McLeish hopes to win over Villa fans

Alex McLeish insists his previous experiences when in charge of Rangers means he is thick-skinned enough to cope with the switch from Birmingham to Aston Villa.

McLeish's move has made him public enemy number one with some sections of Blues and Villa fans after his move across the city on a three-year contract.



There has even been speculation that McLeish's own safety could be at risk from some supporters.



But McLeish coped with the intense Rangers-Celtic rivalry in Glasgow and believes that will stand him in good stead for what lies ahead.



He said: "I've got to have thick skin. I managed Rangers. I got it in the neck from those fans up there at times and I came through that and I'll come through this.



"That experience doesn't make me absolutely totally used to it. No one can ever get used to it.



"But I am thick-skinned, I've had experience of it and that should stand me in good stead.



"I won't say it won't ever happen again but I've got to show the fans I can turn it around and hopefully the fans chanting against me coming here, will be chanting my name."



McLeish, who discussed the move "at length" with his family, admits he was "a little surprised" by the hostility but hopes it will not get out of hand.



He said: "I'm sure a few people wanted to punch me! At the same time, I can understand the passions and emotions of football.



"As long as it doesn't get out of control, then I can understand people's feelings.



"Have the passion but don't let it don't to extremes."



McLeish added: "Am I fazed by it? No. Have I had it before? Yes.



"Have I come out of it stronger? Yes, so I really look forward to the challenge of managing this fantastic football club."



McLeish is determined to win over the Villa fans but knows there will be more pressure on him to achieve positive results because of the nature of his move.



He said: "Maybe there is a bit more pressure on me from that point of view to get results.



"But, at the same time, it is the remit of every manager, in any job, about getting a good start, a fast start, and Martin Jol will be saying the same thing at Fulham.



"The message to the fans is let me prove myself and I'll win you over.



"It's not a case of proving them wrong because I want to go forward with the Villa fans.



"I want to prove to them that I am the man for this job."



McLeish would also have no qualms about returning to St. Andrew's to try to sign players if he thought they would enhance Villa.



He has already been linked with moves for keeper Ben Foster, defenders Roger Johnson and Scott Dann plus midfielder Barry Ferguson.



McLeish said: "I know there are many great Blues players there but the policy I've always maintained at any club I've ever been at is never to talk about any other club's players.



"I'm getting bombarded over the last couple of days with text messages from agents and clubs asking me about this player and that player, and would I want them.



"We are just going to assess things at the moment, look at the squad.



"If a Blues player was the right fit, I don't think it would put me off. If I thought a player could improve Aston Villa then why not?"



With Ashley Young set to join Manchester United, McLeish wants to keep hold of Stewart Downing who is being linked with a move to Liverpool.



He said: "I don't know if the Young deal is a fait accompli but I'll certainly be looking to try and keep Stewart (Downing)."



McLeish confirmed that Villa assistant manager Gary McAllister was leaving the club but Gordon Cowans was remaining as one of his first team coaches.

Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Sport
football
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

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk