Rumours surrounding the departure of Martin O’Neill from Aston Villa have seemingly been dispelled this week after the Irishman received assurances from Chairman Randy Lerner that he would have money to spend over the summer.
Lerner admitted that there had been arguments in January over the club’s lack of activity in the transfer market but that he had never told the widely-respected former Celtic and Leicester boss to operate under a sell-before-you-buy policy. O’Neill’s future now looks to be resolved at Villa Park as he sets about masterminding a successful attack on the elusive Champions League places next season but why exactly did these tensions arise in the first place?
Lerner has a fierce determination to land silverware. After sanctioning the £16m spent last summer on Richard Dunne, James Collins and Stephen Warnock, his expectations have risen. An early exit in the Europa League led to the American requesting that the wage bill be trimmed and players sold during the January transfer window prompting sparks of rage from the manager. Since then elimination from the Carling and FA Cups has further exacerbated things between two strong and fiery personalities.
The bottom line is that both men are desperately frustrated at falling at the final hurdle for two seasons running and having to accept the consolation prize of Europa League football. Martin O’Neill has always done things the hard way and relishes a challenge. At 58-years-old, he doesn’t need to work but it addicted to the game. He presides over a club where he is able to truly put his stamp on things and shape a destiny for a side desperate to recreate the glory of the early 80s on both the domestic and European stage.
That is why Villa fans can rest assured that Martin O’Neill is going nowhere.