Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier taken to hospital

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The Independent Football

Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier has allayed fears about his health after being admitted to hospital last night, Press Association Sport understands.

Houllier underwent heart surgery in October 2001 after feeling unwell when Liverpool boss during a clash with Leeds and did not return to full-time management for five months.

But Houllier is believed to have contacted Villa chief executive Paul Faulkner at around 7am this morning to reassure him about his current health.

The Villa manager felt ill yesterday evening and admitted himself to hospital as a precaution and also underwent a routine check-up with Villa's medical staff last week.

Faulkner is expected to visit Houllier in hospital later today where, although in a comfortable condition, he is set to remain for a couple of days.

Assistant manager Gary McAllister, who played under Houllier at Liverpool, is expected to take charge of Saturday's home Barclays Premier League clash with Stoke.

McAllister was also taking today's training session at Bodymoor Heath.

Villa are making no official comment at this juncture but are set to release a statement later today on Houllier's situation.

Houllier has come under fire from Villa fans on a couple of occasions this season and sections of them have called for him to be sacked.

But results have taken an upturn in recent games with Villa climbing into the top half of the Barclays Premier League.

Houllier has also looked relaxed at his recent media conferences.

Villa revealed in a statement that while comfortable Houllier was set to remain in hospital "for several days" and confirmed that McAllister would take charge for this weekend's visit of Stoke.

"The club can confirm that Gerard Houllier was admitted to hospital last night," the statement read.

"He is in a comfortable condition and he wishes to convey his appreciation to Aston Villa supporters for their concern and good wishes.

"The manager spoke to chief executive Paul Faulkner this morning and he is currently undergoing tests.

"It is anticipated that he will remain in hospital for several days.

"Assistant manager Gary McAllister has taken training this morning and he will be in charge of the team for the game against Stoke on Saturday at Villa Park.

"The club's thoughts at this time are with Gerard and his family."

Faulkner revealed he had spoken to the French manager this morning and said he was in good spirits.

"On behalf of the football club, Mr Lerner and I wish to convey our best wishes to Gerard," he said.

"I spoke with him this morning, as did Gary before he took training, and he sounded very positive.

"I've also received a lot of good wishes from fans and I would like to thank them for their kind thoughts in wishing Gerard a speedy recovery.

"I will see him this afternoon, along with Gary, and we will pass on the fans' messages. I know they will mean a lot to him.

"We would ask everybody to respect his privacy and that of his family at this time."

Gerard Houllier factfile

1947: Born September 3, Lille.

Never plays football professionally but works as an English teacher while playing for, and then coaching, local amateur side Le Touquet in the 1970s.

1979: Takes over as coach of Noeux les Mines, then in the fifth tier of French football. Made his mark by leading them into the second division in three successive promotions.

1982: Becomes manager of Lens, guiding them into European competition.

1985: Takes over at Paris St Germain, whom he leads to the French title in 1986.

1988: After failing to repeat his early success, leaves PSG to take a coaching position in the French national set-up. Becomes assistant to Michel Platini.

1990: Takes on technical director role with French Football Federation. Enjoys success in guiding French Under-18 side to victory in European Championships.

1992: Succeeds Platini as national coach.

1994: Resigns after France fail to qualify for the 1994 World Cup finals. Continues in technical director role while also working alongside new coach Aime Jacquet.

1998: A member of FIFA's technical study group at World Cup.

July - Appointed joint team manager of Liverpool with Roy Evans.

November - Confirmed as sole manager of Liverpool with Evans leaving by mutual agreement.

2001: February - Liverpool beat Birmingham on penalties to win the Worthington Cup after a 1-1 draw after extra-time at the Millennium Stadium.

May - Liverpool win the FA Cup, coming from behind to beat Arsenal 2-1 thanks to two late goals from Michael Owen. The Reds complete a cup treble by winning the UEFA Cup, beating Alaves 5-4 in extra-time in Dortmund and qualify for the Champions League by finishing third in the Premiership.

October 13 - Houllier taken to hospital where he has open heart surgery after suffering from chest pains during the home match against Leeds. He is discharged on November 1.

2003: The Merseysiders win the League Cup by beating Manchester United in the final, but finish fifth in the league, 19 points behind their rivals and fail to qualify for the Champions League.

June 12 - Announcement Houllier will receive an honorary OBE in Queen's Birthday honours list.

2004: March - Days after graffiti is daubed on the walls of Liverpool's training good demanding Houllier's resignation, the Frenchman reveals he received a death threat prior to the Portsmouth match. Liverpool are knocked out of UEFA Cup by Marseille.

May 24 - Liverpool announce they have parted company with Houllier after finishing fourth, 30 points behind champions Arsenal.

2005: May 29 - Appointed manager of Lyon on a two-year contract.

2006: Guides Lyon to title in his first season in charge but they exit Champions League at quarter-final stages at AC Milan.

2007: Houllier wins a second successive championship, but the French side are knocked out of the Champions League at the second round stage by Roma.

May 25 - Steps down as Lyon manager after two seasons in charge, but immediately denies links to Manchester City and Dynamo Kiev.

September 14 - Named technical director by the France Football Federation (FFF).

October 25 - Says he would be interested in a return to international management, prompting speculation linking him with England, Republic of Ireland and South Korea.

2008: January 14 - FFF confirm they would be prepared to release him from his contract to take charge of Newcastle, but speculation comes to nothing.

April 16 - FFF deny reports Houllier is to leave for Hamburg.

June 27 - Angrily rejects claims he is to take charge of Czech Republic.

2010: September 8 - Appointed Aston Villa manager with immediate effect.

April 21 - Taken to hospital after falling ill.