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Big ‘Eck? Big Risk?

The latest instalment of Aston Villa Blog’s partnership with fellow fan site Aston Villa Life has been sent in by editor and guest blogger Matt Turvey and is based around the potential appointment of Alex McLeish and the potential ramifactions. UTV!

With Aston Villa having held an interview with Alex McLeish yesterday, the possible ramifications for the club and it’s fanbase are huge.  I’ve already seen on social media, in bars, at workplaces, and anywhere else that you care to mention that this move is a very contentious one.

You see, we’ve just had a poor season based on what was perceived by some as the appointment of a poor manager.  In comparison, the furore I’ve seen explode regarding McLeish makes the public view of Gerard Houllier’s appointment seem like the appointment of Jose Mourinho.  A lot of people aren’t happy.

To some extent, I can understand why people are upset.  It is a man who has managed a team that has been relegated.  A manager of a team that we aren’t the biggest fans of to say the least.  What does this say about Villa’s ambition?  What does it say about our transfer budget?  What exactly does it say about our chairman?

Let me answer those questions sequentially:

Villa’s ambition is a contentious issue anyway.  One can argue that some have a fairly self-inflated view of the expectations of the club. Some thought we were aiming for top four a few seasons ago, when it wasn’t really ever likely.  Hopefully seeing what happened last season might make fans realise we aren’t a top six side anymore.

Regarding our transfer budget, it is a case of wait and see.  We really can’t afford to not buy players, so I can’t see it being a problem.  With Ashley Young going, and Stewart Downing possibly following, that has to be at least £40m worth of transfer capital.  Factor into that the money I would hope that Randy would input into the club, and it means we probably have around £60m to play with.  £60m that needs to potentially go on at least 5, and if not 10, players who will be first team squad members.

As for Randy himself, well it looks like a dichotomy.  On one hand, it could illustrate the steely determination of a chairman and manager who are going to play through an invariable baptism of fire.  On the other, it shows a naive foolishness, a view that appears disrespectful of the fans, of a man either having his last roll of the dice or of a man who has lowered his expectations of the club’s ability.

Anyway, I digress from the main point which is that McLeish is going to be a divisive appointment if he does become the next Villa manager.  He is accused of playing defensive football, of buying low quality players, and of being relegated.  Countering that he was in charge of a team tipped for relegation, that attracted players of their level (and with players like Bentley and Martins arguably above their level), and of fighting a possibility that any Blues manager faces.

Blues are, in reality, a yo-yo club.  They were a yo-yo club before McLeish took over.  They will be a yo-yo club in years to come.  Getting relegated with Blues isn’t underachievement, it is the level they are at.

So if you must make a judgement of McLeish, base it on his whole career.  Believe it or not, the difference between him and Martin O’Neill isn’t as different as you might think.

I won’t be happy if he does get appointed, but I will support him because he will be the manager of Aston Villa Football Club.  To that end, I’m Villa till I die.



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