Writer: J P Fear
Date:Tuesday August 1 2006
This story changed as I was typing it. Hard work this is!!!
Just been told that the front page of the Birmingham Mail are claiming that former Leicester and Celtic manager Martin O'Neill will be installed as Villa manager within the next 24 hours.
O'Neill has topped the polls for all the sites etc that I've seen, he certainly seems to be a popular choice. Thing is though, does this signal the end of the Ellis era as well, as it was believed that O'Neill would love to come to Villa, but only with new backers?
Has Ellis been given the chance to make one final managerial appointment and leave a legacy?
You have to ask what of the groups looking, most seem interested in O'Neill, but the AV06 group headed by Nicholas Padfield QC warned yesterday if O'Neill or anyone else was appointed, they would end their interest. Athole Still's group is also apparently looking at four top candidates, so what would it do to their interest?
Never a dull moment at Villa, lets just hope as Martin O'Neill is unveiled (still always wait to see things like this with my own eyes, not via papers!) that Ellis will announce he is off!
HANG ON....... NEWS JUST IN.....
Looks like the report could be wide of the mark (sigh of relief).
A club spokesman said today (Tues 01/08)
'No, we are not making any appointment today. The search is ongoing. Contrary to rumours, there is no appointment planned at this juncture.'
O'Neill's anticipated return to football with Villa is against a backdrop of four consortia bidding to buy the club.
Three of them - fronted by Michael Neville, Randy Lerner and Athole Still - would welcome O'Neill into the Villa hotseat, with only the group headed by Nicholas Padfield QC having different plans.
Ellis is keen for funds to be made available to O'Neill and is looking for the new owners to make £20million available for new players on top of the £64million it will cost to buy Villa.
Villa have not signed a single player since flirting with relegation from the Barclays Premiership for the majority of last season.
Date:Tuesday August 1 2006
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