Friday, 22 April 2011

Wishing Gerard Houllier a Good Friday

I was shocked to to hear that Gerard Houllier, Aston Villa's manager has been taken to hospital.

Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier
Houllier of course it is well remembered, underwent an operation on his heart whilst manager of Liverpool a decade or so ago but on being offered the hot seat at Villa Park earlier this season, was given the all-clear to take on this demanding and pressuried role.

He's had a tough baptism in the Midlands as the Villa have struggled to gain any level of consitency and have been floating around the relegation zone for most of that period. Indeed, I mentioned my grave concerns on the situation as a long-suffering Villain in a blog post here some months back. But two wins on the bounce has propelled us into mid-table and a hat-trick of wins at home to Stoke tomorrow should absolutely secure safety.

His fellow managers have wished him a speedy recovery.

Kenny Dalglish, manager of Houllier's former club Liverpool, said: "Your health is more important than anything, so we wish him well and I'm sure he is in the best possible hands."

"Doctor [Mark] Waller is there, who was the club doctor here when Gerard fell ill in 2001, so he's got a good guy beside him and I'm sure the people there will do everything they can to help.

"We won't be morose about it because we don't understand [the nature of Houllier's problem], but we send him our best wishes."

Stoke's Tony Pulis said: "Everyone in football will wish Gerard a swift recovery, we hope he is well and I am sure they will be looking after him.

"We have some fantastic medical people in this country and I am sure he will get well looked after.

"Irrespective of what medical care you get, nothing stops you from getting excited on the touchline or carrying the pressure on your shoulders if things aren't going too well. Pressure is part of the job, you get used to it."

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini also had kind words for Houllier.

"It is not easy because, when you are under pressure, you can have some problems. But I hope Gerard comes out of hospital very quickly because he is a big person, a big manager.

"He is my friend and I hope he can be on the bench in the next game."

Fulham boss Mark Hughes added: "Our thoughts are with Gerard and his family. It's a worrying time for them and his club because he's the figurehead.

"We hope its nothing too serious."

Houllier's assistant Gary McAllister took Thursday's training session and will take charge of the squad for Saturday's game at Villa Park.

But today my thoughts are with Houllier. Whilst he may not have been my first choice as Villa's manager, the truth of the matter is that Martin O'Neill was always going to be a tough act to follow, no matter who it was that stepped into his shoes.

He is said to be in a stable condition and will remain in hospital for some days.

On this Good Friday, I wish Gerard well in his recovery and hope to see him back in the dugout before the end of the season.

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