would save his wisdom for the dressing room, where he produced such inspirational rhetoric on a match-day that his players would be full of confidence.

So, regardless of whether his methods were more in keeping with Brian Clough's generation of players or not, they undoubtedly worked well despite O'Neill's tendency to rarely rotate his squad.

Yet since Houllier arrived in September, Villa's players are having to knuckle down under a completely different, disciplined approach.

And let's be quite clear, it has been a hell of a culture shock.

Already, Houllier has clashed with John Carew, Richard Dunne, Stephen Ireland and Beye, as reported in Mirrorsport.

The change of routine and methods has caused much grumbling at Villa's training ground as even the players' jacuzzi has been removed.

I was the first to report in October that Houllier had dramatically upped the number of days players were due in at the club .

And not only did he get French fitness coach Robert Duverne - who fell out with Patrice Evra at the World Cup - cracking the whip, but he also imposed a set of new rules that went down like a lead balloon.

Mobile phones were banned at the training ground, players were told to cut out non-football related chit-chat in training and those living miles away from the club, such as Stephen Warnock in Ormskirk in Lancashire, were asked to relocate .

Perhaps crucially, Houllier is completely different in the dressing room to his predecessor.

The 63-year-old is softly spoken these days and confirmed to the press last week that he has no plans to start throwing any tea cups.


Houllier believes his players should be motivated themselves, without him rallying them with any Churchillian speeches.

Indeed, after their Carling Cup exit at arch-rivals Birmingham, I am told Houllier basically said to the players: 'Well played. Unlucky. On to the next game'!

O'Neill, who won all six of his matches against Brum, certainly would have handled it differently.

So, all in all, life could scarcely be much more of a contrast for Villa's squad, unless perhaps Nicolas Sarkozy had come over from France instead!

And I can understand why Villa supporters are getting both worried and restless about results with the club now in the relegation zone.

Sunday's league game at arch-rivals Birmingham must be enough to fill most Villa fans with dread.

But Lerner has taken on Houllier to rebuild the club, as part of a long-term strategy, on a cheaper more sustainable model while still maintaining big ambitions.

Houllier will be backed this month with funds to offload the likes of Carew and Beye (who will need pay-offs) and bring in players such as Lyon's Jean Makoun, Blackburn's Chris Samba, Charlie Adam of Blackpool and Toulouse starlet Moussa Sissoko.

His French revolution is going to need both time and patience to yield results.

Those commodities are in short supply in football these days, but if I was a betting man I would put money on Houllier being at Villa until the summer at least.

Perhaps by then those reactionary members of Villa's squad will be bombed out and the club can progress using Lerner and Houllier's blueprint.
[by james nursey - mirror]

>>>>>>discussed here>>>>>>
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