Want to know how to divide a city? Then ask Alex McLeish. The Scotsman has been unveiled as the new boss at Aston Villa, moving from arch nemesis Birmingham City.
The 52 year old left St Andrews last weekend, allegedly resigning via e-mail. And despite much anger from Villa fans, he has been named as Gerard Houllier’s successor.
McLeish took charge of Birmingham on 28th November 2007. In his first season he was unable to see his side avoid relegation. He did however guide them back to the top flight the following season. In his 168 games at St Andrews, he recorded 62 wins, 55 defeats and 51 draws. Arguably his greatest moment was seeing Birmingham crowned League Cup champions, after a surprise 2-1 victory over Arsenal. Birmingham were relegated from the Premier League on the final day of the season, and although he was assured his job was safe, McLeish decided to jump ship for fierce rivals Villa.
McLeish told the official Aston Villa website: “I am honoured to have this opportunity to manage a club with such a fantastic history as Aston Villa’s. The heritage, the history of success and the tradition of Aston Villa are compelling and irresistible. The challenge for me is to try to add my own chapter.
“Since first becoming a manager at Motherwell, my desire to succeed and my energy and drive have never waned. My objective is to impart that drive and will to win to the players and fans of Aston Villa.
“I know that some of our fans have voiced concerns and I can understand why. It will be up to me to convince you that I am the right man to drive the Club forward and I intend to give absolutely everything to prove that I can be a success at the Club.”
Meanwhile Birmingham City have vowed to ‘vigorously pursue’ their legal fight against McLeish, believing they are owed considerable compensation following his resignation. This could get messy!