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Villa confirm controversial appointment of McLeish

Aston Villa have confirmed Alex McLeish as their new manager. The Scot – the former manager of Villa’s local rivals Birmingham - makes the move across the city just five days after resigning from his post at St Andrew's.

"I am honoured to have this opportunity to manage a club with such a fantastic history as Aston Villa's," McLeish told www.avfc.co.uk. "The heritage, the history of success and the tradition of Aston Villa are compelling and irresistible. The challenge for me is to try to add my own chapter.

"Since first becoming a manager at Motherwell, my desire to succeed and my energy and drive have never waned. My objective is to impart that drive and will to win to the players and fans of Aston Villa.

"I know that some of our fans have voiced concerns and I can understand why. It will be up to me to convince you that I am the right man to drive the club forward and I intend to give absolutely everything to prove that I can be a success at the club."

Villa say the Scot will commence duties immediately, underlining their confidence there are no lingering issues concerning Birmingham.

Both Villa and Birmingham fans have protested at the appointment.

Birmingham City were furious when it became apparent McLeish was a contender for the Villa vacancy and accused their rivals of tapping up the former Rangers and Scotland boss.

They also demanded €6.1m in compensation to cover the remaining two years of his contract but threats to report Villa to the Premier League or take out an injunction to block the move were not carried out.

Villa, who switched their attention to McLeish after being snubbed by Wigan's Roberto Martinez last week, understood McLeish to be a free agent.

Alex Ferguson last night pitched into the furore over Alex McLeish's arrival as Aston Villa manager, urging Villa supporters to set aside their misgivings over his previous association with Birmingham City and get behind him.

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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."

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