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Martin O'Neill


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"Lerner had backed O'Neill in the transfer market during that spell but it became clear this summer that the funds would not be available to help take Villa on to the next level. The team's challenge for a top-four place fell away after they lost to Manchester United in the Carling Cup final in February.

Lerner insisted that Villa would have to adopt a sell-to-buy policy and O'Neill was resigned to losing the services of the England midfielder James Milner to Manchester City. That followed on from the departure of Gareth Barry to Eastlands last year."

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