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Aston Villa Appoint Alex McLeish As Manager

Alex McLeish is the new manager of Aston Villa Football Club.

This morning’s appointment is a significant achievement for the Scot who previously managed a host of different Scottish clubs, most notably Rangers, and then headed south to Birmingham where he managed City from 2007 to 2011 culminating in a League Cup trophy but eventual relegation for his Blues side. Now, however, he’s one of the most hated men in Birmingham after leaving City in the lurch and heading to cross-town rivals Aston Villa. And, not surprisingly, very few Villa fans want the Bluenose as the new gaffer at Villa Park. But it’s too late now.

Taking a big step back, I wanted to review the winning percentages of McLeish compared to some of his rivals for this past season:

  • At Birmingham City, his winning percentage from 2007 through 2011 was 36.9%
  • Gerard Houllier, the boss formerly in McLeish’s spot at Villa, had a winning percentage of 39% during the 2010-11 season
  • Wigan’s Roberto Martinez has only been able to maintain a winning percentage of 26.44% since the 2009 season
  • Mark Hughes, while at Fulham last season, had a winning percentage of 32.56%

While McLeish’s record holds pretty strong against other managers listed above, it’s not as impressive when you look at specifically the 2010-11 season. During that season, his winning percentage was 21.05% (8 wins from 38 games).

Personally, I think McLeish at least deserves a chance as Aston Villa boss to prove many of his critics wrong. My biggest concern is that he’s going to turn Aston Villa’s playing style into a dour version of what we saw from him at Birmingham City. I’m doubtful, but I hope that McLeish can piece together his team to be more mentally stable in defense but can still have the blistering pace up front with Gabriel Agbonlahor as well as getting the most out of Stewart Downing, Marc Albrighton and others.

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  1. Tom Hatton

    June 21, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    Just a quick one. The majority of Blues fans don’t really care that he’s gone to Villa in terms of us losing his ability, it’s the manner in which he’s done it. A majority percentage of Blues fans wanted him gone. That’s why we haven’t been daubing bed sheets or raving outside our ground, I don’t like how we’re being included in the idiocy of Aston Villa fans.

  2. pete

    June 18, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Most owners who buy clubs are super rich and don’t intend to make money out the club, they are more of a hobby, a social symbol, a play thing.
    American owners are different, they buy them with the specific idea of making a lot of money, fans don’t want that, they want owners like Chelsea have and City have, owners who throw millions at the club and don’t care about losing it

  3. David

    June 17, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Dzelkovic wrote: “Is your point that they are bad owners because they are American?”
    Yes, partly. Because we’ve seen this before with the American owners at Liverpool. None of these Americans understand/understood what soccer means to the fans of an EPL team. They treat soccer like they treat a sports team here in the USA. They are totally different animals. Fans are loyal to a tee when it comes to supporting a soccer team. That is not the case in the US.

    Anyone who thinks that McLeish is going to be successful at Villa with the squad they have now is delusional. When the fans are against the manager it doesn’t bode well for him to have a grip on his players. Players will not respect or listen to him as much knowing that any dispute between player and manager will have the fans on the side of the player. We’ve seen this play out in the EPL too many times. That’s why this was such a bone-headed move. It’s not as if McLeish is Mourinho or Ferguson that will command instant respect from the players or fans.

    • Dzelkovic

      June 17, 2011 at 6:34 pm

      I don’t think you can compare te Liverpool situation with anything else. That’s just hindering the potential buyers and your chances of being successful don’t go up at all just because of your opinion of American team sports.

      If you have ever been in Boston or New York, then you would know that your assumptions of American sports fans are untrue completely. Die hard Yankee fans and die hard patriot fans are everywhere in their respecting cities.

      And your judgement of American fans also has nothing to do with the ability of the Americans appointed to Liverpool or Villa.

  4. Stacy Richardson

    June 17, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    Apparently if you’re a Premier League manager, the way to a better gig is to get your club relegated . . . twice.

  5. daveG

    June 17, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    …and they ran this offer over 3 days!!! 3 free pints!!!
    I miss the papers from home ;(

    • Guy

      June 17, 2011 at 1:15 pm

      Damn Brits have everything. 😉

  6. Dzelkovic

    June 17, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Is it a bad thing that i cared more about the free pint than the main title story?

    • Guy

      June 17, 2011 at 1:14 pm

      There was some other title than “FREE PINT”?

  7. Guy

    June 17, 2011 at 11:51 am

    I am having a hard time cutting out my token for the free pint.

  8. David

    June 17, 2011 at 10:13 am

    Once again another American owner in England just doen’t get it. How on earth can Lerner do this is shocking. He obviously does not think highly of his own supporters. I can see him being forced out just as Hicks and Gillette were from Liverpool. Lerner is not a very smart man as he has not learned from what happened in Liverpool. You should never upset your fanbase so strongly.

    I see sad times for Villa.

    • Dzelkovic

      June 17, 2011 at 12:40 pm

      Is your point that they are bad owners because they are American?

      Or that they are bad owners because they are bad owners?

      The fanbase is upset at the same things. maybe they should give the man a chance first instead of deciding so quickly. Doing so will probably hurt the impact he could have ever achieved if you had accepted the change.

      The American president is a good example of the same thing. No one will ever think he is any good no matter how much good he really does. Because they have already made their decision about him before he even started.

      I may be party of one, but i do not see sad times for Villa. I instead see a time for a change, and i will give the man a proper chance before i make a choice either way.

      • omakbob

        June 17, 2011 at 1:13 pm

        I think its just acute frustration.

        Within three weeks, talk went from bringing in Carlo Ancelotti to eventually hiring McLeish. Its a bit like being told “Hey, we’re going to Le Bernardin” then ending up at Bubba’s Crab Shack (not only does Bubba go out of business every 2 years, he’s also the guy you end up fighting every time you see him).

        McLeish may be successful, but you gotta admit, better appointments could have been made (Rijkaard or Jol, imho).

  9. Frank

    June 17, 2011 at 10:07 am

    Mr Lerner just does not understand the passion of supporters in England. it’s OK to hire a manager of your bitter rivals in US sports but it’s not OK to do so in the UK. The one constant in any sport is that the supporters will always be there regardless of who owns the club. So Mr Lerner may sell the club at some point but the supporters will still be there.

    There isn’t that much loyalty in the US as it relates to sport franchises. Lots of teams just uproot and move in an instant. You don’t get that in the UK. There is a different mindset in the US as opposed to the UK when it comes to team sports.

    Maybe this move was done to show Villa’s intent. They are no longer going to be fighting for Europe hence they have become a selling club selling their biggest stars. This will be a test of neves for both Mcleish and Lerner. As soon as results go sour the pressure on both by supporters will be huge.

    • Lyle

      June 18, 2011 at 10:52 am

      American fans don’t leave the club with the owner changes hands either. They just hope the new coach succeeds.

      English fans are some of the least intelligent sports fans in the world. It’s like they’re each part of a cro-magnon tribe or something. Liverpool fans live in caves and draw pictures on their cave walls in fact.

  10. Taylor

    June 17, 2011 at 10:04 am


    If you take 23 victories in the Championship season, then his winning percentage dropped significantly to 23%.

  11. Dillon

    June 17, 2011 at 9:55 am

    I wonder if their opinions change if he wins the first game of the season.

  12. DGS

    June 17, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Man, how come US papers don’t come with free pints?

    As for Villa…seeing as how most of their talented mids seem destined to be sold this summer, I can see McLeish’s ugly football taking hold quite quickly. Ugh…

  13. Jason

    June 17, 2011 at 8:37 am

    Aston Villa for relegation!

  14. SJ

    June 17, 2011 at 7:55 am

    I am amazed that a person of Mr Lerner’s vast business experience has chosen to ignore the public’s wishes. Where is the business sense in alienating your customer base. Personally I do not care if Mr Mcleish hailed from Birmingham, Botswana or Betelgeuse, his record is simply not good enough to warrant his appointment.
    His past dreary style of football is not what I want to see and I would like to ask Mr Lerner / the Villa Board if, as supposedly honourable men, they are prepared to offer a full refund to anyone that has already purchased a Season Ticket

    • omakbob

      June 17, 2011 at 11:31 am

      Well, you have to remember that Mr. Lerner made his bones in credit cards – an industry famous for the apathy they show towards their clients.

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