Speaking about the approach from Aston Villa acting Birmingham chairman Peter Pannu was adamant that ‘It will cost you as he’s still our manager as far as we are concerned’
This means the next few days could be an interesting power tussle between two clubs that already share a bitter rivalry that will no doubt be fanned by the current state of affairs.
In the days where sacked managers are entitled to hansom payoffs, this should work both ways should a manager wish to leave to further his career.
The last few days have seen McLeish and Aston Villa attempting to take a short cut and renege on the deal he signed in good faith and this should not be allowed.
This stand by Birmingham is entirely justified with McLeish still under contract at St Andrews, if Birmingham were willing to retain McLeish then they have the right to retain him unless another club makes a formal approach and pays the appropriate compensation.
With his cards firmly on the table, McLeish may be in an akward position if the Aston Villa move does not materialise. If this happens and he feels his position is untenable then he should be allowed to leave, but made to complete a reasonable period of gardening leave before taking another job.
Ultimately if McLeish wants to join Aston Villa or any other suitor then he will be able to, however this must be on terms that are agreable to both him and his soon to be former club.