Former Reds boss Gerard Houllier was today announced as the new boss of French Champions Olympique Lyonnaise – known more by the name of "Lyon". Houllier takes over from Paul le Guen and has signed a two-year deal.
Lyon’s president, Jean-Michel Aulas, said: "We are very happy to greet Gerard, who becomes the club’s new coach. I am privately convinced it is the right choice," he told a press conference.
Houllier has quite an act to follow – le Guen brought Lyon the last three of their four successive league titles, and Houllier will be expected to follow suit: "It is a huge challenge for me for I know being runner-up is a failure at this club. Nobody has ever won five titles in a row. And Lyon has never achieved any double, so there are things to be done,"
Houllier, 57 years old, has an option for a third year included in his deal, and will be joined by former Arsenal player Remi Garde as his assistant coach.
Houllier then made a statement that may confuse certain Liverpool youngsters that were never given a chance under the Frenchman when he said: "The squad is a fine blending of experience and youth. And I know a club that trusts in its young players is a great club. The best has yet to come."
Houllier has spent a year out of football since being asked to leave Anfield and is looking forward to the new challenge: "I am very happy and proud to be back in the French championship after leaving in 1988."
The Frenchman coached RC Lens and Paris Saint-Germain, steering the team from the capital to their first league title in 1986.
No announcement has been made on a transfer budget for Houllier, and whether some of his failed Anfield signings, such as Bruno Cheyrou and Salif Diao, might join him at Lyon remains to be seen.
Houllier was at the Champions League final in Turkey on Wednesday and is said to have been in to congratulate the Reds on becoming Champions of Europe whilst at the stadium.