England's Loss Is Villa's Gain
Stiliyan Petrov says 'It would have been fantastic for Martin to have got the England job and I thought he should have been given it.'
Or in other words, thank God the FA aren't up to the job, thank God they 'chose' McLaren and thank God Villa got Martin O'Neill!
Petrov added, in an update to his autobiography: 'He would have done extremely well. Deep down though, I knew I had a chance of playing for him again. When the Newcastle and Middlesbrough jobs failed to materialise, I was a little bit down and felt my chance had passed me by. But up came Villa. He tried to sign me and his initial enquiry was rejected. Thankfully Martin did not take no for an answer. I have been asked many times what makes him a manager of the highest quality. He keeps everything simple and never tries to complicate things. He also has the special talent of being able to get players to play for him.'
Adding: 'If Celtic hadn't accepted the offer from Villa, I don't know what I would have done. It's now a hypothetical situation, but it would have left me angry and I might have gone back to Bulgaria with my family. Quitting football might very well have come into my thoughts. I'm glad it didn't have to come to that. I think the Villa deal was the highest transfer fee the club has ever received. I've got what I wished for and the club sold me for a high price.'
'There's no reason for bad feeling. I hope any person who made a negative judgement about me thinks twice and reconsiders. I'm told the Villa fee could rise to as much as £8million during the course of my four-year contract. I didn't think a club would pay that much for me.'