Aston Villa have confirmed the appointment of Remi Garde as the new manager of the Premier League's bottom side following Tim Sherwood's dismissal in October. The former Arsenal star has signed a three-and-a-half-year deal until the end of the 2018-19 season but will watch the game against Tottenham Hotspur on Monday night (2 November) from the stands, with caretaker boss Kevin MacDonald on the bench.
Garde spent three seasons at Lyon from 2011 to 2014 before leaving the club for "personal and family" reasons. Having being part of the Gunners' double-winning side in the 1997-98 season, the 49-year-old is set for his first managerial experience in the Premier League. He has the task of avoiding relegation following Villa's poor start to the season under Sherwood, with the Midlands side at the foot of the Premier League with just four points from 10 games.
The Frenchman will take charge of the team after the trip to Tottenham with his first challenge being the game against Manchester City on 8 November. Garde has expressed his delighted over his new job although he has admitted the difficulty of the challenge.
"It is an unbelievable honour to be the manager of such an illustrious football club," he said to the club's website. "I've had extremely positive meetings with both the owner, Randy Lerner, and chief executive Tom Fox. They have ambitious plans for the club and I'm excited that they have turned to me to help them realise them. Obviously we have a in front of us but I'm looking forward to the challenge with the support of everyone who loves Aston Villa."
Fox has also hailed the new manager's arrival. He said: "For the past year we have been working purposefully to transform the club in order to build a successful organisation that can compete and succeed in the Premier League.
"Finding a manager who shares and believes in our vision and has the ability to bring it to life through performances on the pitch is essential. We are confident that Remi is the manager who can deliver the best from the current squad and help set the club up for future success."
Meanwhile, Lerner added: "Remi came with ideas, honesty, humour and a steely sense of what it will take for Aston Villa to be what it is meant to be - hard working, tireless, creative and unwilling to concede. Nobody at Villa can deny that we are way behind.
"We recruited aggressively this past summer and it is our responsibility to now harvest this talent rather than buckle under pressure and criticism - we are better than that. On behalf of the Board we wish Remi every success."