Villa boss is winning over the doubters

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Alex McLeish has taken another huge step towards appeasing his new club's sceptical fans and being accepted into the buxom of the Aston Villa family.

Unsurprisingly, the appointment as manager of the former Birmingham boss wasn't well received on the claret and blue side of the Second City.

McLeish was undeterred though and, concerned by a lack of total support at St Andrew's, picked up the reins at Villa Park in the knowledge that he wouldn't be well received.

However, an impressive inaugural press conference as the new Villa boss, during which he ticked all the right boxes, began to win over some of the doubters.

And yesterday, McLeish made the inspired decision to have a 'showdown' with a selection of the fan groups who have been most vocal in opposing his appointment. Shrewd move.


The Scot invited half a dozen supporters to the club's training ground, and spoke to them at length about his plans, and listened to any issues the group wanted to put to him in a meeting lasting more than an hour.

Jonathan Fear, editor of the Vital Villa fans' website, said: "Alex McLeish wanted to be open and honest and hear from people potentially against him. He wanted to see if he could get a chance to show what he can do and it was a good, positive, open meeting.

"Some people might look at this as a cynical PR exercise but Alex McLeish wanted to meet some of the fans and put his points across and listen to what people had to say. I don't think anyone walked out afterwards with long faces. He asked for the meeting and he is going to ask for more fans' forums.”

Fear believes McLeish, who resigned as Birmingham boss 11 days ago, deserves credit for facing up to supporters. He added: "Alex could have hidden away and it would have been easier not to front up to things - as some previous managers have done.

"I was impressed with what he said at his press conference when confirmed as manager. People I've spoken to who know him said he is a straightforward, decent guy who deserves a chance. Let everyone give the manager the chance to show what he can do. He deserves that."

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Premier League
Aston Villa

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