When Martin O'Neill was appointed as manager, I had high hopes. Those hopes were high, I see now, not because of Martin O'Neill, but because I bought into the hype that Lerner was going to make it happen.
What I see now is what I see and I don't want this to turn into a Lerner bashing post because he has done a nice job. We've had free coach travel, free scarves, a nice mosaic and a pub. My point is, my opinion on Lerner hasn't changed. I've not turned on Lerner and those that changed their opinion or have questioned Lerner, just bought into the hope and the hype. Can they be blamed for that?
They can't be blamed and they shouldn't be. They should also not be preached to by representatives of the club and told the error of their ways. People at the club shouldn't be telling supporters how to act or what opinion to have.
If Gérard Houllier is appointed as the next manager of Aston Villa, I am convinced he will be supported. At the end of the day, he has won silverware at PSG, Liverpool and Lyon and while he might have been out of the game for a while, that doesn't mean his ability or his knowledge has gone.
He will be given a chance and he will be supported. But the club also have to listen to the supporters because at the end of the day, the supporters of Aston Villa know more about Aston Villa than the board and owner and actually chances are the vast majority know more about football in general. Add to that, there is every chance that the supporters of Aston Villa can tell you what will happen if Phil Thompson is also given a job.
The Aston Villa way
Every club has a way of doing things. One of the contributing factors to Gérard Houllier first appointing Phil Thompson his assistant at Liverpool was because he wanted a Liverpool man. Aston Villa don't need a Liverpool man, we have our own way of doing things and in the past, it has proven quite successful.
It was never going to work with Martin O'Neill because he was too set in his ways. At the end of the day I honestly can't see it working with Houllier either, but I have to have hope, so I walk blindly with the next man once again.
He has a good track record, but that hope will soon run out if things do not happen quite quickly. Call me whatever you want for thinking that, but you don't bring a man out of semi-retirement at 63 years of age to manage a Premier League side if there is any ambition.
Aston Villa have one of the most successful Academy and Reserve teams in the country and we have to look at what we do in those environments and we have to follow it through the entire club. Liverpool used to be famed for it, Manchester United built their success on it and Arsenal have more kids playing football at Academy level than many local schools have children attending class.
The easy way out
Gérard Houllier is the easy way out and the wrong decision in my opinion and you can all tell me how old Sir Alex Ferguson is, but he joined Manchester United when he was in his early forties - it isn't the same as appointing someone who is about to get a free bus pass.
It appears to me and it was pretty much confirmed in the PR statement from Paul Faulkner, that we have looked for the easy option and if Gérard Houllier is appointed that will prove it.
But if we allow Phil Thompson to be appointed also, when all we have to do is look at the wealth of experience at the club that could do the job and should be appointed to support the manager in how Aston Villa do things, then we have then pandered to someone who should really be pandering to us.
Houllier will steady the ship and if he is given significant funds we might be able to bring in a few players and who knows, we might do well in a competition or two, but he isn't a manager for the long term. Saying that, if he is appointed he should be supported and like I said, I believe he will.
But to anyone at the club reading this, do it the Aston Villa way and support Houllier with Aston Villa people, not TV personalities. At the same time, start properly looking for our Mr Aston Villa, much like Sir Alex is Mr Manchester United and Arsène is Mr Arsenal.