I, like a lot of Villa fans, probably feel a little bit dejected today. With news filtering though last night that Ole Gunnar Solskjear had removed his Stetson from Villa’s dingy backstreet gym sparring ring.
There felt like a murmur of optimism beginning to gain momentum with the seemingly imminent appointment of the baby faced Norwegian but family, pressure from Molde’s sugar daddy, or just the realisation of the massive task at hand, to turn Aston Villa around, left a taste sourer than mouldy Farikal in Ole’s mouth.
A young, dynamic, forward thinking manager (basically the antithesis of McLeish) was in Villa’s grasp, and in what seems like a cruel reminder of last summers manager hunt, with a very public ‘No thanks’, the great young hope was snatched away.
This could be one embarrassment too far for Villa with the same ‘McLeish out’ brigade now turning there attentions to chairman Randy Lerner.
Enter former Braga boss Domingos Paciencia. The 43 year old Portuguese appears to be making eyes at Lerner and chief exec Paul Falkner after being without a club since parting ways with Sporting in February.
A young manger who has a knack of getting teams to over achieve, like taking Braga to the Europa league final and guiding Academica de Coimbra to their highest league position in 20 odd years, could just be what Villa need with their hapless squad.
Admittedly, Paciencia won’t be as instantly recognisable or ‘glamorous’ even, as Solskjaer but he certainly has more managerial experience, and at a higher level, and fits the remit Lerner and Falkner have publicly set themselves.
It’s doubtful the same enthusiasm for Domingos will be evoked from the Villa faithful either, given he certainly isn’t as recognisable to English football fans as Ole and he does come with a reputation.
He walked away from his first club Leiria after a row with the president and was sacked by Sporting after reportedly flirting with Porto, the club he spent 16 years as a player and coach.
He did, however, lead Braga to their highest ever league finish of second behind Benfica and in the previous season got to the group stages of the Champions League beating Celtic and Sevilla on route. Good European experience, beating Liverpool along the way, and decent showing in the Portuguese league could hold him in good stead for the lower swamps of the Premier League. A gamble he may be but probably less of a gamble than a manger with 2 years experience in the Norwegian league.
So over to Randy. Will the Solskjaer public dumping put Lerner off the quest for fresh ‘vibrant’ ideas and direction, just like it did last summer with Martinez? The ‘safe pair of hands’ severely backfired last time. Let’s pray lessons were learned.