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O'Neill criticized for thinking he was 'bigger than the club'

Wed 11th Aug 2010 | Clubs Ownership

Martin O'Neill has been criticized for thinking he was bigger than the club by General Charles C Krulak, Aston Villa chairman Randy Lerner's right-hand man

It’s understood that Krulak believes O'Neill quit as manager because he was unwilling to accept the financial limits he was expected to work under.

"No one person is bigger than our club. Not me, not Randy, not chief executive Paul Faulkner, not Martin," he added.

"What's interesting is that apparently only three of those understand that."

The criticism comes the day after Villa Chairman Randy Lerner thanked O'Neill for doing a good job in his four years at the club.

"There is no question he did a good deal for Villa and I've said over and over that he did a fine job," Krulak commented.

"At the same time, I can promise everyone that he knew and understood the long-range plans for the club and bought into them.

"Martin was absolutely supported by the owner. All one needs to do is look at the money spent.

"The reality is the wage-to-revenue issue was not addressed and apparently he was unwilling to help address it.

"He knew full well about the need to bring wages in line with revenue - the same as every Premiership club."

O’Neill has yet to reveal the exact reason for his departure 5 days before the start of the new season, but Krulak is confident Villa can still make a realistic challenge for the Champions League after three successive top-six finishes.

"Do I think we have some rough times ahead? Probably but nothing that we can't handle," added the non-executive Villa director.

"I have been in some tough scrapes before and I never got out of them by wishing it away. I just put my head down and continued to grind it out.

"At the end of the day, is the aim to get into the Champions League? Absolutely. Is this realistic? Absolutely. Do we still have a way to go? Absolutely.

"We will continue to try to do what is right by the Villa with the very best of intentions. Will we always get it right? Probably not but we will work damn hard to do the right things."

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