Aston Villa appoint Alex McLeish as manager

Aston Villa have confirmed the controversial appointment of former Birmingham boss Alex McLeish as their new manager.

McLeish makes the move across the city just five days after resigning from his post at St Andrew's.

Villa have held off fierce opposition from their own supporters and a bitter row with Blues to bring in the 52-year-old.

Villa this morning released a lengthy statement detailing the Scot's virtues and achievements, most notably the seven trophies he won in charge of Rangers, in an attempt to justify the decision to fans.

The most sceptical, however, will take more convincing after their opposition culminated with a protest at Villa Park on Wednesday.

McLeish himself accepts he will have to win the doubters over.

The Scot told the club's website, www.avfc.co.uk: "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."

Villa have not yet confirmed the length of McLeish's contract but have said he will commence duties immediately, underlining their confidence there are no lingering issues concerning Birmingham.

Blues, however, remain far from happy with the situation and are continuing to take legal advice.

The St Andrew's club accused their rivals of tapping up the former Scotland boss earlier this week and demanded £5.4million in compensation to cover the remaining two years of his broken contract.

They also threatened to report Villa to the Premier League and take out an injunction to block the move and, although neither was carried out, they insist the matter is not yet over.

A Birmingham statement read: "The fact that Alex McLeish has been appointed as manager of Aston Villa does not, in any way, mean that 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.

"As the club is currently enforcing its legal right with Mr McLeish the matter is in the hands of our lawyers and it is therefore not appropriate for the club to make any further comment at this stage.

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

Villa, who switched their attention to McLeish after being snubbed by Wigan's Roberto Martinez last week, started speaking to McLeish this week on the understanding he was a free agent.

McLeish becomes Villa's third full-time manager in nine months and the club need him to restore stability after a difficult season.

Martin O'Neill resigned just five days before the 2010-11 campaign began and his successor Gerard Houllier made a number of PR gaffes and got involved in a relegation battle before leaving after a health scare.

The appointment ends a long-running saga which has seen several names linked with the position.

Villa chief executive Paul Faulkner said: "We believe we have appointed the right man for the job.

"Unquestionably, Alex meets the criteria we set out at the beginning of our search which was based on proven Premier League experience, leadership, a hard-working ethic and, most importantly, a shared vision for Aston Villa."

McLeish had been in charge at Birmingham since 2007 and won the Carling Cup last season before seeing the campaign end in relegation.

He began his managerial career with Motherwell in 1994 before his spells in charge of Hibernian, Rangers, Scotland and Birmingham.

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

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss