LONDON ENGLAND - JANUARY 11: Alex McLeish the Birmingham manager looks on during the Carling Cup Semi Final first leg match between West Ham United and Birmingham City at the Boleyn Ground on January 11 2011 in London England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Aston Villa Announce New Manager: Alex McLeish Lands Job

Aston Villa have replaced wildly unpopular manager Gerard Houllier with former Birmingham City boss Alex McLeish.

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Birmingham City Pursuing Legal Action Against Alex McLeish

This should cheer Aston Villa fans up. Birmingham City really really really really aren't happy with the way Alex McLeish left the club and bolted for their arch-nemesis - he was confirmed as Villa boss on Friday - and are pursuing legal action to get their just dues. A very cranky-looking statement on the Birmingham website reads as follows:

The fact that Alex McLeish has been appointed as manager of Aston Villa does not, in any way, mean that the legal dispute is over and Birmingham City Football Club maintains its stance and will vigorously pursue the matter.

We are very disappointed with how the Club and its fans have been treated by Mr McLeish given the way we have supported him over the years and we are still looking into whether Aston Villa's conduct has been in line with Premier League rules.

That's awful structure, incidentally. Birmingham should fire their press officer. Anyway, the club might ask for up to 5M (the total value of McLeish's remaining contracted years with the team), but it seems unlikely that they'd get that much. There are also tapping-up accusations starting to fly around, which is interesting. My guess, for the very little that's worth, is that Randy Lerner woke up one day and decided that he'd annoy as much of the Midlands as possible. In which case... well played, Randy.


Alex McLeish Brings Defensive Acumen To Aston Villa - 7500 To Holte

There's no question that there are some Aston Villa supporters out there who absolutely refuse to see any positive to hiring Alex McLeish away from rival Birmingham City. The folks at 7500 to Holte, SB Nation's Aston Villa blog, are not quite so myopic, though. They hardly seem enthused about the hiring, but do see how a manager like McLeish could be good for a side that allowed more goals than all but four teams that escaped relegation. They see an Aston Villa team whose personnel practically guarantees a more open style than McLeish played at Birmingham City:

Logically, there is no way McLeish can use Aston Villa as he did Birmingham. We've got one of the most dynamic goal-scorers in the game in Darren Bent, and one of the most creative midfielders alive in Barry Bannan. (Heck, maybe the fact that Bannan and McLeish are both Scottish will mean that we see more of Wee Barry.) Couple that with Marc Albrighton and (hopefully) Stewart Downing, and this is a club that begs for a flowing game. Villa almost always looked best last season when they were on the counter-attack. They were incredibly opportunistic at times, and it is possible that McLeish takes advantage of that.


Aston Villa Announce Appointment Of Alex McLeish

Aston Villa have thrown their supporters into a tizzy by hiring former Birmingham City manager Alex McLeish in place of Gerard Houllier, who left the club at the end of the season following a health scare. Rather than questioning McLeish's style or ability (which would be at least somewhat valid), Villa fans are focused on the idea that it's somehow wrong to hire anyone who's been associated with their rival club, which is slightly mental. Anyway, here's what McLeish has to say:

I am honoured to have this opportunity to manage a club with such a fantastic history as Aston Villa's. The heritage, the history of success and the tradition of Aston Villa are compelling and irresistible. The challenge for me is to try to add my own chapter.

Since first becoming a manager at Motherwell, my desire to succeed and my energy and drive have never waned. My objective is to impart that drive and will to win to the players and fans of Aston Villa. I know that some of our fans have voiced concerns and I can understand why. It will be up to me to convince you that I am the right man to drive the Club forward and I intend to give absolutely everything to prove that I can be a success at the Club.

I'm not convinced that McLeish was the right man for the job, although he's not a bad manager. Villa chased after Wigan's Roberto Martinez, who would have been a much better fit, and probably could have done with someone who would get them to play more stylish football. Apart from trolling both Birmingham and Villa fans, this doesn't seem like an interesting appointment at all. Oh well.


Alex McLeish Is An Undesirable Hire For Aston Villa - 7500 To Holte

Our Aston Villa blog 7500 to Holte has reacted to the news that newly departed and now former Birmingham City manager Alex McLeish might be the next manager at Villa Park. You'll be stunned to learn that they're not terribly happy about it. Citing McLeish's poor results and negative style, 7500 to Holte argues that he's nowhere near the right man for the job.

There is nothing -- nothing -- about the freckled, pockmarked ginger that says he could be Villa's man for the foreseeable future, someone to build a club around rather than simply take us into seventh place next season. I think it's safe to say that most of us hated watching the Bluenoses this season, and not just because we're Villans and that's what we're meant to do. They played dirty. They hacked. They were overly defensive. 

Honestly, it's tough to disagree. Birmingham City have been a negative team in their time in the Premier League and the majority of neutrals weren't crushed to see them go down to the Championship. If Villa want to play an entertaining style of football and challenge for Europa League places, McLeish would be a curious hire.


Alex McLeish Quits Manager's Job At Birmingham City, Becomes Latest Rumored Aston Villa Candidate

After a season filled with incredible highs and lows - winning the Carling Cup, then getting relegated - Alex McLeish has quit his post as manager of now-Championship club Birmingham City FC. He has now become the latest manager who has been linked via wild speculation to the vacant manager's post at Aston Villa.

McLeish was heavily praised for getting Birmingham into the Premier League, then keeping them there despite a limited budget. His team appeared to be turning the corner from relegation battler to becoming a solid mid-table team when they defeated Arsenal in the Carling Cuip final, but the season ended poorly for the Blues and they were relegated after a final day loss to Tottenham Hotspur.

Aston Villa have turned down Mark Hughes and been turned down by Roberto Martinez so far in their search for a new manager. They have also been linked to Rafael Benitez, who is said to be uninterested, and Martin Jol, who is the new Fulham manager. Now Villa are linked to McLeish, the former manager of their bitter cross-town rivals, and saying that Aston Villa fans are disappointed would be a massive understatement. As a whole, they're more or less devastated that their club is considering hiring McLeish.

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