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Villa Deny Houllier Has Left but Confirmation is Expected

Aston Villa denied reports this morning that broke in today’s Birmingham Mail that Gerard Houllier has agreed to leave the club by mutual consent, though it is still widely expected that the Frenchman’s departure is imminent.Villa fans are waiting to hear the decision of the board and manager after rumours from earlier today suggested that the 63-year-old would leave the club after the board received results of extensive tests regarding the manager’s health. Although the club have claimed that Houllier is still the manager, they say the Birmingham Mail’s revelations were ‘premature’. That is the key word that seems indicative of the fact that the former Liverpool boss will leave the club, most likely within the week if not the coming days as premature is very different to incorrect. If the departure is confirmed, Gary McAllister’s position as assistant manager may well be short lived after the Scot led the side in the last 5 league games of the season. His three-year-deal signed last summer is only a year in and a compensation package is believed to be being discussed with the manager on an £8m contract over its duration.

Villa wingers Ashley Young and Stewart Downing, both linked with moves away from the club this summer, have claimed that they have heard nothing official from the club and have backed the manager if he returns. Young stated: “He’s done great. It’s been a difficult season, but fingers crossed things can get sorted and he’ll get back to full health. To be honest, I’ve not heard anything out of the club, officially. I’m not too sure what’s been going on. I’m away with England and that’s what I’m concentrating on. We’ve got a massive game on Saturday and that’s where my thoughts are.”

Downing added: “We have seen the rumours going about but we haven’t been told anything yet. We were told at the end of the season he was coming back. He came in at a difficult time and did quite well with the team. He has been good for me personally and if he stays then brilliant. If he goes I wish him all the best.”

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