Nov 27, 2008
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Houllier's Honeymoon Over


Houllier Just A Few Weeks Ago

After only a matter of weeks, the uncertainty surrounding the controversial arrival of former Liverpool manager to the Midlands has ended. Houllier, who has since returned to France, has agreed to cancel his contract with the Villains after supports and senior players became alarmed at his managerial style. Houllier, who has been out of management since leaving his post at Lyon in 2007, attempted to win over players and fans alike, however, his erratic style, unusual training methods and apparent fall outs with both the board and the senior players has lead to his departure.

Houllier is said to be both disappointed and upset that his time at Villa Park was so short, but claims his "understanding of the English footballing mentality" meant he felt he was unable to deal with the demands of life in Birmingham. He went on to thank Mr Lerner for his support, and hoped that whoever took over could lead the club in the right direction.

And the man to do so has come as a surprise to all. Announced at last nights AGM, Lerner revealed that he would be appointing rookie manager James Catchpole to the post, claiming the young man had "massive potential" and shared the same ambition of the board. Fans seemed, understandably, uneasy at this appointment, but Catchpole was on hand to answer the questions and share his view for the future of Aston Villa Football Club. Even the most unsure Villa fan seemed to be won over by the enthusiasm and professionalism of the Englishman, and it would seem as if the future may well be Claret and Blue after all.

Risky appointment? Or astute move? Only time will tell.

James Catchpole Fact File
Born: Surrey
Age: 41 years old
Pro Career: Chelsea, Palermo, Crystal Palace, Woking
Coaching: Woking FC (Player-Manager), Brentford (Coach), Chelsea (Youth Coach)

Bio: Starting his career at Chelsea FC, he spent many years there on the fringe of the first team, before a few commanding performances at the heart of the defence lead to him cementing a first team place. However, the emergence of John Terry meant his playing time became limited, and was sold on to Sicilian side Palermo aged 29. He enjoyed moderate success in Italy, before a serious knee injury brought his second season to a close. He never really recovered, and left Italy aged 33, returning to London to join Crystal Palace. Again, the defender enjoyed moderate success at Palace, before returning to his home town side to accept the role of Player/Manager. Whilst at Woking, a career ending knee injury meant his role was shifted to that of full time manager. During his time at Chelsea and Palermo, he represented his country a number of times.

He left Woking to join the backroom staff at Brentford, before rejoining Chelsea as Head of Youth Development.