Belfast Telegraph

McLeish warned over fan backlash

Alex McLeish has been warned he will find it difficult to win over the Aston Villa fans should he eventually replace Gerard Houllier as manager.

Some sections of Villa supporters have made it clear McLeish would not be welcome after his spell in charge of local rivals Birmingham. McLeish resigned on Sunday and has become the bookmakers' favourite to succeed Houllier at Villa Park.

Jonathan Fear, editor of the Vital Villa fans' website, said: "I would fear for the atmosphere and attendances at Villa Park if Alex McLeish is appointed manager. I've got friends who are adamant they will return their season tickets if McLeish is appointed."

He added: "He is a tough bloke but no matter how thick skinned you are, it will be a tough sell for him to win over the Villa fans.

"It is not just because he was Birmingham manager but because of his style of play.

"Even some Blues fans have said to me they didn't want to watch that type of football anymore."

Fear added: "This board at Villa have been very good and they want the right man for the job. They are honest, decent people running the club.

"But it will be difficult for McLeish to win over the fans even if Villa are winning.

"It is a slap in the face of Blues fans and has not pleased the Villa fans."

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