Garde leaves Villa as relegation draws near

Remi Garde's dismal spell as manager of Aston Villa came to an inevitable conclusion with the Frenchman departing less than five months after taking over.

Remi Garde Aston Villa Premier League

Remi Garde Source: Getty Images

The former Lyon boss managed just two victories in 20 Premier League matches after failing to turn around the club's disastrous start to the season.

Speculation about his departure had been rife for a number of weeks, with relegation a virtual certainty as Villa stand 12 points from safety with seven matches remaining.

His exit was confirmed in a short statement from the club that came at the same time England were playing Netherlands at Wembley.

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"Manager Remi Garde has today left Aston Villa Football Club by mutual consent," the statement read.

"The club would like to place on record its sincere thanks to Remi for all his efforts during a difficult period and wish him well in the future.

"Eric Black will take over as acting manager until the club appoints a new manager.

"There will be no further comment from the club at this stage."

Former Leicester City boss Nigel Pearson quickly emerged as an early favourite with bookmakers to be the next Villa manager, with David Moyes, without a club since losing his job at Real Sociedad in November, and former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers also fancied.

Garde took over in early November, just over a week after Tim Sherwood was sacked.

He inherited a side bottom of the table with just four points from 11 matches, but with a squad short on quality and no signings made in the January transfer window Garde faced a difficult task.

Garde was understood to be unhappy with a failure to be backed in the transfer market in January, with Villa opting not to sign a player despite his personal efforts.

Under Garde, Villa picked up just 12 points with two victories and six draws, but they could not arrest the habit of losing which brought a further dozen defeats.

There were rumours of discontent within the squad with rifts said to be emerging between the manager and senior players after they reportedly criticised his training sessions, which were taken by Black, and were unhappy with Garde's behaviour after matches - often failing to go into the dressing room.

Earlier this month, chief executive Tom Fox stepped down with immediate effect citing a change in his role after internal restructuring, which only added to the feeling Villa are a club in crisis.

A few hours before Garde's departure, Villa announced former Football Association executive Adrian Bevington had taken on a role at the club, working with new Villa director and former FA chairman David Bernstein and the board in conducting the review into another season of under-achievement.

"Adrian has a wealth of experience with over 20 years working at the highest level of football," Bernstein said.

"He was the managing director of Club England and worked with many managers and coaches during his 17 years at the FA.

"More recently he has worked with several clubs and the Welsh FA, and I'm convinced his experience, contacts and understanding of football will be a tremendous asset to Aston Villa."

Former FA chairman Bernstein is one of several new faces in the Villa boardroom along with Sir Mervyn King and former Villa boss Brian Little.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at some of the possible contenders to replace Garde:

NIGEL PEARSON

The former Leicester City manager is available and has the experience and pedigree to guide Villa back into the top flight if, as looks likely, they are relegated this season.

The club and team need a shake-up, which the 52-year-old would do, although he would likely want total control over transfers, meaning Villa would have to accommodate him alongside their new football board, headed by ex-Football Association chairman David Bernstein.

Pearson won the Championship with Leicester in 2014 before guiding them to Premier League safety in 2015 and most of his old squad have helped the Foxes to the brink of a shock top-flight title success.

DAVID MOYES

It would take a lot to tempt the ex-Manchester United manager to Villa Park now the club are set for the Championship.

But Moyes's unhappy spells at Real Sociedad and Old Trafford mean he may have to set his sights lower and could be within Villa's reach. Villa have spoken to him in the past, although that was when Moyes's and the club's stock was much higher.

The 52-year-old has not managed in the second tier since leaving Preston North End for Everton in 2002, but is a builder and Villa need rebuilding from the ground up.

GARRY MONK

Out of work after being sacked by Swansea City in December, the 37-year-old kept the Welsh side in the Premier League during his 18 months in charge.

He was part of the Swans squad to win promotion via the play-offs in 2011 and knows the league having played in it, although he has never managed in the Championship.

His footballing philosophy would be welcome at Villa and Monk has already said he is looking to get back into management and Villa could be an ideal fit.

STEVE McCLAREN

The ex-England manager needs to rebuild his own managerial career just as much as Villa need to repair their battered reputation.

Dismissed in March after a disappointing nine-month spell in charge of Newcastle United and implosion at Derby County in 2014-2015, McClaren might not be a popular choice, but is available.

He was rejected by Villa in 2011 after supporters voiced their opposition and there could be similar feeling again.

STEVE BRUCE

The Hull City boss has been linked with Villa already, but, with his Tigers side faltering in the Championship promotion race, he is unlikely to be a popular choice.

A spell as manager of Birmingham City would also count against him in the eyes of the Villa fans, who expect the board to get the appointment right.

Bruce knows the Championship and has a proven track record of getting teams promoted and Villa need second-tier know-how.


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6 min read
Published 30 March 2016 at 7:18am
By Carl Markham, Nick Mashiter
Source: PA Sport