Aston Villa’s protracted search for a new manager has ended with the appointment of ex-Birmingham boss Alex McLeish.
The former Rangers manager resigned from his St Andrews post by email on Sunday and Villa moved quickly to secure his services.
While Aston Villa chief executive Paul Faulkner believes the club have landed the “right man for the job”, a significant proportion of Villa fans are likely to be unimpressed by the selection of a man with close links to their fiercest rivals.
Demonstrations were held prior to McLeish being offered the job urging the board to consider other alternatives, with fans worried not only by Big Eck’s Birmingham connections but also by his recent record.
While McLeish masterminded the Blues’ Carling Cup win over Arsenal last season, he also oversaw two relegations in four years at the club.
This is worrying considering Villa’s patchy performances last season and the fact that star player Ashley Young looks set to join Manchester United.
Even so, Aston Villa are 22/1 outsiders for the drop at bwin, meaning a successful £25 free bet on the Villans to finish in the bottom three, available to new customers who sign up for a bwin account, would return £575.
One man who thinks McLeish will repay the faith invested in him by his new employers is Sir Alex Ferguson, who managed Big Eck at Aberdeen.
While Ferguson acknowledges the need to listen to fans, he believes the appointment is the right one when considered dispassionately.
“At the end of the day what will count is this: Can he do the job for Villa? It doesn’t matter whether there are 50 against him or 500 against him or five against him because the experience and the ability he has got, believe me, he will prove that he can do the job. And that’s what it’s all about,” the United manager said.
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