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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 July 2006, 21:05 GMT 22:05 UK
O'Leary parts company with Villa
David O'Leary
O'Leary has left Villa with immediate effect
Aston Villa have announced that manager David O'Leary has left the Premiership club by mutual consent.

His departure follows an inquiry by the Villa board into a statement criticising chairman Doug Ellis that was supposedly issued by the squad.

"Although no misconduct by O'Leary was uncovered, it has been agreed that an amicable parting was in the best interests," said a Villa statement.

The 48-year-old Irishman was in charge of Villa for three years.

The club's statement continued: "It has been mutually agreed to terminate the contract of David O'Leary, with immediate effect.

606 VIEW

"A compensation package reflecting the situation has been established."

O'Leary took charge of Villa in June 2003 and took the Midlands side to sixth in the Premiership in his first season.

But fortunes on the pitch took a tumble for the Irishman, with the club finishing 10th in the 2004/2005 season and 16th in 2005/2006.

"There was no chemistry between O'Leary and his fans and it's questionable how much of a relationship there was between himself and the players," said BBC Radio Five Live's Pat Murphy.

"He underachieved last season. They were boring and tactically dull. It was a terrible season at Villa Park.

"The season-ticket sales during the summer have been absolutely appalling. Fundamentally, the Villa supporters will be glad that O'Leary has gone.

"But Villa cannot rely on Doug Ellis penny-pinching. They need a major hitter to bring Villa into an area where they feel they should be."

Fans cheered and clapped as former Leeds boss O'Leary left Villa Park at 2200 BST on Wednesday following a six-hour meeting.

Leaving the stadium, O'Leary said: "Look, we've just had a chat, that's it."

Former Villa left-back Colin Gibson, who played for the club from 1978-85, told Five Live Ellis should also quit the club.

"I think most fans would like to see him go too now, it's going rapidly downhill," said Gibson.

"As a chairman Ellis is meticulous, very shrewd. He's nobody's fool but he's getting old and we need someone who can steer the club back on course.

"O'Leary never had the club at heart but there are a lot of people who'd love the challenge of being Aston Villa manager."

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