Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Villa fans don’t hate Alex McLeish. They hate themselves.

Andy Cole.

Carlos Tevez.

Luis Figo.

Now Alex McLeish.

All joined a rival club at one stage or another in their career.

All hated by the club they left.

All adorned by the club they joined.

Except for McLeish.

The scenes in Birmingham were slightly disjointed this week as all the protests took place outside Villa Park and not St. Andrews as history should suggest.

Birmingham City fans were not protesting that their manager had just left them for their nearest rivals.

And Aston Villa fans were not celebrating.

Quite the opposite in fact.

Alex McLeish is a good manager.

He is.

Success at Hibs led to success at Rangers and subsequently success at Scotland.

3 jobs done well.

Then Birmingham came along with a promotion and a Carling Cup win in just 2.5 years.

Not bad for a club of their size.

But then he got Birmingham relegated again.

Only two years ago, Villa fans were watching their side riding high in the Premier league with a promising young squad under the tutorship of the highly regarded Martin O’Neill.

Fast forward to this summer and a lot has changed.

Three different managers since then for starters.

Free-fall down the Premier League table.

Plus reports of more than one manager saying thanks but no thanks when offered the job of manager this summer.

Villa fans, having so recently tasted the highs of Premier League football, don’t want to admit to how far they’ve fallen.

No longer an enticing destination for managers the calibre of Ancelotti, Benitez, Moyes or even a Martinez but rather a place of reincarnation for a manager of Alex McLeish’s stature.

A good manager.

One who’ll steady the ship.

But not seen as one who could bring Villa back to where they were two years ago.

Or beyond.

Villa fans just see a manager who got their bitter rivals relegated.

But looks like they’ve got the best manager their club could attract.

For once, they don’t hate their rivals for stealing one of their assets.

But rather hate themselves for having to steal one of theirs...

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