Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

McLeish Wrangle Is Going to Drag On

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

McLeish Wrangle Is Going to Drag On

Article excerpt

Byline: Andy Hampson

ASTON Villa may have concluded their protracted search for a new manager but the brouhaha over Alex McLeish's controversial appointment is set to rumble on.

McLeish himself accepts he must win over irate fans following his switch from arch-rivals Birmingham while his former club are set to continue their legal wrangling with Villa.

Supporters have voiced considerable opposition to McLeish since it became apparent he was a leading contender for the job but the former Scotland and Rangers boss is determined to prove doubters wrong.

McLeish - who could make Newcastle defender Danny Simpson his first signing - said: "I know 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 I can be a success."

Birmingham accused Villa of tapping up McLeish earlier this week and have demanded pounds 5.4million compensation to cover the remaining two years of a contract they believe he was induced to break.

Villa responded to Birmingham's claims by stating they understood McLeish to be a free agent.

Blues did not carry out threats to report Villa to the Premier League or take out an injunction to block the move, but insist the matter is not closed.

A statement read: "The fact that Alex McLeish has been appointed as manager of Aston Villa does not, in any way, mean the legal dispute is over and Birmingham City Football Club maintains its stance and shall vigorously pursue the matter.

"We are very disappointed with how the club and its fans have been treated by Mr McLeish, given the way we have supported him over the years and we are still looking into whether Aston Villa's conduct has been in line with Premier League rules.

"The club will continue its full efforts on recruiting a new manager and hope to make an appointment as soon as possible."

Birmingham had vowed to stand by their Carling Cup-winning manager McLeish despite their relegation from the Premier League last month.

McLeish had not been regarded as a contender for Villa until Wigan boss Roberto Martinez snubbed the midlands outfit last week. …

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