Alex McLeish took a huge gamble when he became the first ever manager to move directly between bitter midlands rivals Birmingham City and Aston Villa. With just six league wins under his belt to date the Scotsman’s tenure does not sit well with a large percentage of the Villa faithful.
With attendances dropping as low as 32,000 of late, the Villa fans have let owner Randy Lerner know their feelings by staying away and hitting the American where it is sure to register, in his deep pockets.
Despite guiding Birmingham City to Carling Cup success last season, McLeish oversaw two relegation’s in his three and a half year reign at St.Andrews. Relegation is something most Villa fans are starting to worry about, having witnessed the sides goalless draw at Wigan on Saturday.
This is not a knee-jerk reaction to Saturday’s poor performance at The DW Stadium. It’s something that most people were dismissing until Saturday but the way Roberto Martinez’ Wigan side dominated proceedings is a real worry for the Villa fans.
Another major issue seems to be that several experienced players have been arguing with McLeish from the field of play. It may be one thing to have fans disagree with you but when the players start to turn on you it is another case altogether.
To compound that worry, injuries to some key players wont help the situation. Most notably losing centre half Richard Dunne to a long term shoulder injury and England striker Darren Bent is set for a scan on an ankle injury sustained against Wigan.
These injuries, a real lack of spark in front of goal (which will not be helped by Robbie Keane’s return to LA Galaxy) and an alarming amount of set-piece goals conceded will only strengthen the Holte Ender’s concerns.
Aston Villa travel to Blackburn on Saturday before facing home ties with Fulham and Bolton. With all four of these teams in and around the relegation dog fight Villa fans will be looking to take some points from winnable games to push them up the Premier League table. All this before a two week period including trips to Arsenal and Liverpool, with the visit of Chelsea in between.
With resources limited in the coming weeks McLeish will have to rely on many of the clubs Academy products that have been impressing in a run of form which has put the club at the top of the reserve standings. Kevin MacDonald, the man in charge of this young free flowing football team was many Villa fans preferred choice to take the Manager’s job before McLeish took over.
Many of these young men will have a huge future at Aston Villa, in particular young Austrian striker Andreas Weimann and England U-21 star Gary Gardner but if the majority of Villa fans are to get what they want, these two young men wont play too many games under McLeish’s management.