Does Alex McLeish deserve the stick he gets?
"a lot of Aston Villa fans didn’t want the Scot due to his connections with our fierce rivals"
March 12th, 2012
If you was to ask any member of the media I would put money on the fact that around 99% of them would say ‘No, he doesn’t – It is because he used to manage Birmingham City’. And that just goes to show just how little both the media and probably our very own football club actually listen to the fans.
I will be the first to admit that a lot of Aston Villa fans didn’t want the Scot due to his connections with our fierce rivals when the decision was first made – but if you take a look at his record at former clubs – and indeed with Villa, you will realise just why the Villa faithful don’t rate or want him.
He helped Rangers to third place finish in the Scottish Premier League back in the 2005-06 season, which was the first time in 10 years that they had finished outside the top 2. On top of that most Rangers fans stated that the football he produced was boring and negative.
In 2007, he then joined our fierce rivals Small Heath (Birmingham City) and helped contribute to them being relegated in his first season in charge. Some said he didn’t have long enough to save them – but he took over in November – plenty of time if you ask most football supporters.
The following year, despite being clear favourites to win the Championship title, Small Heath finished 2nd – but because of this they were still promoted, so not a lot was said.
And then despite a very lucky win in the Carling Cup last season against Arsenal, he again took them back into the Championship. And just like with Rangers fans, if you was to ask any blue nose they would tell you how he constantly played players out of position and played a negative style of football.
OK, OK, Yes you are right, maybe he did deserve a chance at Villa Park. A chance to prove that he can play a attractive style of football with one of the top flights most attacking football teams as he stated when he was named manager on the 17th of June.
His first clanger, came before the season even kicked off. He stated that not under any circumstances would winger Stewart Downing be allowed to leave, in the same summer that we lost Ashley Young to Manchester United. A few weeks later the former Middlesbrough winger joined Liverpool for around £20million after the player pushed through a transfer.
Yes player power won again, but he should of either stuck to his guns, or not said anything in the first place. But never the less he got a pretty good price for a player who had one decent season in a Claret and Blue shirt.
Once the season started Villa only managed one victory in six, and already the manager who was never going to be given an easy ride by the supporters started to feel the pressure. He soon secured a victory over Wigan and fans, backed of a little.
But it soon become clear, that the attacking flair that Villa once had, was gone, despite bringing in Charles N’Zogbia and having one of the best goalscorers in English football history in Darren Bent.
He started to get victory’s just as the pressure would build on him, and he really needed a win, and the 1-0 weekend win over Fulham proved just this.
When Andreas Weimann stumbled the ball over the line to give Villa there first win at home since a 3-2 win over Paul Lamberts Norwich side back on bonfire night, there was a sense of relief around Villa Park.
I personally know many supporters who have been season ticket holders for many years have not only wrote to the club, to make clear there feelings about the manager and his style of play but have also stated that they won’t renew there season ticket unless the former Small Heath manager is removed.
And for a club who have recently announced record loss’s this doesn’t look good, so will chairman Randy Lerner step up and take notice?
Words by Stuart Young
Read more of Stuart’s Aston Villa Blog here.