Do Aston Villa really want Eck McLeish?
With 10 minutes to go of the English Premier League season, Birmingham City were still out of the drop-zone but as results started slipping away from them, so did their place in the top flight of English football. The club may have picked up top-class silverware for the first time in many people’s lives with their League Cup win over Arsenal but relegation from the big league was a hammer blow. As the Birmingham fans despaired, the Wigan fans cheered and so did the Aston Villa fans, after all, this is what football is all about. The Villa fans may not have had much to cheer about during a poor season but there is always the time to celebrate the demise of a city rival.
Better to be lucky than good
A good bit of the Villa fans celebration turned on Alex McLeish, big Eck or the Cat in the Hat to some people. McLeish has now relegated Birmingham City again and that famous McLeish luck has ran out once again. In life, it is probably better to be lucky than good and this is something Eck has benefitted from. He was an incredibly lucky manager with Rangers, winning two titles at the death and stumbling into the last 16 of the Champions League thanks, in no small part, to a muddy pitch in Bratislava. When McLeish doesn’t have lady luck on his side, his teams are not at the races but when then have good fortune with them…well, you only have to recall the goal that won the League Cup final.
Eck is a top flight failure
It seems that McLeish’s luck is with him in the jobs market as well because not too many managers who relegate a team twice in a couple of years would be considered a draw in the top flight but the rumours are still buzzing that Villa want him to replace Gerard Houllier. This seems like an act of madness from Randy Lerner, the Villa owner and one that won’t go down too well with the Villa fans. How can the fans welcome a new manager that they were openly mocking a few weeks ago? Football fans are fickle and will change opinion in the blink of an eye but the city rivalry and abject failure of McLeish should see this as a non-starter but of course, the football world seems organised by chaos at times.
Steve McLaren would have been a far better appointment for Villa but he has ended up in the Championship with Nottingham Forest. For football watchers in England, McLaren is still viewed as the wally with the brolly, the England coach who let them down in the rain. McLaren definitely made a hash of that qualifying campaign but his record over the years should have seen him trusted with a top flight club. It just goes to show how public perceptions can go a long way. It also shows how a little bit of luck can also be better for your career than the seemingly sensible advice of carrying an umbrella in the rain.