Alex McLeish’s Honeymoon Period Ends Before It Begins

When Mark Hughes walked out on the Fulham manager’s job – the popular narrative still holds that he did so the full expectation of being offered the managerial position at Aston Villa – it was, as has become abundantly clear since, as massive miscalculation. There were noises at the time that Villa called off talks with Hughes over the way that his departure from Craven Cottage was handled. What, then, is the difference between what Hughes did at Fulham with what Alex McLeish did at Birmingham City? It’s a question that Aston Villa supporters could be forgiven for having asked themselves this week, and the decision to appoint McLeish has threatened to become a decision that may well emphatically end Randy Lerner’s extended honeymoon period as the owner of the club. Any football club that has a large fan-base will inevitably have some that represent, shall we say, the extremes of opinion. The most populous Facebook page that has been opened on the subject of McLeish’s appointment has already acquired over 17,000 members. It would be easy to take the most extreme views on display – the cloth hanging outside Villa Park with “McLeish Not Wanted” written on the side of it will probably be more of the more enduring football images of an otherwise quiet summer, and to assume that these are representative of anything like the majority...

Read More