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McLeish: I'll win over the fans

Former Birmingham City boss Alex McLeish said it was one of the toughest decisions of his career to accept the position of manager with arch-rivals Aston Villa and has asked the fans of the club to allow him time to prove he is the right man for the job.

• McLeish named as Villa boss
• Fergie backs McLeish
• Blues demand £5.4m compensation

McLeish was unveiled as Gerard Houllier's successor at Villa Park on Monday despite a series of protests from unhappy supporters, but the former Rangers boss said he would not be fazed by the opposition to his appointment.

"Let me prove myself and I will win you over. It is not a case of proving the fans wrong, I want to go forward with them and prove I am the man for this job,'' McLeish said.

"I can understand the passion and emotion of football and as long as it doesn't get out of control I can understand their feelings. Am I fazed by it? No. Have I had it before? Yes. I really look forward to the challenge.''

McLeish, 52, the decision to leave Birmingham was tough and was quick to thank the Blues' fans for their continued support during his tenure at St Andrew's.

He said: "To think I have been able to manage both of them (Villa and Birmingham) is a wonderful honour.

"I wouldn't say it was a difficult decision in my career but it was a tough one, it is not every day you get offered a job like this. There is no way I couldn't have been the manager of Villa.

"I thank them very much for their support over the four years I have been there. Not everybody was sure of me at Birmingham and OK I left on relegation but we just fought one of the hardest Premier League campaigns ever.''

The ex-Scotland boss also revealed he would have no problems in returning to his former club in the quest to add new players to the Villa ranks.

"I know there are many good players there but the policy that I have always maintained is not to talk about other clubs' players,'' he said.

"I'm getting bombarded - we are just going to access things at the moment. If i thought a (Birmingham) player could improve Aston Villa Football Club why not?''


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