MY CLUB MY VISION; Little: I Will Give My Opinion on Management Styles, People and Problems. I Don't Think There's Anyone Who Has Done as Many Things at One Place; ASTON VILLA V CHELSEA; EXCLUSIVE

The Mirror (London, England), April 2, 2016 | Go to article overview

MY CLUB MY VISION; Little: I Will Give My Opinion on Management Styles, People and Problems. I Don't Think There's Anyone Who Has Done as Many Things at One Place; ASTON VILLA V CHELSEA; EXCLUSIVE


Byline: JOHN WRAGG

Villa Park: Kick-off 12.45pm

BRIAN LITTLE, the last man to win a trophy for Aston Villa, will play a big part in picking their new boss.

Remi Garde became the second manager to be sacked in a crisisridden season. Little is advising the board and trying to rescue a club he loves from its shambles.

Bottom club Villa are on the verge of relegation to the Championship and chief executive Tom Fox and director of football Hendrik Almstadt paid the price before Garde followed Tim Sherwood out the door on Tuesday.

Owner Randy Lerner still wants to sell but, belatedly, has bolstered the board with a raft of new appointments - and key among them is Little.

Chairman Steve Hollis phoned Little, 62, and got him back to the club.

"I will give my opinion on management styles, management people, managers' problems," said Little. "I don't have to shout from the tree tops, but in terms of what I think of anybody, inside of four walls, you talk about things.

"It would be important to say what I think. If someone is shouting someone's praises and I don't think that's right, I would put my opinion across. I am quite convinced I would be asked. In fact I'm 99.999 per cent certain I would, on all topics connected with team progress.

"Every day there will be emails and phone calls to Steve saying, 'What about this manager? What about that g one?' Even if it's not what they want to hear, if I believe it, I will say it. If I'm there as a sounding board, if I'm not asked, then it's a bit pointless."

David Moyes, Nigel Pearson, Sean Dyche and Mick McCarthy are all on the radar, seen as strong managers to pull Villa out of freefall.

Steve Bruce and Gary Rowett would be top contenders, but their association with rivals Birmingham City makes them difficult to appoint, something that naively Lerner tried with Alex McLeish.

Little has done virtually every job at Villa, from sweeping the terraces to becoming a star player, selling lottery tickets for the commercial department when injury forced his retirement, youth coach and manager.

He has offered help before as the Lerner regime has struggled ever since the fall-out with Martin O'Neill six years ago.

Little has met Lerner and said: "My impression was he wanted someone like myself around. I didn't have to think it over. I enjoyed meeting him. You can't criticise him for putting his money in."

When Fox got abuse from fans, Little was in the directors' box and asked him if he was okay.

"He said he was and then came out with this sentence about, 'We are working hard on the commercial side' and I'm going, 'No, no Tom, that's not it. It's about the football'.

"You knew then there was a lot needed doing."

Little has been back to Villa's training ground to canvas views. Hollis, former FA chairman David Bernstein, who is also a new board appointment, and Little got the lowdown on what has gone wrong.

"The academy coaches felt isolated from the top end, not from the manager's point of view, but from Hendrik, he might have had more input.

"There's staff at the academy from when I was manager and I'm privy to the things they might have wanted to say to a person in a directorial position, but for whatever reason thought they wouldn't bother. …

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MY CLUB MY VISION; Little: I Will Give My Opinion on Management Styles, People and Problems. I Don't Think There's Anyone Who Has Done as Many Things at One Place; ASTON VILLA V CHELSEA; EXCLUSIVE
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