Embattled Manager Of The Week: Alex McLeish

Saturday’s limp 1-0 home defeat to Manchester United left Aston Villa fans staring bleakly into an abyss of mediocrity under Alex McLeish, not exactly a popular choice in the first place given that he not only managed local rivals Birmingham City but also got them relegated last season. Football Burp listens to the concerns of the Villa Park faithful, nods sympathetically and shoots an expectant glare at Randy Lerner…

Embattled Manager of the Week: Alex McLeish, Aston Villa.
McLeish... Neither the time nor the place (Image courtesy of Damien22)

Embattled Manager of the Week…

Alex McLeish, Aston Villa

Stands accused of…

“At the moment McLeish just seems to be trying to impose his system on the players he has which is foolish and simply isn’t working just as it didn’t work for Houllier. Sadly McLeish’s system is all about getting 10 men behind the ball and defending as a team which we really aren’t very good at and our teams strength is in the two up front who he has no idea how to get service to.” – TrentVilla, Villatalk.com

“McLeish has already been given 17m of his choosing and most of that was wasted on rubbish. It’ll just be another MON [Martin O’Neill] legacy full of average players who have an attitude problem if he was given any more money.” – OnlyOne, Villatalk.com

“McS**te is to blame. We have Heskey as a midfielder. Bent has fewest touches in the entire Premiership for a good reason. We have poor midfield made even poorer by our utter s**te curmudgeon manager. Sack McLeish pronto.” – NowDoINotLikeThat, Villatalk.com

“What I don’t understand is this unswerving loyalty to this manager just because he’s been appointed Villa manager. That’s just patronising and childish. Judge him on his actions, team selections, results, past results, style of play now and in the past. From his history how could anyone be surprised with his ultra negative tactics on Monday, the absolute worst style of football in this division. What evidence does anybody have that this will change? What has he done in the past to make us think that all of a sudden we are going to be playing anything near attractive football? This what we are getting now is his calling card. It breaks my heart, but in such a short space of time we have now earned ourselves a reputation for not only being mediocre but that we are also sh*t on the eye. You can all pretend to you are blue in the face that being loyal to AM equals being loyal to the Villa but that is bollocks.” – jamo, www.avillafan.com/forum

“Bent’s scored 143 PL goals doing what he does and playing how he plays. Its AM [McLeish] who should change his tactics to accommodate Bent…not the other way round. The way he plays has worked everywhere else.” – wiggyrichard, Villatalk.com

“This is the first time in my life I’ve really not been bothered about watching Villa games. I’ve always watched Match of the Day even when we’ve lost, even when we’ve lost heavily.. but now there are live games on TV and I find something better to do because I know it’s going to be another scrappy unentertaining game. And at the moment I haven’t even contemplated going to games this season, compared to always trying to go to 10 or so each previous season. The last 3 Villa games have been 3 of the worst I’ve ever seen. We rolled over and surrendered to Spurs before it started, Swansea (OK, unusual circumstances meant it was never gonna be a thriller..) was just void of any highlights, and Man Utd comfortably beat us without getting out of first gear. I can’t even recall a single really good chance for us in those 3 games. I want to support the team, through thick and thin – but in the entertainment industry how can you still continue to like something you’re not at all entertained by?” – Qwpzxjor1, Villatalk.com

In his defence…

“He built a side of lesser talents and got them to 9th in the PL, SHA’s [Small Heath Alliance, aka Birmingham City] highest finish in the league for over 50 years.” – Jon, Villatalk.com

“Can’t see the sense in attacking AM he has had his hands tied by lerner allowing the players to leave and pocketing the cash. YES AM is a cack manager who is defensive but nobody could do any better with the resources we apparently have what’s the point in spending out on another and nothing is going to get better until lerner either sells up, or gets investment I’d rather the latter but I’m getting the idea that he’s not interested anymore. People keep saying this is a transitional period and it is, but it’s going to be much longer than anyone thinks imo.” – Skyba, www.avillafan.com/forum

“Or we could sell Bent, and give the money to the manager to build his own side, something he has clearly not had the chance to do yet. Managers need to be given time to build and shape their own squad and team. McLeish has as yet had no such chance. If the owner both rates and backs the manager, that is what should happen. If the owner seeks to change the manager soon (again) it will be another sign of shockingly inept ownership. They’ve only just bought him in, and have not yet ‘backed’ him in any meaningful way. It is for these reasons that I’d be shocked if he goes anywhere anytime soon.” – Jon, Villatalk.com (what a trooper)

“We lost to Man City well most teams in the league will. We lost to Spurs who are playing some quality football and i reckon will challenge Man Utd for 2nd. We lost to West Brom due to a poor decision from the referee. He can not be blamed for these surely. What was he meant to do against Spurs? Go 4-3-3 and let VDV, Bale and Modric have a field day? We would have lost a lot more if people want him to gamble more and try take on the big boys. AM needs time to actually get his own group of players in. We all know he is a defensive manager and that will not change so everyone needs to accept it. I for one am fully behind AM and believe if the fans actually get behind the team he will be good for us but too many ‘fans’ want him to fail.” – ak47deol, www.avillafan.com/forum

So, how does Alex McLeish square up on the Embattled-o-Meter?

Unpopularity rating…


Derisive nicknames…

McS**te, McLeach, Big Feck

Estimated number of games left to save his job…

Until the end of the season, judging by Gerard Houllier’s reign.

Football Burp says…

As long ago as it seems now, McLeish won the League Cup with Birmingham as recently as February. He should have retired from football then and spent the rest of his days reaping plaudits and offering his services for weddings and student balls as a Lieutenant Horatio Caine lookalike. A golden opportunity that may never again present itself.

David Caruso
McLeish... Fights crime (Image courtesy of Alan Light)

McLeish: stick or twist? Have your say in the comments section below…