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Page last updated at 11:32 GMT, Wednesday, 11 August 2010 12:32 UK

Randy Lerner explains Martin O'Neill exit from Villa

Martin O'Neill
Despite months of tension, O'Neill's exit was unexpected

Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner has said Martin O'Neill left his job as manager because they "no longer shared a common view as to how to move forward".

O'Neill quit the Midlands club suddenly on Monday after four years, with Kevin MacDonald taking temporary charge.

Lerner added: "Our most immediate focus is supporting Kevin MacDonald and resolving the situation with Manchester City and James Milner."

Midfielder Milner has been linked for some time with a move to City.

Villa rejected a £20m bid from the Eastlands outfit in May but last week O'Neill admitted that the England player could be on the verge of a transfer.

Lerner stated at the end of last season he would prefer a "sell-to-buy" policy after backing O'Neill financially for the previous three summers.

But the American is adamant there has been no change in Villa's approach to building the club and being as competitive as possible.

He also insisted that hiring a permanent manager is his priority.


MacDonald, who has been in charge of the reserves, will oversee the first team for Villa's opening game of the new Premier League season against West Ham on Saturday before a trip to Newcastle on Sunday 22 August.

In-between, they begin their European campaign with a Europa League qualifying play-off first leg against Rapid Vienna on Thursday 19 August.

United States manager Bob Bradley, Ajax boss Martin Jol and Germany legend Jurgen Klinsmann are among those being linked with the job.

Ex-England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson and former Villa star Gareth Southgate are both also believed to be interested.

Earlier, Lerner's right-hand man General Charles C Krulak said he believed O'Neill quit as manager because of the financial limits he was expected to work under and because he thought he was bigger than the club.

"No one person is bigger than our club. Not me, not Randy, not chief executive Paul Faulkner, not Martin," he told the Villa Talk website.

"What's interesting is that apparently only three of those understand that.

"There is no question he did a good deal for Villa and I've said over and over that he did a fine job.

"At the same time, I can promise everyone that he knew and understood the long-range plans for the club and bought into them.

"Martin was absolutely supported by the owner. All one needs to do is look at the money spent.

"The reality is the wage-to-revenue issue was not addressed and apparently he was unwilling to help address it.

"He knew full well about the need to bring wages in line with revenue - the same as every Premiership club."

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see also
Aston Villa eye quick appointment
10 Aug 10 |  Aston Villa
Laursen sensed O'Neill's dissatisfaction
09 Aug 10 |  Aston Villa
Taylor 'shocked' by O'Neill decision
09 Aug 10 |  Aston Villa
O'Neill quits as Aston Villa boss
09 Aug 10 |  Football
O'Neill quits as Aston Villa boss
09 Aug 10 |  Aston Villa

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