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By ESPN Staff

Villa fans to protest against McLeish

Aston Villa supporters are being urged to attend a proposed pre-match protest against manager Alex McLeish ahead of Sunday's home clash with Manchester City.

A statement posted on the 'Vital Villa' (VV) fans' website claims the current record of six wins in 24 Barclays Premier League games is "relegation form." It also claims the Villa players are "seeming to be in open revolt" following Sunday's 2-1 defeat at Newcastle.

The statement reads: "We have played 24 games this season, we have won six! Is this good enough? No. This is relegation form. Alex McLeish is not the man to lead Aston Villa.

"He had a full pre-season, was given £20million (approximately) to spend and has players of the calibre of Darren Bent, Gabby Agbonlahor and Stephen Ireland to work with (also the most promising batch of home-grown players produced in years).

"Despite all this, we find ourselves 13th in the table and without a home win since Bonfire Night (November 5).

"Now after the debacle of Sunday, with the players now seeming to be in open revolt, the future is looking very bleak indeed. We need to act now before it is too late and the unthinkable happens.

"If you support this, please join us 3pm on Sunday, Trinity Road Stand by the McGregor Statue. If you don't then please ignore this."

Some sections of supporters were unhappy when McLeish made the switch from local rivals Birmingham to replace Gerard Houllier last summer. But it remains to be seen whether there will be substantial tangible support for the proposed protest on Sunday.

Villa sold Ashley Young and Stewart Downing for a combined £35 million to Manchester United and Liverpool respectively last summer.

They spent around £17 million in signing Charles N'Zogbia, Shay Given and Alan Hutton plus Jermaine Jenas on loan from Tottenham.

McLeish was aware of the constraints he was under and often admitted he has been instructed to reduce the "astronomical" wage bill by club owner Randy Lerner.

The former Rangers boss has also conceded this is a season of transition for the midlands club but remains convinced he is the right man at the helm to eventually revive Villa's fortunes.


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