Gerard Houllier is now back in the EPL where he takes the reigns of Aston Villa starting next week. I must admit, I liked Houllier. I met him when I went to watch Liverpool train many years ago. He was very pleasant and made me feel comfortable while there. I also thought he did a good job during his time at Liverpool. I think his main problem was that Liverpool still thought they should be winning the EPL Championship every year like they had done in the 80's. And that brought unrealistic expectations.
When you consider his record, it wasn't too bad. Actually it was pretty good. They finished fourth, third, second, fifth and fourth in the league during his time. In the 2000-01 season he led Liverpool to third in the Premiership and picked up the trophy treble of the FA Cup, UEFA Cup and League Cup. What would Liverpool give for those results now?
He had ups and downs developing players and in the transfer market. Steven Gerrard and Michael Owen particularly flourished under Houllier. And when Liverpool won the Champions League in Istanbul under Rapha, practically all of the players were signed by Houllier.
However, one of the things that I think cost him his job at Liverpool, other than his failure to win the EPL title, was his "misses" in the transfer market, especially paying £14 million on Djibril Cisse, who flamed out big time.
I think there are certain instances where a manager can stay at a club for an extended time, Alex Ferguson comes to mind. But for the majority of cases, I think somewhere around the 5-7 year mark, a manager might need a fresh challenge or a club might think the grass is greener elsewhere and I think this was the case with Houllier at Liverpool.
So, I don't blame Liverpool for axing Houllier. It was probably best all around. But I do think Houllier did a good job while there and I hope he does a good job at Villa.