Owner: Martin O'Neill quit over split

Updated: August 11, 2010, 2:31 PM ET
Associated Press

BIRMINGHAM, England -- Martin O'Neill quit as Aston Villa's manager after disputes about plans for the English Premier League club.

O'Neill walked out on Monday, just five days before the start of the season and with star player James Milner appearing to be headed for Manchester City.

"Having had some time to reflect on Martin leaving, I can say that our most immediate focus is supporting [temporary manager] Kevin MacDonald and resolving the situation with Manchester City and James Milner," owner Randy Lerner said in a statement Wednesday. "As for explaining why Martin left, I can say only that we no longer shared a common view as to how to move forward.

"To deal in greater detail would do little but cause additional distraction for the club as it faces imminent games and the clear priority of hiring a permanent manager."

Lerner, who also owns the NFL's Cleveland Browns, wants to control salaries and spending after saying earlier this year that he would prefer to spend money on players brought in from transfers.

"There have been no changes in our approach to building the club, aiming always to be as competitive as possible given our size and resources," Lerner said.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press