Fan's eye view: Boring, drab, playing for a draw. Alex McLeish had no defence at Aston Villa

Had McLeish given us a style that was at least a little easy on the eye, he could have survived

One of the less offensive jokes about our manager at Villa Park this season asked: What will Alex McLeish do when the fans, press and players turn against him? Play for a draw.

Granted, it wasn't the funniest joke either, but what made it stand out was its depressing realism – Villa fans do depressing well, if not always realism, as the names being bandied around to replace McLeish show. This was a manager who brought on Nathan Baker, a defender, to replace Stephen Warnock, a defender playing in midfield, at Norwich on Sunday to protect a 2-0 deficit. We never liked McLeish, but we liked even less the style of play he forced upon us, and that's largely the point.

While it is true that any former Birmingham City manager's honeymoon period would end the moment he walked out of Randy Lerner's office with a three-year contract (three years!), it is unfair to say McLeish was never given a chance – we did not want him but in the main we respected the board's appointment and did not protest. Why undermine the team when the manager can do it perfectly well himself?

We don't expect Barcelona's football, nor even Swansea's, but had McLeish given us a style that was at least a little easy on the eye he could have survived. We have just been muddling through.

The players, too, have looked out of sorts all season. In McLeish's defence, he has had to slash a sky-high wage bill, but there is no excuse for Gabby Agbonlahor not having scored in the league since Bonfire Night, or Marc Albrighton going backwards since his fireworks of the previous season.

This is a manager whose Birmingham City team's results nosedived after winning the Carling Cup, all the way to relegation – that can only be bad management. And we employed him, presumably because we wouldn't have to pay relocation expenses.

So where do Lerner and Paul Faulkner, the chief executive, turn next? Lerner has credit in the bank: he has spent, and if he wants to rein it in that's his prerogative. Faulkner, a driver of the McLeish deal, has less. Last year's manager chase was an embarrassment as Tom, Dick, Harry, Roberto Martinez and more turned us down. The Wigan manager is in the frame again, but we are not the "big European club" Dave Whelan talks about his protégé going to. Some fans want Brendan Rodgers but he is on to a good thing at Swansea, and the idea that David Moyes will swap one fading old institution for another is silly.

We'd take Paul Lambert, though – a motivator and organiser, shades of Martin O'Neill. Surely he was romanced by our fans serenading him under his Carrow Road window on Sunday?

A name cited by one of our less realistic fans on the forums: our much-loved former defender Martin Laursen, now manager of BK Sollerod Vedbaek in the Danish Second Division East. It's about the standard Villa would have been, had McLeish seen out that three-year contract. Depressingly.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future