Mar 25, 2011

Gerard Houllier's law at Aston Villa casts shadow over future of eight players

share on facebook

At least eight senior players are considering their Aston Villa futures after details emerged of Gerard Houllier's attempts to arrest an alarming slump in the club's fortunes. It is understood several senior figures are disgruntled enough to be giving serious thought to their futures, including Gabriel Agbonlahor, Stiliyan Petrov, Richard Dunne, James Collins, Brad Friedel, Ashley and Luke Young and Stephen Warnock. Sportsmail can reveal that, apart from banning mobile phones in the dressing room, Houllier has imposed severe financial penalties for any breach of rules and has introduced a procedure for any player wanting to contact owner Randy Lerner. First again: How Sportsmail broke the news on Wednesday Revolt: (Clockwise from top left) Ashley Young, Richard Dunne, Brad Friedel, James Collins, Stephen Warnock, Gabriel Agbonlahor, Stiliyan Petrov and Luke Young There is a sliding scale of fines for players who break the rules. Latecomers for training, meetings or pre-match gatherings will be fined 10 per cent of their weekly wage for a first offence, 20 per cent for a second and 30 per cent for a third. Any grievances will have to go through Houllier, after he stipulated that players wishing to speak to Lerner must seek his permission. The Villa boss is hoping the crackdown will reverse the drop in morale that has accompanied the team's decline in the Barclays Premier League. It could backfire, though, with rumblings of discontent coming from almost the entire first-team squad. Villa are hovering close to the drop zone, and despondency seems to have deepened since the new rules were introduced. According to sources close to the squad, there is resentment at the changes coming so late in the season, when they need to stand united to fight relegation, and at being 'treated like schoolkids'. Lerner is backing Houllier but is bound to be perturbed by further signs of team spirit unravelling at the start of an eight-game run-in that ends with a trip to Arsenal and a home match with Liverpool. Houllier's brief reign has been beset by problems, with just six wins from 25 Premier League games leaving Villa one point above the bottom three. Troubles: Gerard Houllier is attempting to keep his players under control A disheartened Ashley Young has given up hope of a Champions League place with Villa and will seek a move to a top-four club at the end of the season, as revealed in Sportsmail. Manchester United are leading the chase, with Liverpool and Tottenham also monitoring the situation. Agbonlahor and Petrov have both had spells on the bench of late, while Dunne and Collins were involved in a drink-fuelled fracas at a health spa. Chief executive Paul Faulkner reiterated his support for Houllier, saying: 'Our best chance of staying up is with Gerard.' But the rules have done little to enhance harmony, with at least two players seeking advice on whether to follow them.  Houllier rewrites the rules as Villa stars rebel over new code of conductDowning admits it's a relief to join up with England after Villa woes Aston Villa planning summer raid for wantaway Man City stopper Given All the latest Aston Villa news, features and opinion  Explore more:People: Ashley Young, Stiliyan Petrov, Richard Dunne, Gerard Houllier, Gabriel Agbonlahor, Luke Young Places: Liverpool



Post a Comment