Simonbigron looks at the McLeish myths..
Since the Bolton defeat, Villa have attracted almost as much media attention as Chelsea. In scrutinising this coverage I have discovered 4 myths that have raised their ugly heads more than once.
They need challenging.
Villa fan's only don't like McLeish because of his Blues links.
I hear this all the time; often by quite notable Villa journalists and fans. James Nursey is still barking up this particular tree in his latest article in the Mirror. 'McLeish's Birmingham links ARE a problem because he has received less goodwill, support and backing from fans than any other new manager from elsewhere would have got.'
Nonsense. Football fan's reactions to a manager are directly related to matters on the pitch. Had we appointed any manager with a questionable record they would have been treated with caution until they had proved themselves. The prosecution calls Alan Pardew to the stands…
Even the most recent example is a testament to how wrong Nursey is. The Villa fans weren't brimming with goodwill for Houllier (and he had a good record!) until his unfortunate hospitalisation.
God forbid anything like this happen to McLeish, but I imagine if it did there would be similar good will shown - because Villa fans aren't psychopaths. Their feelings of anger and dislike towards McLeish are logical. Had he come in to post and got decent results out of our relatively unchallenging opening fixtures, rather than the meagre two wins from 11, this season would have been very different. Blues connections or not, McLeish would have had the 'goodwill, support and backing from fans' had he got the results.
Need more proof? Go back and check my pre-season interview to find out how naively supportive I was about his appointment.
McLeish possesses a capable managerial CV
Nursey again. But I have heard this on Talksport every day this week. It is false and there have been better articles written on VV about this than I am capable of writing.
In summary though: two relegations with Birmingham, finishing 3rd in two horse race with Rangers in Scotland, relegation with Hibernian, two relegation battles with Motherwell… It is just abysmal.
One League Cup win doth not a good managerial CV make. Just ask Juande Ramos.
But come on, McLeish got Rangers to a UEFA cup final?
The amount of times I have heard this from people paid huge sums to give their 'expert' opinion on football…
NO HE DID NOT. That was Walter Smith. Idiots.
Who else could Villa have got last summer?
Colours to the mast: I love Stan Collymore. What I don't love is his constant stressing that there weren't any other managers available this time last year.
It's rubbish. The idea that there were no better managers in the whole of world football than AM just shows what a terrible example of groupthink this appointment was.
The problem is that whoever does the 'scouting' for candidates didn't have a bloody clue what to look for and how to look for it. As usual with Villa, our scouting network seems permanently tied to this country, nay, the Midlands. Part of scouting is seeking potential and not buying into media-manufactured hype. Given this, had someone been willing to take a gamble, these managers would have come to Villa; all of them I believe would have done better than McLeish:
Brendan Rogers, Chris Houghton, Tony Pulis, Alan Pardew (yes! We still looked a better prospect that the recently promoted Toon this time last year), Paul Lambert, Ian Holloway, Martin Jol, Roy Hodgson, Mark Hughes (even though I hate him, I don't think he would have only attained 36 points)…
AND of course, Martin O'Neill. Who was available had Randy and co (who I now blame entirely for the mess we are in) eaten some humble pie and come up with a more reasonable alternative business strategy than: sell best players, cut wages, play kids, get relegated.
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