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

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence