Villa confirm Houllier departure
Aston Villa have confirmed the departure of Gerard Houllier as manager after nine months in charge of the Midlands club.
Houllier is parting company with Villa because of concerns over his health after his recent heart problems.
It has been common knowledge for 24 hours that Houllier's reign was coming to an end after he underwent further medical tests before the weekend.
Villa will now step up their search to find a replacement for Houllier, with Fulham's Mark Hughes one of the early names to be linked with the post.
Houllier was unable to take charge of team affairs for the final five games of the season and doctors have advised that he will require further time to recuperate.
Villa chief executive Paul Faulkner said: "I would like to thank Gerard for his considerable efforts over the past nine months and for the dedication, commitment and work ethic he has demonstrated as Villa manager.
"We regret the circumstances of Gerard's departure and, naturally, we wish him well in his continued recovery."
Houllier has hinted he may eventually return to football, saying: "I am extremely disappointed that I will not have the opportunity to manage Aston Villa next season.
"My health has improved considerably since I was taken ill on April 20. I now intend to take the next few months to concentrate on recuperating fully before I may return to football.
"I was very much looking forward to the prospect of my first full season as Villa manager and returning for pre-season training to prepare for the campaign ahead. I have been extremely touched by all of the messages I have received and by the reaction of people throughout the world of football."