avid O'Leary left Aston Villa last night in an "amicable" departure that was "best for both parties" according to a statement by Aston Villa Football Club.
After days of controversy involving negative players' statements and internal investigations by the club the culmination of some very public washing of Villa's dirty linen is the departure of unpopular manager David O'Leary.
Villa did make it clear that O'Leary had nothing to do with the players' statement released earlier this week which seemed to provide the spark to cause the explosive departure of O'Leary last night.
The real reason for the lucrative exit of O'Leary which was the increasing gulf in empathy between O'Leary and Doug Ellis and O'Leary and the Villa faithful. Though one suspects that the Villa supporters would have had to endure another season of O'Leary if he hadn't upset the Chairman Doug Ellis. Reportedly O'Leary failed to keep Ellis, in his Mediterranean holiday home, informed by telephone once a week of progress. Having seen O'Leary's Villa play one could reasonably argue there was nothing to phone him about!
Villa fans will be pleased to see the back of David O'Leary but less so when the find out that he has received a £1.7million pay-off of his contract. As Leeds United fans remember, O'Leary was never slow in making sure of his "fair" share of football's largesse.
So, as David O'Leary departs into luxurious temporary retirement, Villa fans are left to contemplate a pre-season left in tatters. Early leader in the betting as O'Leary's replacement is ex-Villain, Alan Curbishley, and they could do a lot worse! The man is used to working with a tight budget but he never really won anything at Charlton. Will mid-table Premiership survival each season under Curbishley be enough? Perhaps, at least while WBA and Birmingham City languish in the Championship, but if they get promoted?
As for O'Leary, doubtless we will soon see calls for his return to Elland Road if Kevin Blackwell has a bad start to the season. Maybe the presence of O'Leary in the wings will focus his attention a little more than last season and end the farce of 4-3-3 and selling promising players like Pugh and Walton and signing "bargains" like Livermore and Carole from relegated teams! Hmmm, perhaps David O'Leary can be of some use to Leeds United after all!