Aston Villa chairman Randy Lerner is using the coaching structure at the Cleveland Browns to solve his manager dilemma.
The People says Lerner has been caught up in a managerial dilemma since Martin O'Neill walked out of Villa Park five days before the start of the season.
But he was in a similar situation with his Cleveland side last year as the club suffered a difficult start. His solution was to appoint experienced Mike Holmgren as club president and allow him to oversee team operations while Eric Mangini continued as head coach.
The set-up has shown signs of success and Lerner fancies testing out the policy in the Premier League.
Villa have not yet decided on a formal title for Gerard Houllier but Lerner has been hugely impressed by his credentials and director of football seems his most likely position.