Thursday, June 8, 2023

McLeish undoes the good done by Martinez

Happier times a few months ago

The other day I wrote about the loyalty shown by Roberto Martinez to Wigan when he turned down the chance of joining Aston Villa and opted to sign a new extended contract for his club.


Martinez knew that at any time over the past couple of seasons he could have been sacked. Wigan have been struggling near the foot of the table and have had some horrendous results such as the 9-1 thrashing at Tottenham. His chairman stuck with him and now he has returned that loyalty and stayed with them.

I said that the decision of Martinez restored faith in football. Unfortunately, a few days later we have the case of Alex McLeish!


The Birmingham owners backed McLeish with £40 million and kept him in his job despite leading them to relegation from the Premier League for the second time. They made the not unreasonable statement that he had to lead them back into it again next season. I would say that was a very generous stance to be taken by them.

McLeish then had a discussion with the owners and told them what players he wanted to bring in for the Championship campaign. They backed him again and set about trying to get those players.


The next thing the Birmingham owners knew was the receipt of an e-mail from their manager telling them he was resigning.

I am very aware that we are currently only hearing one side of the story but you have to say that on the face of it, Birmingham have every right to feel let down and cheated by their manager who still had two years of an extended contract to run.


It may of course be that in the fullness of time Alex McLeish will be able to give his side of the story and he will not look like quite so much of a baddy, but at the moment he doesn’t come out of this with much credit.

It seems that Aston Villa have made an approach for McLeish and Birmingham will be holding out for compensation. They are at present refusing to accept their manager’s resignation and are understandably indignant about how things have panned out.


It seems inconceivable that McLeish was unaware of Villa’s interest in him before he sent that e-mail. That fact may well be difficult to prove however. One can only hope that if the deal does eventually go ahead that Aston Villa and McLeish do the right thing.

If McLeish does make the move across the city of Birmingham to Aston Villa he will achieve the difficult the distinction of being equally disliked by the fans of both clubs as pressure groups at Villa are doing all they can to stop the appointment of the man who managed their hated neighbours.

If Roberto Martinez restored the faith in football I’m afraid this whole episode has the opposite effect.


Graham Fisher



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