Belfast Telegraph

McLeish move made sense - Hodgson

West Brom boss Roy Hodgson has backed derby rival Alex McLeish's summer move from Birmingham to Aston Villa and insists it was a "simple decision" to make despite opposition from some fans.

Hodgson cannot understand what the fuss was about given that Birmingham were relegated and Villa are still the biggest team in the city in terms of financial resources. He also believes the supporters opposed to McLeish, whose side entertain Albion on Saturday, will soon change their opinion if Villa have a successful season.

Hodgson said: "I don't know why it should be considered a bold move to move from a team that has been relegated to the biggest team in the Birmingham area, at least traditionally."

He added: "Certainly, if you talk in terms of financial resources and financial power, Villa are the biggest team in the area. I don't think ourselves, Wolves or Birmingham would compare ourselves to Aston Villa. If you look at the money they pay for players, you don't see the other teams doing that.

"They're the ones with the money and the power and the ones who are expected to get into the top six far more than us others. It seems to me to be a fairly simple decision to make if you've got the chance to move to that club from a club that has been relegated. I don't know what's particularly bold about it."

Villa suffered their first defeat of the season at Manchester City last weekend and Hodgson is aware McLeish will soon win over the fans if he brings success to the club.

He said: "Are we talking about a vociferous few fans or every single person who goes to Aston Villa and all the fans they have that don't even go to the game?

"I don't know that 150,000 people were asked their opinion (when McLeish took over). It might have been a small group that had an opinion about it. But I'm sure that opinion will change very, very quickly if Aston Villa finish in the top four this season.

"I'm pretty sure they will then be carting McLeish around and saying he's the best appointment the club has ever made and he's the best manager the club has had for many years. That's how it is.

"It's up to the people who run clubs to make their decision and hopefully make the right decision. If they succeed in that it will be the right decision in the long term for the fans. People who run the club and the fans presumably want the same things - success, stability and a team they can be proud to support and watch."


From Belfast Telegraph