Fergie urges Villa fans to back McLeish
ALEX FERGUSON last night pitched into the furore over Alex McLeish's imminent arrival as Aston Villa manager, urging Villa supporters to set aside their misgivings over his previous association with Birmingham City and get behind him.
Ferguson, who as Aberdeen manager oversaw McLeish's development into an outstanding defender for club and country, expressed confidence that his fellow Glaswegian would win over the doubters who have demonstrated against his appointment.
Hailing McLeish as "conscientious" and "a good communicator," the Manchester United manager said: "I've known Alex since he was 18. He was always intelligent, always inquisitive and always asking questions. These to me are essential ingredients for being a successful manager."
Ferguson added: "As a player, he was always a leader on the pitch and always worked hard. In all his managerial positions, he has always had to work hard, too.
"His CV is good. He managed Rangers, he managed Scotland, he won trophies and he's achieved what he has as a manager on limited resources. He's done a phenomenal job.
"You want to listen to the supporters, but you want to listen to the sensible ones. They should look at the manager's CV and look at what he's achieved and, for just one minute, forget about the fact he was at Birmingham.
"At the end of the day all that will count is whether Alex can do the job for Villa."
United, meanwhile, have bid £9.2m for French teenager Raphael Varane as they continue to set the pace in the summer transfer market.
The 18-year-old Lens central defender is seen as a player for the future, but the price United are willing to pay reflects his reputation as one of the rising stars of the French game and Ferguson has gone to great lengths in an effort to sign him.
Paris Saint-Germain are other contenders to sign the 6ft 3in defender, while Real Madrid may also interested.