Ged Scott hears the new Aston Villa boss doing what he does best.

Martin O'Neill is a man who comes across as being passionate and excitable. That's why the Aston Villa fans wanted him.

But the new Villa manager is also a man who knows how to keep his calm when it really matters and that's how he was yesterday, on the very afternoon when it became clear that his spending power is just about to be given a massive injection.

Now it has become clear that Doug Ellis really is to step aside and that there will be new owners coming in, O'Neill could have been forgiven for sitting with his feet up dreaming of Thierry Henry.

Instead, he was out at the coal face, supervising training at Bodymoor Heath before doing another of the things he does best, talking to a group of people he clearly regards with more respect than his predecessor... us, the gentlemen of the press.

This was O'Neill's first day at his desk, since his own takeover 11 days ago on the evening that his new team was flying off to Germany to start their pre-season tour.

He was still away for the whole of last week, apart from what was supposed to have been a quick return trip to England on Wednesday to reacquaint himself with his former club Celtic at Stamford Bridge and, no doubt, Stilian Petrov and Neil Lennon in particular.

So, for him to have actually taken time out to host a lunch with the press on what was effectively his first day at the helm comes as welcome news to not only the local press but the Villa fans.

For the past three years, those of us privileged enough to inform the fans of what is going on have been fed a diet of inedible blandness.

To his perpetual detriment, David O'Leary did not see it as any part of his remit to deal direct with supporters, spurning all opportunities to communicate via the means of local radio or public fans' forums. At the bitter end, he even got his players to do the talking for him.

Apart from his chosen favourites, he was all too obviously not keen on talking to the press.

Yes, he generally turned up when asked and did his bit but only to say the same things over and over again about his "Honest bunch of lads". And, when the going got tough, either he didn't show at all, or, as on one infamous occasion when a television reporter upset him, he unplugged his microphone and headed for the exit, having to be talked back in front of the camera only by a desperate press officer.

O'Neill, by contrast, is not cut from the same cloth. In his Leicester City days, having won a match following a round of golf with three local journalists, he insisted on repeating the same fourball for the next few Thursdays until the Foxes lost.

Like any football manager, he becomes upset occasionally - the Scottish press criticised him despite a 7-0 win over Dundee United. But, essentially, in a world where it has become fashionable to knock the media, O'Neill trusts us to report the facts correctly.

As befits a man schooled under Brian Clough, he knows how important it is to get his point across to the fans. "When we're doing well, I expect to be left alone, when we're doing badly, then I expect to be hammered" is the basic gist. It said a lot about him that, having twice hosted meals with the press on last week's tour in Holland, he should book a room at The De Vere Belfry yesterday lunchtime to do the same.

He was genuinely upset when the bottles of wine he had ordered did not materialise. When one wag suggested that, maybe as his first miracle, he could instead transform the bottles of water we had been given, no-one laughed louder.

You only have to look at the success O'Neill has had everywhere he's been to know he stands a chance of excitingly getting it right at Villa. To meet the man, you instantly see just why he gets it right!