McCarthy 'amazed' by McLeish defection
Published 26/08/2011 | 14:18
Mick McCarthy admits he was "amazed" by Alex McLeish's dramatic summer move from Birmingham to Aston Villa but is adamant fans will be won over if he produces positive results.
Wolves boss McCarthy, whose side visit Villa tomorrow, was due to enjoy a summer break with close friend McLeish before Blues' relegation from the Barclays Premier League spoiled that plan.
He was as surprised as anyone when McLeish switched to Villa Park and caused protests from supporters of both clubs but is adamant he will be "a really good manager" for the claret and blues.
McCarthy said: "Alex started right in the 'minus column' in terms of affection from Villa fans.
"But I love how they've turned it around now by saying he is their hero because he took Birmingham down.
"I thought Alex had won the lottery (going to Villa) to be honest because, if Wolves had got relegated, would West Brom have come and got me if Roy Hodgson had left? Probably not!
"I was just amazed by it, by all the happenings. I was actually due to be away with Alex and he didn't come because of Birmingham's relegation.
"I guess you should never be surprised with what happens in football but I was a little bit in this instance - and I'm thrilled for him.
"I was at the Villa game on Saturday (against Blackburn) and it was great to see him get a warm welcome and to get the result he needed.
"But it's all well and good getting a warm welcome. You've got to win games and then you will win the supporters over."
McCarthy added: "I just think he will be a really good manager for them.
"He is a top bloke, solid fellow, knows his football, and proved he is a very good manager.
"They've got four points, a draw away, a win at home, what more can you do? It's been a great start for him."
McCarthy is confident former Birmingham defender and new Wolves captain Roger Johnson will handle the hostile reception he is expected to face from Villa fans.
He said: "I will think the Villa fans have all have gone soft if they don't give him some stick. That will just make him play better.
"I never liked turning up to places and getting cheered by the opposition.
"It is horrible when the opposition are singing 'one Mick McCarthy' or 'one Roger Johnson.' You are in serious trouble.
"You want them giving you stick because, when they are giving you stick, it is generally they don't like you because you are a good player.
"I only had it once up at Celtic when the Dundee United fans cheered me for a good back pass which they scored from and won. That chant wasn't making me feel warm to be honest."
McCarthy will take no disciplinary action against striker Kevin Doyle for being booked for taking his shirt off after scoring in the 2-0 home success over Fulham.
But any Wolves player yellow carded for such a celebration when knowing it would lead to them being suspended for the next game will face being fined.
McCarthy said: "I wouldn't fine them for it unless it resulted in a player being suspended.
"I think it is a barmy rule if you get booked for it. I really do. You see all the celebrations that people do and the least offensive is taking your shirts off sometimes.
"There will be no sanction on Kevin or anyone - unless they got suspended and that booking took them to a suspension.
"If a silly booking causes a player to be suspended then the club rules will be taken into account for anyone."