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McLeish Tactics & Transfers

McLeish Tactics & Transfers

Villan Of The North says:

Let me start this post by stating that I do not think McLeish is a good manager, however, this may not be for the same reasons that most other rate him as poor.

AMC gets regularly criticised for his tactics and his transfer dealings. Well let's look at these one at a time:-


Players out of position: All managers play players 'out of position' from time to time, they do this for many reasons which often remain unknown by us, the fans. It drives me nuts too but without knowing the whole story it's difficult to single one manager out for this when even SAF, with the enviable resources at his command, has been known to do this on occasion.

Hoof ball: I am reliably informed that AMC can often bee seen/heard shouting at the players to push up the pitch and pass the ball, quite the opposite, in fact, of the shouts from John Robertson when he was sitting next to MON in our dugout.

Grab a lead and then defend like crazy: I refer to my previous comment, AMC tells the players to push up the field and pass the ball, they just don't do it.


So far in his career it's difficult to judge him at the level that he is now expected to operate, he's never really had any money to spend, however, this needs to be addressed so look at his record in the English Premier League (my knowledge does not extend well to the SPL)

Villa:He's brought in N'Zogbia, Janus (loan), Given and Hutton.

N'Zogbia has been a mixed signing, very welcome by most fans and most thought we'd got a bargain but it seems he's not quite settled as yet. He might yet come good, there are glimpses from time to time but as of this moment he would have to be classed as a reasonable if unspectacular acquisition.

Janus was a revelation........for the 5 minutes that his was fit and there in lies the problem, we all knew that he could play a bit but we also all suspected that it was only a matter of time before we would lose him to injury, sadly this happened sooner rather than later. Overall a poor signing, not based on quality but based on what he has been able to offer us. It might have been a master stroke but the risk did not pay off on this one, especially if it's true that we are still paying for his wages and medical expences.

Given, superb! What more can I say, one of the leagues best keepers and at a bargain price too.

Hutton has not been terribly impressive, he looks clumsy in the tackle and gets pulled out of position far to often, then again, he has looked useful in attack at times, the problem being that we don't attack we as a unit in general this season. Maybe in a better attacking line-up he's look better but for our purposes I think we can classify this transfer a a poor one.

So, overall, I think we can say that his acquisitions have been average to good, certainly not generally poor.



Joe Hart=on loan from City
Ben Foster= from manure for 6m


Scott Dann= from Coventry for 3.5m
Roger Johnson= from Cardif for 5m
Stephen Carr= free transfer
Curtis Davies= from Aston Villa for 2.5m
Martin Jiranek=from Spartak Moscow for undisclosed fee
Gregory Vignal=from Lens for undisclosed fee
Ulises De La Cruz=free transfer
Giovanny Espinoza=from Barcelona S C for undisclosed fee
David Murphy=from Hibernian for 1.5m


Lee Bowyer=from West Ham for Free
Barry Ferguson=from Rangers for 1m
Craig Gardner=from Aston Villa for 3m
Enric Valles=from NAC Breda for undisclosed fee
Lee Carsley=from Everton for free
David Bentley=from Spurs on loan
Alex Hleb=from Barcelona on loan


James McFadden=from Everton for 4.7m
Kevin Phillips=from West Brom for Free
Marcus Bent=from Charlton for 1m
Christian Benitez=from Santos Laguna for 8.5m
Nikola Zigic=from Valencia for 6m
Mauro Zarate=from Vélez Sársfield on loan
Obafemi Martins=from Ruben Kazan on loan
Matt Derybshire=from Olympiacos on loan

Now I'm not a follower of our second city colleagues, not even to the extent of concerning myself with their position in the table, I'm no hater, more disinterested, they don't effect me at all unless we are playing them. That all said, looking at the above list, there are some pretty interesting names mentioned. OK so we are not talking household superstar names but we are not talking household super star budget either. There are a few names on that list that would interest many a Premier League club and Aston Villa would be no exception to this.

So to return to my original premise, Alex McLeish is not, in my opinion a poor manager regards his tactic, nor is he a poor manager in regards his transfer dealings. So if I don't think he's a good manager just what is it that makes him poor, why did he get relegated with the Blues twice in three seasons and why are we struggling so much under his stewardship? I think it's because we have failed to address what makes the difference between a knowledgeable pundit and a good manager. Alan Hansen, Gary Linker, Andy Gray, Ray Wilkins and many more I could mention have all played the game at the top level, are all knowledgeable and are all passionate about the game of football but none of them have anything like a distinguished career in football management. So what makes a pundit into a manager? It's simple really, leadership!

Alex McLeish has shown by his inability to inspire the fans, at either Premiership club that he has been charged with, to supporting him. He has certainly failed to inspire the players at Aston Villa to follow him as evidenced by the players ignoring his instructions to push up the field and pass. Put quite simple, the players don't trust him to do his job, their confidence in him is lacking and the same goes for the fans.

In my job I have to have both knowledge and leadership capabilities, the knowledge I need I have learned much of since being employed here but, if after a year or so of accruing this knowledge, I did not display the ability to lead my people it would be suggested that perhaps I was not suited to the position that I am in. I'm thankful to say that, so far, this is not the case. Sadly the same can not be said of Alex McLeish, he is lacking an essential capability to be successful in his job and as such he should be made to find a job better befitting his abilities, coaching perhaps but not football management!

McLeish forum thread: Click Here

{Sorry, my mistake, put it as Voice, should be Villan Of The North JF}

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Date:Friday April 20 2012
Time: 7:03PM


{Sorry, my mistake, put it as Voice, should be Villan Of The North JF}
The Fear
20/04/2012 19:13:00
Put Mystic Mug in charge of the team!
20/04/2012 20:10:00
VotN -- I skim read your piece and agree with the general sentiment. Disagree with you though about Lineker and Hansen etc. Most of these so-called 'pundits' and 'experts' at the BBC get paid a fortune in License Fee money for stating the bleeding obvious. They are also heavaly biased towards the North West and the Capital (no suprise there). Lawro, Martin Keown and Lee Dixon are OK. Jeff Stelling and most of the fella's at GSS are much more professional and knowledgable. BBC football coverage is a joke.
20/04/2012 20:19:00
VWRA I take your point about the pundits but my point still stands, perhaps I could have chosen other examples but the fact remains that it takes more to be a manager than knowledge and passion.
villan of the north
20/04/2012 20:28:00
votn -- Agreed. Keegan had the passion and AVB the knowledge but it didn't get either of them an EPL title. Man management, being a good leader (as you noted) and a host of other factors are also important.
20/04/2012 20:33:00
Nice article. Don't even get me started on MOTD! Villa have been a sidenote mention on that programme for as long as I can remember, ans it's only when we play the big boys that we start getting panned. McLeish has signed decent players in the past, his only problem seems to be keeping them fit and keeping them attacking. As much as I don't want another managerial change at our club, if what you're saying is true then it doesn't really work if the players are actively disobeying the manager during matches. I'd say (because it is pretty likely he'll be here next season) that McLeish needs to either adapt his approach to the players or it'll be another season of instructions falling on deaf ears. Still think Grant should be axed in place of K-Mac and Sid.
20/04/2012 20:38:00
I have also seen with my own eyes McLeish shouting and gesturing to players to keep the ball, pass the ball and push up and it always made me wonder.
Stephen Jay Hawkings
20/04/2012 20:55:00
Eh? You say N'zog has done nothing, Jenas has been injured, Given has been ok (I question him apart from his shot-stopping and Hutton has been awful, yet you say AM's signings have been average to good? You're joking, yes? I'd say poor to average at best. I just hope the supposed rumour you've heard about AM being gone is more reliable than your assessment of AM's signings, VOTH.
20/04/2012 21:12:00
mmlozza - you've touched on something I've thought for a long time. No one outside the Midlands really gets our part of the world. The Mancs think they're it and are the real second city, the scousers think they are fab and witty scallies, the Geordies think they are the lads but they all recognise each other as having football cred. They are all united in despising the poncey southern softies but still seem to recognize their football cred. They all think they have some sort of social and football soul. Then we come to Birmingham and the Midlands in general. We are dull, boring, unimaginative and anonymous. Anyone remember Auf Wiedersehen Pet. We were portrayed by Barry. I know how everyone feels about AMc being the face of Villa but with the above image, we can't get anyone let alone anyone better.
20/04/2012 21:17:00
I think you have missed a vital point here VOTN, I cn't say this is fact as I have no inside knowledge but its fairly obvious that his training methods don't work, our inability to attack was always going to happen as he is a defensive manager no matter how much he tries to bull***** us that he's not, but with our inability to attack also comes an inability to defend and I believe this is because of the rigid system he has in place where if you have a player that drifts in and out of positions (silva, rooney, arteta and a number of other players) nobody follows them as they are concentrating so much on keeping their shape which is good for most teams but when you come up against a team with players like I have mentioned somebody shoould be given the job to man mark him, and last its obvious the set piece training is non existant or quite simply *****e, i have heard a few times that him and grant are shouting at them to pass and move higher up the pitch but i find this hard to believe as none of the players bother to do either which again is either down to lack of practice in training or the players just don't respect him enough to listen, either way he should be sacked, the simple fact is that he is not good enough to be a prem manager for villa or any team weather we are right or wrong about what the problem is with his management his record speaks for itself!
20/04/2012 21:19:00
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