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09 Sep 2010

Former Liverpool and Lyon boss Gerard Houllier has been appointed the new manager of Aston Villa.

The 63-year-old left the post of technical director at the French Football Federation to return to English football after six years away.

He takes over from caretaker Kevin MacDonald, who had been in charge since Martin O'Neill left on 9 August.

Chief executive Paul Faulkner said: "He [Houllier] understands the ethos of our club and shares our core values."

No announcement has yet been made on the future of MacDonald, who stepped up from his position of reserve team coach when O'Neill left before the start of the season.

Phil Thompson, Houllier's number two at Anfield, had been linked with the assistant manager's role at Villa Park but has decided to continue working as a television pundit.

The length of Houllier's contract has also not yet been revealed.

He will be formally presented to the media on Friday, with his first game in charge away to Stoke on Monday.

"Two of the key qualities which we identified as being of crucial importance in our search for the new manager were experience of managing in the Premier League and a strategy for building on the existing strengths in our current squad," said Faulkner.

"Gerard Houllier comfortably satisfies these criteria."

Houllier admitted it had been a "very difficult decision" to leave his post in France but he was "very happy and proud to join this great and historic club".

"I could not turn down the opportunity to manage a club whose approach, both on and off the pitch, I have long admired," he stated.

"Aston Villa is one of England's biggest clubs and has an amazing set of fans.

"This is a tremendous challenge and one I am very much looking forward to taking on."

Houllier has an impressive record in club management, having led Liverpool to the FA Cup, League Cup and Uefa Cup Treble in 2001.

After leaving Anfield, he managed Lyon between 2005 and 2007, winning two league titles.

His other former clubs include Paris St Germain and Lens, and he also coached France between 1992 and 1993, when he failed to secure qualification for the 1994 World Cup finals.

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