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Aston Villa appoint France's Rémi Garde as new manager

Philippe Desmazes, AFP | France’s Rémi Gardeat at a press conference in Lyon on May 13, 2014

Aston Villa have appointed Frenchman Remi Garde as their manager on a four-year contract, the Premier League club said on Monday.

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Garde has been taking a break since leaving Olympique Lyonnais, where he was in charge from 2011-14.

"Aston Villa Football Club is delighted to announce the appointment of Remi Garde as our new manager," the Midlands club said on their website.

"The 49-year-old Frenchman is widely regarded as one of Europe's most exciting coaches and has agreed a contract that will run until the end of season 2018/19."

The club sacked Tim Sherwood on Oct.25 after taking only one point from his last nine league games.

They play at Tottenham Hostpur later on Monday and need a win to climb off the bottom of the table.

"It is an unbelievable honour to be the manager of such an illustrious football club," Garde told the website.

"I've had extremely positive meetings with both the owner, Randy Lerner, and chief executive Tom Fox. They have ambitious plans for the club and I'm excited that they have turned to me to help them realise them.

"Obviously we have a difficult task in front of us but I'm looking forward to the challenge with the support of everyone who loves Aston Villa."

Lerner added: "Remi came with ideas, honesty, humour and a steely sense of what it will take for Aston Villa to be what it is meant to be -- hard working, tireless, creative and unwilling to concede.

"Nobody at Villa can deny that we are way behind. We recruited aggressively this past summer, and it is our responsibility to now harvest this talent rather than buckle under pressure and criticism - we are better than that."

Fifth manager

Garde, who played for Arsenal from 1996-99, was an assistant coach at Lyon from 2003, helping them win successive Ligue 1 titles. As the club's manager he won the 2012 French Cup.

He becomes the fifth full-time manager in five years since the successful Martin O'Neill, who finished in the top six for three straight seasons but quit after disagreeing with Lerner about the club's future direction.

O'Neill, now the Ireland manager, wanted more investment to challenge for a top four place and earn a Champions League slot.

One of the founder members of England's Football League in 1888, Villa were champions six times by 1910, but have only won the title once since then.

That success, however, in 1981, was followed by a stunning European Cup triumph with Villa beating Bayern Munich in the next year's final.

Apart from finishing league runners-up under Graham Taylor in 1990 and winning the League Cup twice, they have had to be content with being the top club in the Midlands – and for the past two seasons have lost even that claim to fame.

Finishing positions of 16th, 15th, 15th and 17th, with the club now bottom suggest Garde has a job on his hands that will fully test his impressive reputation.

(REUTERS)

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