x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Aston Villa fans may rue outcry over McClaren more than McLeish

The Aston Villa fans are starting to regret protesting so vehemently at the news that the club's executives were to hold talks with Steve McClaren over their vacant manager's position.

Aston Villa fans will be regretting protesting so vehemently at the news that the club's executives were to hold talks with Steve McClaren over their vacant manager's position.

Had they known the club would then turn their attention to Alex McLeish, the manager until last week of fiercest rivals Birmingham City, they would probably have rolled out the red carpet and even held an umbrella up for McClaren, the former England manager, had the club not rudely cancelled his interview.

Quite why the owner, Randy Lerner, has risked incurring the wrath of the already restless faithful at Villa Park by appointing McLeish, only he will know.

McLeish has a mixed managerial record; winning the treble at Glasgow Rangers one season yet going trophyless the next. Promotion and winning the Carling Cup at Birmingham were book ended by relegation. Lerner should also think twice before allowing McLeish to spend any proceeds from the likely sale of Ashley Young, given that he squandered fees and wages on the likes of Obefemi Martins, Nikola Zigic and James McFadden.

McFadden was signed for nearly £6 million (Dh35.6m) in 2008 yet left on a free this week. A similar amount was invested in Zigic. He has scored just five goals in 25 appearances. McClaren, meanwhile, will continue his rehabilitation from his haunting experience as manager of England at Nottingham Forest. He should be applauded for broadening his horizons by working abroad for the past five seasons and showing that football's axis does not orbit just around England.