Villa scotch O’Neill quit rumours amid talk of boardroom bust-up

ASTON VILLA last night dismissed reports that Martin O’Neill had quit as manager of the club amid claims of a bust-up with owner Randy Lerner.

Earlier reports suggested O’Neill had clashed with Lerner over his transfer budget for next season and opted to end his four-year spell at Villa Park.

O’Neill’s odds to be the next Premier League manager to depart were then slashed from 66-1 to 7-1 with some linking the Northern Irishman with a move back to former club Celtic. Villa refused to respond to the claims with a formal statement but club insiders say they are “pure nonsense”.

O’Neill admitted in January he was forced to adhere to a “sell to buy” policy having already spent heavily in bringing the likes of Stephen Warnock, Richard Dunne, Fabian Delph, James Collins and Habib Beye to the club, while Gareth Barry joined Manchester City.

But his hopes of Champions League football faded on Saturday when his side were thrashed 7-1 by Chelsea.