Aston Villa - Open Letter From Alex McLeish To ST Holders
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Open Letter From Alex McLeish To ST Holders

An open letter from Alex McLeish to the Villa season ticket holders.

Must admit, I'd prefer this sort of communication than no communication but I'm sure for many it will be ripped apart!

So here goes:

Dear Me!

I am writing firstly to thank you for your continuing, invaluable support of this great Football Club. I understand that investing in a season ticket is a big commitment, especially in these challenging financial times, and I wanted you to know that myself, the playing squad and all of the other staff at Aston Villa really do appreciate your contribution to working for success.

press conference

It is now just over six months since I received and was delighted to accept the offer from Randy Lerner to become manager of Villa. Of course I was well aware that my appointment would be controversial and I recognise that in many ways it was a courageous decision by the Chairman to give me this opportunity. Although I knew that some of the Villa fans would find it difficult to accept me given my previous managerial position, I did not have a moment's hesitation in accepting the chance to manage a club with such an illustrious history and with such tremendous potential as Aston Villa.

hand to mouth calling

I can't pretend that the first half of the season has not been without its setbacks and disappointments, all of which have been felt as intensely by myself and the players as I know they have been by Villa`s fans. Having had a relatively short pre-season to get to know and work with the players, I was reasonably satisfied with the start we made. As you know, the team went unbeaten in the first seven games in the Barclays Premier League and I felt we were unfortunate not to secure more than two wins during that period. Since then our form has fluctuated frustratingly with some very good performances away at Bolton, Stoke and, of course, Chelsea but more disappointing displays at home to Manchester United, Liverpool and, in particular, Swansea.

mcleish and grant

So the mid-term report for myself and the team should perhaps read, "Satisfactory progress, can do better." Certainly, I think that would be a fair and balanced assessment. For a Premier League club we have a relatively inexperienced first team squad overall but what we lack in experience, I believe, is at least partially compensated for by the quality of our senior players and the potential of the younger players. It is a tribute to Villa`s superb Academy and a source of pride within the club that we have produced such players as Ciaran, Chris, Marc and Barry and I believe there will be more to come.

McLeish clapping

Our aim is to create players in the mould of the top players we have seen and appreciated at this club over many years and we will also add more quality when the opportunities are there. I am convinced that we have every reason to be optimistic going into the second half of the season. We have a squad with a blend of very experienced international players combined with the exciting potential of the club`s home-grown youngsters. In this transfer window we have added to the squad young Enda Stevens, whom we signed from Shamrock Rovers, and Robbie Keane on a two-months loan from LA Galaxy. Enda is 21 years old, he has experience already of playing in the Europa League and he has potential. Robbie is at the peak of his football playing knowledge, he has leadership qualities which will make him valuable not only on the pitch but also in our dressing room and he has great movement which can hurt opposition defences and create opportunities for himself and others in our team. I am confident therefore that in the coming months my coaching staff and I can continue to work with these players to help them deliver performances and results that Villa fans will enjoy and feel proud of.

scratching head

I know that some people have sought to perpetuate a myth that I am a naturally defensively-minded manager. However, this is a case of certain people not letting the facts get in the way of a good story. Having played in an Aberdeen team that got used to winning trophies regularly - including the European Cup Winners Cup - and having steered Glasgow Rangers to seven trophies in three seasons, I can assure you that my appetite for attacking, winning football is second to none. I am aware that the myth about me being defensively-minded has concerned some Villa fans who rightly relish seeing their team playing fluent, attacking football. However, please be assured that I share your desire to see Villa play dynamic, exciting football which entertains whilst, of course, securing the results we all want.


I make no apology for declaring that I am an ambitious person with an unquenchable desire for success. That ambition took me from Motherwell and Hibs to Glasgow Rangers followed by a successful period as Scotland boss. I came to the Premier League to compete in the best league in the world and the opportunity to become manager of one of the best clubs in the league in Aston Villa represents one of the greatest honours in my career so far.

We all know that football is an unpredictable business but I would like to think that my time here as manager will be a long and rewarding one. I can guarantee my total commitment to working tirelessly to bring as much success as possible to Aston Villa.

Finally, I thank you again for your dedication to this club and I wish you a very Happy New Year. Let`s work together to ensure that 2012 becomes a year full of wonderful memories for Aston Villa and for you, Villa fans.


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The Journalist

Writer: AVFC Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday January 12 2012

Time: 11:07AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Is this from the forthcoming Everton programme? I don't see a lot 'wrong' with it, but I do disagree when he says he is not a defensive minded manager.
Class of 82
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12/01/2012 11:13:00

'My appetite for attacking football is second to none' ?????? Come off it !
Report Abuse
12/01/2012 11:23:00

Results and performances are the only thing that will save him - and the FA Cup! Fair play for trying to engage though.
jake findlay
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12/01/2012 11:31:00

Dear Alex, Stop playing 451. Thanks, Rosie.
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12/01/2012 11:47:00

Fair play to him ........ to be fair we have started to see glimpses of good play from Ireland, Nzogbia etc.... and some nice link up play recently. We have a long way to go and I am more interested about the summer than now, there are 4 or five players that need to go now and get the silly wages gone. With Beye and Warnock removed we would gain £80+k a week for a start, that would cover a top midfielder. Dunne has to go too, past his best now. I still find it hard to think he is the best manager we could get in, but he is highly thought of by players and other managers. He is here to stay. Lets support the team on the pitch for the rest of this campaign, they are going to need us. VTID
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12/01/2012 11:54:00

Good letter, and good communication from the club. Looking forward to Sat, Wolves Away sold out. Not all bad
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12/01/2012 11:59:00

awww. bless him... 3 points on Saturday please Alex.
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12/01/2012 12:14:00

He has to win on Saturday, has to. It is action on the pitch where he'll (and the team) will be judged. Good letter, now he has to back it up, not convinced he has thus far and to say he isn't defensive when you look at what he did at Spurs is a bit strange really.
The Fear
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12/01/2012 12:17:00

Can we get free stuff? :)
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12/01/2012 12:18:00

He continues to talk a good game and I'm sure it's all true. The big question is whether he can actually get us playing attractive football. I believe that he wants us to do it, but has he got the ability as a manger to deliver it?
Report Abuse
12/01/2012 12:25:00

My only question is will the board back him when Beye,Heskey etc depart in the summer or will it be a case of we need to control the wages and therefore cant afford to sign anyone. Dont doubt the mans good intentions full marks for communication but its results that matter and style of football they can be "talked up" but achievement is something else.
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12/01/2012 12:37:00

Said it before, he comes across as a really decent bloke and says the right things. It's just a shame the perfomances don't follow. I blame the senior player just as much as Alex though. Only time will tell.
Report Abuse
12/01/2012 12:42:00

Fair play to him... like many have said above though... Not defensive??? why set your team up, if you can call it that, in such a negative manner then and why do none of our players know how to string an attacking move together?? ...
Report Abuse
12/01/2012 12:48:00

from the club, to be fair the staff are always very keen to help:

: Just to clarify the email was only sent to season ticket holders. If any of your members are current season ticket holders and did not receive the email, then we either don’t have an email address registered for them or have they have previously unsubscribed from emails from the club. If this is the case, and any season ticket holder wants to register their email address with the club then they can simply call Consumer Sales on 0800 612 0970 and we will update their contact details.
The Fear
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12/01/2012 12:54:00

Good letter, except to say the verdict on the season so far is "satisfactory" in any way is a bit wide of the mark. Everton is a crunch game. Last year they absolutely paralised us at Villa Park, yet we squeaked a jammy 1 0 win. We need the performance and the result this time.
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12/01/2012 13:00:00

Good positive communication, but i'm with Fear - results are what count, and as for being attack-minded, have they forgotten the tottenham performance? I've never ever seen a team set out to fail so badly - and such a dire negative performance. We deserved a 4-0 thumping that day...
Report Abuse
12/01/2012 13:27:00

I don't believe he has written this himself. There are too many big words in it for him
Report Abuse
12/01/2012 13:29:00

Great communication from Villa Park, much appreciated amongst fans!!!!!
Report Abuse
12/01/2012 13:34:00

'Satisfactory progress, can do better'.......can he?
Report Abuse
12/01/2012 13:38:00

hope so juddy, in fact I'd LOVE IT if he can. I do think he has his hands tied behind his back if he isn't given teh funds to build his own team, that doesnt' seem fair and he's therefore caught between a rock (the fans) and a hard place (the board if they aren't willing to back him) BLOOOOOOODY Villa!
He is a decent bloke, the personal hatred of him by some is a bit of a shame, BUT I totally understand the hatred of the football we've seen this season, it has been gash and it makes it impossible to defend him really.
The Fear
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12/01/2012 13:53:00

people think this email was good? I read it this morning and cringed, sad, pathetic, desperate all came to mind stangely good didn't
Report Abuse
12/01/2012 14:01:00

The only time we've played attractive football recently is under Houllier, if people think we did under MON then they have short memories !! and this is basically MON's team without Carew, Young and Milner............. they have to learn to get it to Ireland, Nzogbia and Albrighton from the back/center of the park. The defence is used to hoofing it up to the wings/edge of area. Warnock/Collins/Dunne cannot play the ball to feet which is why Houllier wanted them gone. I hope McLeish realises this and sorts it in the summer.UTV
Report Abuse
12/01/2012 14:40:00

............. and before everyone harps on about three sixth place finishes blah blah blah, look where Spurs are with less spend and wages over a shorter period.
Report Abuse
12/01/2012 14:42:00

I don't think this guy will ever be the right fit for Villa, there's just too much baggage now.
Report Abuse
12/01/2012 14:48:00

This is great and I praise him for doing it. However as many have said he needs to back it up or it has a touch of the Steve Keans about it. I noticed with Kean that if you here his interviews it bares no resemblance at all to what has or will happen on the pitch. You cant play attacking 4-5-1. Gabby is not a winger and him and Bent have actually played well in a 4-4-2! Keane gives us more depth. However I dont think we can critisize Alex, like we did Houllier and like many did MON towards the end. Our back 4 are not good enough to keep clean sheets without a 5 man midfield and I think he knows it. We all know that all 4 of our 1st choice hve 2 big mistakes in them per game that will lead to a goalscoring chance, I have no idea how you sort that as they are all great players when they dont lose that 1% edge / concentration
Chelt Villan
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12/01/2012 14:49:00

Cannot believe people thought that this was good?????? It's all talk and that's all Eck seems to ever do!!! He made several trademark Eckscuses as to why we haven't won the Champs league yet this year and brown nosed Randy. He did a couple of "we all know" trying to praise the reader as if they are as intelligent as him and we're in this together type thing. We get so much American TV these days that I think that people's brain cells have disappeared. If people are really taken in that easily by him, I can see why Randy appointed him but seriously guys. IT's JUST TALK. As others have said, he seems like a nice guy and I'm sure he is BUT, is he good enough to manage The Villa. NEVER.
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12/01/2012 15:28:00

I keep hearing about this great football we played under Houllier ? was I watching another team at the time or something we were losing games left right and centre were in a relegation battle and were rescued by a 24 million pound signing and Houlliers Houllier was ill. sorry didnt see this as great football not that I thought MONs or Big Ecks is any better.
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12/01/2012 15:51:00

The man talks pure *****e, his appetite for attacking football is second to none? thats too stupid to even be funny, he might have an appetite for it like the rest of us but the problem is he doesn't have the skills neccessary to play attacking football, we never set up passing triangles, there is no movement off the ball, passing through midfield and absoloutly no penatration, the players cannot be completly void of blame but ultimitly its down to the managers tatics and frankly the tatics are utter crap and its not just us ficle fans that think this as all the pundits seem to agree, I feel we have no choice but to put up with it for this year and hope we are stil in the prem next year but I honestly can't imagine another year with this idiot in charge...
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12/01/2012 15:58:00

And Merlin yes you must have been watching another team as under Houllier we played very good football the best I have ever seen us play although I am only young, the results were bad no doubt but that was down to players not being capable of playing proper football or just didn't want to, I can honestly say even though results might have been worse last season I still enjoyed watching Villa and thought we stood a chance of winning every game where as now I am BORED watching every game and think at best we can get a draw, I think that says it all really...
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12/01/2012 16:05:00

I think it's a great gesture from Eck personally, and with our financial restrictions and selling our top players for years WHOEVER took over Villa was going to struggle thats why we couldn't attract a manager with a bigger reputation in the game, in glimpses Eck has proved he Can get his teams playing attacking football so whilst he is building HIS team whilst looking to offload the clusy collins hopefully dunne heskey and warnock can follow in the summer i will back him as Villa manager and i respect his letter he has sent to fans as i wish Randy would be so communitive as he!
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12/01/2012 16:23:00

Sorry Kerry, got to agree with Merlin mate. Under Houllier the 2 foot passes looked great but there was NO end product. Football is about scoring goals ( NOT making sure you don't concede any McLeish you puppet who can't even write letters yourself and blatantly needed a spin doctor.) We had so much possesion but it was pointless and worthless. As Merlin says, it was only when GH was in hospital that we played well which he can't take any credit for. I did like MON's football however unlike most. When it was time to atrtack we moved the ball quickly and purposely (not all of it was hoof ahem!!) and when it was time to defend we did so in numbers and very well but always knew how to turn the defence into attack unlike Eck.
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12/01/2012 16:44:00

I really do think there is an exageration of this latest craze about playing pretty football like arsenal have done for years, tell me under any of our past managers Villa have even came close to emulating this? football is about results as Villan444 quite clearly points out as we all know, but with the players Mcleish had to take on when he became manager plus the players sold in the summer, what chance has he really had to get this squad which is small full of kids and our midfield is poor? I will guarentee in the summer at the very least Mcleish will adress the midfield area and defence which has not been good enough for a long time now, i see fans blaming MoN, GH and now Mcleish? face facts our players at villa are not like arsenals, so this fancy pants passing which is constantly being drooled over makes me laugh, it aint going to happan as Villa have never played like that, there has been no difference to the way we played under Eck than GH look at the arsenal performance it proves Mcleish wants us to play football but if he don't have the players to consistantly perform what is he supposed to do in 6 months without the financies MoN had? im afraid some villans need to realise out current financial situation the players we have are not good enough to entertain the way some think.
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12/01/2012 17:10:00

At least we are getting some communication from Villa Park. Under Houllier the football was bad but this season is far worse. Thought we were turning a corner against Arsenal where we were (dare I say it) entertained and unlucky to get nothing out of it. Wouldn't bother playing Bent as we need 11 players on the pitch who can contribute something.
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12/01/2012 17:24:00

Why not blame the players? today in football a manager loses x amount of games and he is bad or if the players are being inconsistent as Villa have been dating back to the last 3 months of Mo'Neils reign as manager then GH and now Mcleish? when will the penny drop that we have sold almost all of our BETTER players, Barry, Milner, ASH and realise the only reason we had Dunne Collins were because Citeh Manuire Chelski didnt want them, i wonder why?> hmmmm
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12/01/2012 17:56:00

Walsall. They are telling us what we want to hear FFS. Come on, don't fall for it. Agree about Bent though. Clive, MON has turned up at Sunderland with NO pre-season and nearly got as many wins as Eck did in 5 months. We need to face facts. MON is a ******** good manager. Eck is a nice guy but not a good manager. Randy signed him because he's a nice guy. Should not even come into the reckoning unless he's an axe murderer. Saying that, an axe murderer would probably be more popular than him ( Oh until he sends out a letter which was blatantly spun by a doctor and everyone bends over again and takes it!!!!) Fickle doesn't even begin to explain it gents!!!!
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12/01/2012 18:49:00

I can agree 444 there might have been a lot of poinless passing under GH but there were signs of us growing as a club unlike now when we seem like we are dropping at an incredible rate and sorry clive but i never went against GH or MON but this guy I just have to, sure he doesn't have the rescources available to MON and GH but who do you even think any decent would want to play for this guy? and 444 it is incredible how people believe all this crap do they actually believe he wrote it? I have no doubt some of his ideas are there but nothing would ever be sent out without being spun by someone else, and have ye all forgotten about his interview at the start of the season (not playing Gabby on the wing, dropping players not performing, playing ATTACKING football) all broken promises so why believe him now? and he might TRY and play attacking football but the problem is he CAN'T, I was prepared to give him a chance but he had his chance and he failed.
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12/01/2012 20:27:00

It's got ***** all to do with the blues why we hate you it's because you are a ***** manager, simple as, your results reflect my argument.
Green Villan
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12/01/2012 21:31:00

Well Kerry 444 and all the others that are as frustrated as i am with Villa's current plight, we are stuck with him for a while i think,the only reason he got the job was no other bigger name manager would take the job knowing the financial restrictions Randolph is running villa on to get the wages to turnover in line, thats why i feel sorry for him, of course i wanted a better manager, i want to see villa stop selling its better players but that aint going to happan either, to me IMO Eck couldn't turn down the job offer, and randy knew no other top rated manager was going to come here so he panicked as he did when we signed bent last jan, we have sold our best midfielders, dunne collins and warnock are a liabilty so i dont blame him for our fall as at this same stage last season we were in the bottom 3 on 21 points, so far this season we are 7 points off relegation same games played to this time last year, Eck inherited a lot of this thin poor squad, and he signed playersthat would come to villa and we could afford, n'zogbia, given and jenas lets be honest were not bad signings at the time in the summer he made them considering our finacial restraints, UTV.
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12/01/2012 22:35:00

Up the Villa. Let's get three points on Saturday. Going with my Dad. Can't wait.
Report Abuse
12/01/2012 23:00:00

If I wrote an account of my performance in my job, it would highlight my ambition and my successes, however McIdiot has no successes so he can't, so he relies on his stated ambition to play great football. ***** off *****. Play the attacking football and see if the results come, can't be much worse than this crap.
Report Abuse
12/01/2012 23:24:00

Good letter. Timely.
Report Abuse
13/01/2012 04:19:00

Sorry Alex, I don't think your a bad guy but that doesn't mean your right for our club. I know you haven't got it easy with the lack of help from Randy but the squad is good enough to be playing much much better football. This season has been the poorest in my memory and 27 years as a Villan. I like many never wanted you here and never will. I know the Villa will be back one day because we are the Villa but this just isn't right mate and I think deep down you know it. It's not weak to leave, I think it's strong if you know it's right.
Report Abuse
13/01/2012 07:44:00

He's having a laugh, isn't he. Surely? What is it that we've been watching for about 90% of the season if it's not negative football. The man's a dick, and by writing letters like this, he's treating fans like dicks too. The sooner he gets mauled by a shark the better.
Report Abuse
15/01/2012 19:36:00

He talks about his record with Aberdeen as a player and then his record as a manager with Rangers and Scotland but then fails to talk about his record at Small Heath. He says he is not a defensive minded manager, but some people do not want facts to get in the way of a good story!!! Is this pratt for real?? Let me tell you some facts Mr Mcleish. You took somebody elses Rangers team to success in Scotlands annual two horse race. After four years of building your own team you managed to take Rangers to third place in the annual two horse race. THIRD FFS!!! And the Rangers fans chased you out of town. You took over as Sotland boss and actually did OK results wise, most memorably when you beat France 1 - 0) when you defended for 90 minutes and scored with your only effort on goal (the fact this was a speculative 30 yard shot following a big hoof from the keeper tells the true story). Then to Small Heath. A relegation, promotion, relegation along with a flukey League Cup win is the sum total of your managerial career. You say you want dynamic football, but it can't be every other teams fault that our games are the most boring in the League. Stoke, Manure, Bolton in the cup, Swansea, Wolves, WBA, Spuds, Abudabi Citeh, Redscouse, Bluescouse yesterday, Newcastle, QPR (their fans were singing boring boring Villa) are all mind numbingly rubbish performances that we have endured. You are not the man. You never have been and never will be. You are not wanted. Will never be accepted and look likely to be the only manager in Brum history to relegate both clubs in consecutive seasons. Please do the honorable thing, tear up your contract and walk away. You are going to feel very uncomfortable as the protests start at the next home game and they will only get worse.
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15/01/2012 23:36:00


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