Football: Why Alex McLeish Is Not Worth the Trouble for Aston Villa
Alex McLeish's shocking resignation on Sunday opened up the possibility that the Scot would move across Birmingham to manage Aston Villa. This also resulted in the creation of a Facebook group entitled "Aston Villa Supporters—We don't want Alex McLeish", which at the time I wrote this article had already received over 12,000 "likes".
Then, on Tuesday, Villa announced that they intended "to interview him imminently". Earlier this month, fans at Villa shot down the idea that Steve McLaren would be offered the club's top job. They now hope that this campaign does likewise, as there are more than just club loyalties at play in this reaction. Here, we take a look at the career of the former Blue's man to see why he is far from the best man for the job.
McLeish's record should not hold pretty reading for Villa fans. His first forays into management with Motherwell and Hibernian had their moments, but both teams spent more than their fair share of time in relegation battles. His successes attracted the attention of Rangers, where McLeish had most of his success. However, we must remember that winning with the Rangers is an easier task than what Steve McLaren achieved at FC Twente. Further, McLeish's successes were not constant at Rangers either. Although he won the league twice, the 2002/03 season ended without trophies altogether—something that at a team like Rangers should not be tolerated.
It is unfair to just highlight only McLeish's failures, as he did enjoy great success in his ten matches managing Scotland. I could also be accused of being harsh on his Rangers record. However, the fact remains that without his League Cup win in March, McLeish's record contains similar lustre to that of McLaren, a man viewed as unacceptable by Villa's supporters.
Considering that the drama of Martin O'Neill's departure took a year to sort out, it seems surprising that Randy Randy Lerner would want to embroil the club in the further turmoil. Birmingham have released a statement today on their website stating that they believe Villa's pursuit of McLeish is in "contempt of Premier League and FA rules".
Villa's bungling search for a new manager has left them with a dwindling list of options. So far, it would appear that Mark Hughes, Roberto Martinez, Carlo Ancelotti and David Moyes are all out of the running. These men and McLeish aside, the bookies are looking at former Barcelona man Frank Rijkaard and Brighton manager Gus Poyet.
Personally, I think that Lerner would be hard pushed to do better than Chris Hughton. He proved at Newcastle that he can manage a club with great dignity. Still, at 50/1, he looks an unlikely choice and may be heading for a job as Fulham's No. 2. Villa need to appoint someone soon, and to be honest, McLeish should be at the bottom of their list.
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