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Alex McLeish breaks his silence after being forced out at Villa: The end was brutal, a real mental drain... I needed to get out

Alex McLeish breaks his silence after being forced out at Villa: The end was brutal, a real mental drain... I needed to get out | bcfc | Scoop.it
t was the morning after the night before at Aston Villa’s training ground. Chief executive Paul Faulkner, bruised by a 2-0 defeat at Norwich on the final day of last season, was waiting in an office.
Alex McLeish walked in.
‘I’ll prepare a dossier on what we need to do this summer as quickly as I can,’ said the club’s manager.
But McLeish sensed immediately that a dossier wouldn’t be needed.

At ease: Alex McLeish is able to relax after a difficult few years in management
‘It’s not going to happen, is it?’ McLeish said, taking a look at his boss’s face. ‘You don’t have to say it.’
The two shared a brief conversation. The Scot left the room and spent the next hour shaking the hand of every member of staff at the training ground, thanking them for their support. Minutes later, he drove away from Aston Villa for the last time.
And so the most controversial managerial switch for decades between Birmingham’s two clubs came to an end.
Sitting where he is now, it is difficult to imagine that here is a man capable of sparking riotous scenes. McLeish is relaxed, refreshed and has shed a few pounds, helped by regular sessions with a personal trainer.
It seems a lifetime since hundreds of Villa fans besieged their famous stadium, demanding that owner Randy Lerner reverse his decision to take Birmingham City’s manager and install him at Villa Park. In fact, it is 15 months.

Making their feelings clear: Aston Villa fans show off a banner wanting McLeish out
The new manager was unwanted, while at St Andrew’s, the hurt was palpable. Despite the joy of a Carling Cup victory, the club’s season had imploded, ending in relegation from the Premier League.
That McLeish walked out was one thing. Joining Villa was seen as rubbing salt in the wound. Not since Ron Saunders made the trip in the opposite direction 31 years earlier had so much tension broke out.
McLeish led Birmingham to their first major trophy in 48 years, but when he left, a royal blue flag was manufactured. It bore his face, and, beneath the image, the words
‘Judas ginger rat’.
‘I really wanted to build a dynasty at Birmingham,’ insists McLeish. ‘I could have been at that club for 10 years if I’d been allowed more control. I heard David Moyes talking about his time at Everton and the fact that he is able to make so many of the footballing decisions. That sounds like utopia to me.
‘There are some top people at Birmingham. The gang behind the scenes. It was a crying shame we couldn’t build that club up because most of the ingredients were there.

Finding it tough: McLeish watches on as Villa struggle
‘In the season prior to the Carling Cup victory we finished ninth. I had a list of targets and had we signed them I’m sure I wouldn’t be sitting here with you now. Bobby Zamora was one, Mousa Dembele another. The Dembele one was gut- wrenching. Fulham moved quicker than we did. The wages were no better, the commission was.
‘Winning the Carling Cup against Arsenal goes down as my best achievement, either as a player or manager. Then we were relegated. Talk about high to low. It hit me hard.
‘I know you get what you deserve in football but I genuinely felt it was unfair. Injuries had conspired against us. Other things transpired. Sadly, I have to keep them to myself but I’d have left anyway.
‘I had to leave, regardless. My job at Birmingham had become untenable.I got letters from some fans after I moved. Some were angry, others were heartfelt, asking, ‘‘How could you do this to us? You’re like a rat leaving a sinking ship’’. I felt dreadful. But my family knew what the job was doing to me. My wife Jill saw it in my eyes every night.’

Then came a call from Villa Park. It was a lifeline. McLeish had lived on the fringes of Birmingham, and in Glasgow had been in the goldfish bowl as manager of Rangers. In terms of size, the two cities are comparable. Was he naive enough to think such a switch would not rouse similar passions?
‘I knew there’d be a furore,’ he says. ‘But perhaps not to that level. I don’t think it was until I was in situ at Villa that I started to appreciate the depth of feeling. In a professional sense, I had moved from managing a club I had never supported, to another club I had never supported.
‘I never thought it would be so intense at Villa. But, just as I’d done at Rangers, I thought, ‘‘I can turn these fans round. If I get this side moving, they’ll take to me”. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t change my habits. I knew I had upset people.’
Because of that McLeish tried to avoid any potential confrontation. ‘No-one ever came up to me saying, ‘‘You ginger Judas’’, but I never put myself in that position,’ he says.

Happier days: Alex McLeish celebrates beating Arsenal with Birmingham to lift the League Cup
‘Maybe it was because people were on their own. If they’d been in a group, I’d have been savaged. I never frequented the places I had when I was Birmingham manager.
‘I didn’t go into the city. I had great pals at two of the best restaurants in Birmingham, huge Birmingham City supporters. I stopped going there.’
It would be wrong to write that Villa supporters never gave McLeish a chance. But their perception of the quality of player at the Scot’s disposal was misguided. But his position was undermined, at least partially, by the quality of his signings. While Shay Given had a solid campaign, Alan Hutton and Charles N’Zogbia were disappointing.
McLeish adds: ‘Randy Lerner had asked me to work on a project. He said, ‘‘We want you to work with the club, rather than at the club. We must drive wages down while remaining competitive’’. But when you lose the likes of John Carew, Ashley Young, Stewart Downing, Gareth Barry, James Milner ... the quality Villa had out on the pitch was diminishing. It was going to be a tough ask. It was a rebuilding job.

Time to reflect: McLeish has been out of football since the summer
‘I understand, given what happened towards the end of last season, that it was difficult for me to stay. But no-one is able to complete a project of that size in 12 months. I was confident I knew what was needed. There were big changes in my mind ahead of this season. We needed players. An influx of quality. It’s no secret, if you bring in a better quality of player, you produce an improvement in results.
‘I’d spent a season building up the internal infrastructure at the club. I signed Brett Holman. He has started the season like a house on fire. I was desperate to sign Gylfi Sigurdsson in the January window but it didn’t come off. As for this suggestion I’m a negative manager, it’s utter tosh.
'The way it all ended, it was difficult for me to go any further. The last day at Norwich was brutal. I knew I needed to be out of the job. It had become a mental drain towards the end.’
Interview over, McLeish retreats from the sunshine into the sanctuary of the restaurant.
An Aston Villa season ticket holder comes over and gives him a hug. It seems he has been forgiven in some quarters. But McLeish won’t be forgotten. Not in Birmingham.
Not for a long time.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2209617/Alex-McLeish-discusses-difficult-years-Birmingham-Aston-Villa.html#ixzz27nvnoXGW
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

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Blues Trust: Get involved, join now!

Blues Trust: Get involved, join now! | bcfc | Scoop.it

The Birmingham City Supporters’ Trust has been set up as a non-profit organisation with the intention to ‘secure representation and influence’ within the club.

 

“We are just a group of fans who love the Blues and want to have more influence in the way our club is run, Whilst we believe that the Blues board, Chairman and employees should be allowed to run the club without interference, we also believe that as temporary custodians of the club they have a responsibility to engage with fans in an equal, mutually beneficial partnership."

 

“Our aim is simple: to build a bridge between the supporters and owners of BCFC to push the club forward on and off the pitch.”

 

Now registered with the Financial Services Authority, the Trust is welcoming members (£5 per annum for over 16s, juniors free).

 

To join the Blues Trust, click here: http://www.bluestrust.org/join/

 

 

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Butland seals Stoke deal

Butland seals Stoke deal | bcfc | Scoop.it
Goalkeeper Jack Butland has completed a move to Barclays Premier League outfit Stoke City on a four-and-a-half year deal for an undisclosed fee.
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Butland snubs Chelsea switch after Birmingham accept £3m offer for England stopper

Butland snubs Chelsea switch after Birmingham accept £3m offer for England stopper | bcfc | Scoop.it
Birmingham goalkeeper Jack Butland has rejected the chance to join Chelsea. The England international was given permission to talk to the European champions.
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Blues Trust makes second appeal to Peter Pannu to answer Birmingham City fans' concerns

Blues Trust makes second appeal to Peter Pannu to answer Birmingham City fans' concerns | bcfc | Scoop.it
Supporters' group disappointed that club's acting chairman has not responded to questions
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Soccer dream over for Hong Kong businessmen Carson Yeung and Balram Chainrai

Soccer dream over for Hong Kong businessmen Carson Yeung and Balram Chainrai | bcfc | Scoop.it
How two Hong Kong businessmen took over English clubs - and saw their quest for glory in world's top league fall flat
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Birmingham striker Nikola Zigic rejects offer from Villarreal

Birmingham striker Nikola Zigic rejects offer from Villarreal | bcfc | Scoop.it
Nikola Zigics agent has ruled out a move to Villarreal after insisting the striker has no plans to leave Birmingham City during the January transfer window.
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Birmingham City: Peter Pannu paid out £430,000 in 'pocket expenses' to Hong Kong staff

Birmingham City: Peter Pannu paid out £430,000 in 'pocket expenses' to Hong Kong staff | bcfc | Scoop.it
Stock Exchange expert calls payments from Blues director's own £687k remuneration 
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Insane. 

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Transfers: Liverpool, Everton, Southampton and Fulham target Jack Butland will stay at Birmingham unless he is his new club's first choice keeper

Transfers: Liverpool, Everton, Southampton and Fulham target Jack Butland will stay at Birmingham unless he is his new club's first choice keeper | bcfc | Scoop.it
The young England keeper will stay and play for Blues despite their desire to sell him to ease financial woes - and interest from a string of Prem clubs
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Blues Trust responds to Birmingham City's latest accounts | Blues Trust - Putting The Fans First

Blues Trust responds to Birmingham City's latest accounts | Blues Trust - Putting The Fans First | bcfc | Scoop.it
Blues Trust has issued a statement in relation to the publication of Birmingham City's latest accounts for the period to 30th June 2012.
WUB's insight:

Following the publication of Birmingham City’s latest accounts yesterday, Blues Trust has sought expert advice in order to conduct a full analysis of the published results.

 

The accounts, released for the period to 30th June 2012, have again highlighted the parlous state the club finds itself in financially. The accounts also re-confirm many fans’ fears in that further players will need to be sold in order to maintain the future short term stability of the club............

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Accounts Analysis | Often Partisan

WUB's insight:

Birmingham City FC released their accounts yesterday which showed a profit of £15.7million after player transfers. There was an operating loss of £3.988mil without transfers on a turnover of £39mil.

 

Having thought about it for a while, I have decided it would be better rather than to give an accountancy analysis which is complex and difficult for the layman to understand I will break down the figures to make it easier for people to see why Blues are in the difficulties that they are suffering......

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Gianni Paladini's consortium table £30million bid to buy Birmingham City from Carson Yeung - Telegraph

Gianni Paladini's consortium table £30million bid to buy Birmingham City from Carson Yeung - Telegraph | bcfc | Scoop.it
Gianni Paladini’s consortium has made an improved offer of around £30 million for Birmingham City and is confident of completing a deal before the end of the year.
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West Ham midfielder Ravel Morrison in more trouble as Lee Clark and Birmingham look to end loan spell early - Telegraph

West Ham midfielder Ravel Morrison in more trouble as Lee Clark and Birmingham look to end loan spell early  - Telegraph | bcfc | Scoop.it

Clark, the Birmingham manager, is already losing patience with the controversial midfielder and is keen to strike a deal with Sam Allardyce and cut his loan move short in January.
Morrison, 19, joined the Championship club on loan in August but has frustrated Clark with his general attitude and alleged lack of commitment in training. The former Manchester United trainee has not been included in Birmingham’s first-team squad for the last three matches and has made only one start in the league.
Clark cannot send the teenager back to West Ham until the transfer window reopens next year but will still require Allardyce’s permission to terminate the deal.
If Allardyce refuses, Birmingham could have Morrison on their books until June. Morrison’s behaviour is also believed to have infuriated senior members of Birmingham’s squad.
Morrison’s problems at St. Andrew’s are the latest in a long list of acrimonious episodes ever since he broke through United’s youth academy and was touted as one of the country’s most prodigious young talents.

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Birmingham City WILL be sold - and four groups are interested

Birmingham City WILL be sold - and four groups are interested | bcfc | Scoop.it
IT is now a case of not if, but when Birmingham City FC is sold.

Peter Pannu is back in Hong Kong and in active talks with interested parties.

 

Pannu, the club and potential new owners are all bound by confidentiality agreements so there is no word from St Andrew’s or elsewhere about the developments.

 

And neither are the identities of potential new owners known. But is it understood there are at least three groups seriously keen, as well as Gianni Paladini’s consortium, who are still hovering on the scene.

 

Read More http://www.birminghammail.net/birmingham-sport/birmingham-city-fc/birmingham-city-fc-news/2012/10/09/birmingham-city-will-be-sold-and-four-groups-are-interested-97319-31992729/#ixzz28kScZYU9

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Wes raring to go

Wes raring to go | bcfc | Scoop.it
Wes Thomas has admitted that Lee Clark was a big reason for him opting to make a deadline day move to Blues.
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Wesley Thomas 12 Second Goal.....

Wesley Thomas 12 Second Goal from kick off. AFC Bournemouth Vs Colchester United 2011/12. The game ended AFC Bournemouth 1 Colchester United 1. Follow me on ...
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Senior players can leave Blues

Senior players can leave Blues | bcfc | Scoop.it
Birmingham City confirm they are open to offers for any of their first-team players as they battle financial problems.
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Birmingham tell Marlon King and number of players to try and find new club

Birmingham tell Marlon King and number of players to try and find new club | bcfc | Scoop.it
Sky Sports understands that Marlon King is one of a host of Birminghams players told they can find new clubs, due to Blues financial situation.
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The beautiful game embodies everything that's bad about Britain

The beautiful game embodies everything that's bad about Britain | bcfc | Scoop.it
Will Hutton: Unlike Germany's thriving Bundesliga, the Premier League is run for the super-rich, not fans
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Directors axed from Birmingham City FC parent company BIHL

Directors axed from Birmingham City FC parent company BIHL | bcfc | Scoop.it
BIHL pair Lee Yiu Tung and Zhou Han Ping disqualified from office in Hong Kong
WUB's insight:

Strange. 

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Peter Pannu says Carson Yeung's arrest caused the financial problems at Birmingham City

Peter Pannu says Carson Yeung's arrest caused the financial problems at Birmingham City | bcfc | Scoop.it
Acting chairman defends decisions made to keep Birmingham City in business
WUB's insight:

‘‘Your attacks on owners and directors does not and will not help the sale of the club. Bear that in mind too as evidenced by the last minute refusal to come in by the last interested party.’’ What a ridiculas statement. 

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Birmingham City supporters turn on club over £14m debt to owner Yeung

Birmingham City supporters turn on club over £14m debt to owner Yeung | bcfc | Scoop.it
Birmingham City's accounts also reveal an unnamed director is being paid £687,611, while Carson Yeung awaits trial for money-laundering
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Birmingham City are in the black but players will still have to be sold

Birmingham City are in the black but players will still have to be sold | bcfc | Scoop.it
Birmingham City are in the black but players will still have to be sold
WUB's insight:

Player sales are still required to keep Birmingham City operating as a going concern.

 

The football club plc have published their accounts to the year end June 2012, encompassing Blues’ first season back in the Championship after relegation.

 

They showed a £15.7 million profit due to player sales and a huge reduction in turnover, down from £61.4 million of Premier League level to £39 million.

And Blues’ operating loss for 2012 was £4 million.

 

The sale of the likes of Roger Johnson, Craig Gardner, Scott Dann, Cameron Jerome, Barry Ferguson, Liam Ridgewell and Jean Beausejour ensured the healthy profit.

 

And Blues slashed their wage bill from £45 million to £25 million as other high earners like Kevin Phillips, Lee Bowyer, Martin Jiranek and Sebastian Larsson were released and loaned players Obafemi Martins, David Bentley, Aleksandr Hleb and Matt Derbyshire were not re-engaged.

But it doesn’t mean Blues are out of the financial woods yet – far from it......

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Birmingham City paid more to Xtep than they received in kit supply deal

Birmingham City paid more to Xtep than they received in kit supply deal | bcfc | Scoop.it
Marketing payments and refunds after relegation left Birmingham City out of pocket with Chinese firm
WUB's insight:

Birmingham City's controversial deal with kit supplier Xtep saw the club paying MORE to the firm to market the strips in the Far East than they received in the supply deal, accounts have revealed.

 

Blues allegedly paid the company the equivalent of £800,000 for advertisements and promotions during the 2011/12 season.

It has been reported that the deal, valued at £7.2million over five years, was seen as the start of a plan to market Birmingham City in China and to create a huge new revenue stream.

 

But the new club accounts show the payments from Xtep were reduced by 50 per cent when Blues were relegated from the Premier League.

And in a second ‘unannounced’ controversial contract signed in Hong Kong, former Blues’ directors, including Vico Hui, agreed to return about £800,000 a year to the supplier for marketing.

 

It is believed the clause resulted in the football club paying more to Xtep than it received in the original kit supply deal.

The Chinese sportswear firm was eventually dumped by Blues last summer after just two years following a host of problems.

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NoNonsenseFootball.com – The truth about football news and gossip

NoNonsenseFootball.com – The truth about football news and gossip | bcfc | Scoop.it
Breaking football news, the real truth behind the latest football gossip, your chance to Be the Pundit and have your say in our live forum...
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BIH Announces Possible Sale to HKSE | Often Partisan

Birmingham International Holdings have announced in the last hour that two parties have signed non-disclosure agreements to explore the possibility of buying Birmingham City FC.

 

The announcement, which was signed by BIH CEO Peter Pannu states that the parties have been furnished with due diligence information and that as yet no binding agreements have been entered into.

 

This is the first concrete announcement from the holding company that the club is anywhere near close to a sale and represents a hope that something can happen in the next few months. Any sale would require shareholder approval and would need a further announcement to the stock exchange.

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Loan swoop for Hurst

Loan swoop for Hurst | bcfc | Scoop.it
Blues have signed West Bromwich Albion right-back James Hurst on a one-month youth loan deal.

 

The 20-year-old defender will further boost Lee Clark's injury-hit defensive ranks and is included in the travelling party for tomorrow's npower Championship fixture at Cardiff City.

Sutton Coldfield-born Hurst came through the ranks at the Baggies before joining Portsmouth in 2008. After a loan spell with Icelandic outfit IBV, Hurst left Pompey to rejoin West Brom in the summer of 2010.

 

The England youth international, capped up to under-20 level, has since enjoyed loan spells at Blackpool, Shrewsbury Town and Chesterfield, helping the latter win the Johnstone's Paint Trophy at Wembley last season.

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