By Ollie Irish
Martin O’Neill has resigned as Aston Villa boss, with immediate effect. In a statement, he said: “I have enjoyed my time at Aston Villa immensely. It’s obviously a wrench to be leaving such a magnificent club.
“I would like to pay tribute to the Villa players, my coaching staff and the Villa supporters for all the support and encouragement they have given both the club and me personally during my time as manager.”
Bloody hell, I didn’t see this coming. Well, it’s not a total shock, but the timing has taken everyone by surprise.
My first thoughts: This is surely a preemptive move by MoN, as he knew Villa would inevitably fail to keep two of their best young players, namely James Milner (who is set to join Man City this week) and Ashley Young. And with no more transfer funds provided by Randy Lerner, O’Neill could see the only way was down; but to be harsh on the Northern Irishman, he’s a rat leaving a ship that is holed, arguably, but not yet sinking.
So it’s a shrewd decision, but also a rather cowardly one – of course, more details about the decision will come out soon enough and then I may change my opinion.
O’Neill quits in credit though, despite grumblings from some Villa fans, but I think he might he might have stayed and toughed this one out. It seems that O’Neill has grown more churlish and less charming of late, so he may find goodwill and sympathy in short supply. Finding another job… well, he won’t struggle there. I know some Fulham fans who will be pissed off about the timing of his resignation, unimpressed as they are with the hiring of Mark ‘Sparky’ Hughes (Sparky – what an inappropriate nickname for such a dour man).
What say you about O’Neill’s decision?