Ged Scott says David O'Leary's managerial exit is hardly a surprise.
There must be something about a long, hot World Cup summer that simply does not agree with David O'Leary.
Four years ago, while everyone was busy in Japan, he was sacked during the middle of the tournament by Leeds United.
This time, Aston Villa at least appear to have waited until the fun was over in Germany before handing him his latest comeuppance. But there, in a nutshell, lies the story behind O'Leary's departure.
While other managers went off to Germany for a month to do their summer shopping, O'Leary was left at the starting gate, watching in frustration and increasing annoyance at the window as other managers from other clubs were given the funds to rebuild their teams.
Not only was O'Leary denied any spending money unless he could offload any of his existing players, he wasn't even allowed to send along his chief scout Ian Broomfield.
Broomfield had had enough. He resigned as a matter of principle. And, for a small fee, it did not take long for him to become Villa's only 'sale' of the summer so far when he got a new post at Portsmouth. But O'Leary's own steadily decreasing stature within the game has so far not been sufficient to win him admirers in boardrooms elsewhere.
Instead, he has had to remain at Villa Park, with his hands tied, repeating the same moans that many another Villa boss has had before him. But the big crux of Villa's future now is will O'Leary prove to be the last manager got rid of by Doug Ellis?
In the end, they all forget that they've had money to spend and haven't always spent it wisely. But, primarily, they also get fed up with working for chairman Ellis.
And, on the hottest day of the summer, boiling point was finally reached at Villa Park last night with the end of O'Leary's three-year reign, this time, the only surprise being that the chairman himself was not back from his yacht in the Mediterranean to personally oversee proceedings.
Ellis's bizarre absence apart, it still ended just like it began, with Villa in a state of turmoil and confusion. Just like after the equally miserable season which proved the prelude to Graham Taylor's unhappy second departure in May 2003.
The early days of O'Leary's reign did not initially look like making the club any happier a place.
By December, Villa were in the Premiership's relegation zone. But, just as has been the case with his departure, it was O'Leary's players who played the key role.
A pre-Christmas players' trip to Dublin lit the blue touch paper on a stunning second half of the season revival.
The in-house talking, inspired by leading dressing room light Dion Dublin, proved inspirational as they responded with a vital 3-2 derby win over fellow Midland strugglers Wolverhampton Wanderers, coupled with a League Cup victory over mighty Chelsea. And they had improved so much by season's end that they finished sixth, only just missing out on a European place.
Despite spending £3 million on Martin Laursen, O'Leary's second season was an average one, scarred chiefly by their embarrassing loss of a 2-0 derby lead to Birmingham City at Villa Park. They ended tenth and there were already mutterings last summer as to whether O'Leary really was still the right man.
Those doubts were tempo-rarily silenced this time last year when Ellis allowed O'Leary to spend nearly £13 million, half of which went on a truly big name buy, Milan Baros. But, although he did at least reach double figures in goals for the season, Baros's loyalties were clearly with country rather than club for most of a campaign that was little more than a World Cup warm-up with the Czech Republic. And the mood, for once directed at manager rather than chairman at Villa Park, became increasingly ugly.
O'Leary survived the low points of Villa's 3-0 Carling Cup cave-in to Doncaster Rovers. And he again proved flame-resistant when there were calls for his head after embarrassing hammerings later on in the season at Everton and Arsenal, helped by his timely use of his promising youngsters.
Even then, it would have been no surprise had Villa called time at the end of the season, as one expectant media outlet in particular hoped they would do.
As it is, the whole sorry saga has been allowed to rumble on for another ugly summer, in which Villa's name has been further sullied.
Despite his awareness of needing to make a few new friends, by the end, O'Leary had become increasingly short of allies. And maybe the biggest indictment of the feeling of apathy among Villa fans is that now the bullet has finally been fired, nobody really cared.
DAVID O'LEARY FACTFILE
1958: Born on May 5, less than a mile from Highbury in Stoke Newington, the son of Irish parents.
1961: Moves to Dublin with family.
1973: Joins Arsenal as an apprentice after two week trial with Manchester United.
1974: Makes senior Arsenal debut at age 17.
1976: Makes Republic of Ireland debut in 1-1 Wembley draw with England.
1978: Makes first FA Cup final appearance in Arsenal side which loses 1-0 to Ipswich.
1979: Wins FA Cup winner's medal with Arsenal beating Manchester United 3-2.
1980: FA and European Cup Winners' Cup runners-up against West Ham and Valencia respectively.
1986: Collects estimated £100,000 from Highbury testimonial against Celtic to mark - a year late - his ten years as an Arsenal professional.
1987: Wins Littlewoods Cup medal in 2-1 Wembley win over Liverpool.
1988: Recalled to the Republic of Ireland squad after two years in the international wilderness following a bust-up with manager Jack Charlton.
1989: Wins first Championship medal with Arsenal in dramatic win at Liverpool. Breaks club appearance record of 550 matches.
1990: Scores the winner in a penalty shoot-out against Romania to put the Republic through to the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Italy.
1991: Wins second Championship with the Gunners.
1992: Sent off for the first time in his career - in a reserve game at Queens Park Rangers.
1993: Captains his country in his 68th and final international against Wales but is carried off injured after just two minutes; Wins Coca-Cola Cup and FA Cup winners' medals before moving to Leeds on free transfer.
1995: Announces his retirement.
1996: Returns to Elland Road as assistant to new Leeds manager George Graham.
1998: Takes over as manager after Graham quits for Tottenham.
1999: Steers Leeds to fourth place in the Premiership.
2000: Takes Leeds through to the Champions League with a third-place finish in the Premiership and reaches the last four of the Uefa Cup. Agrees new five-year deal and embarks on lavish spending spree, topped by £18 million signing of Rio Ferdinand.
2001: Leeds reach the semi-finals of the Champions League but are beaten by Valencia; Pulls off another major transfer coup with the £11 million signing of Robbie Fowler from Liverpool but stirs controversy with the release of his book Leeds United on Trial soon after the conclusion of the trial involving Leeds players Lee Bowyer and Jonathan Woodgate.
2002: Leaves Leeds by mutual consent after season turns sour with FA Cup third round defeat to Cardiff and fifth-place Premiership finish.
2003: Becomes Aston Villa manager, signing a three-year deal.
2004: May - Guides Villa to sixth in the Premiership, missing out on European qualification on the final day of the season after a defeat to Manchester United. December - Signs a three-anda-half-year contract extension.
2005: November - Fined £5,000 and warned as to future conduct following criticism of referee Graham Poll during Birmingham City match; Villa beaten 3-0 in Carling Cup by Coca-Cola League One side Doncaster Rovers.
2006: January - Reacts angrily to remarks by England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson that he could take over at Villa while discussing a hypothetical takeover of the club with a "fake sheikh". March - States his determination to continue at Villa despite fans calls for him to step down.
July 19 - Leaves Villa in what club describe as "amicable parting of the ways."