UPDATE: According to Mat Kendrick, the $2 million payout rumor is inaccurate. I'm going to stop posting news stories and start writing poems about Emile Heskey.
Confirming what most journalists have been saying was imminent for a few days now and most Aston Villa fans have been trying to convince themselves was a smokescreen for equally as long, it is now being widely reported that Villa have agreed to a fee for the release of Alex McLeish and will be confirmed as manager tomorrow. Reports that Randy Lerner and McLeish celebrated by jointly opening the Seventh Seal are unconfirmed.
I'll have a post about McLeish and how I've come to convince myself that he might not be as bad as initially feared coming in the next few days, but I'm still not happy with this appointment. Even if the results are decent under McLeish (and they probably will be, if not spectacular) the football is likely to be boring and the advances towards a more continental style that we saw under Gerard Houllier washed away. In reality though, I can't imagine Randy Lerner or Paul Faulkner are all that thrilled either.
If reports from multiple sources are to be believed, Carlo Ancelotti turned Villa down straight away. Rafa Benitez wanted somewhere in the neighborhood of £60 million for a transfer budget to even entertain the notion of taking the job. Mark Hughes unceremoniously quit on Mohamed Al Fayed who is a close friend of Doug Ellis and wanted a transfer budget not quite as lofty as the one required by Rafa but still unrealistic given Villa's means. The board then seemingly made the decision that I'd wanted them to make all along in all but offering Roberto Martinez the job and were turned down.And forgive me for saying it, but I don't think David Moyes was ever really going to happen.
I would imagine that Randy Lerner is asking himself where it went wrong. They certainly didn't do everything perfectly this time around, but it wasn't nearly as bad as it was made out to be by the media. Certain elements of Villa's fan base acted appallingly the entire time through this process, and those folks ought to be ashamed. Randy Lerner is not an idiot, and I have a hard time believing he surrounds himself with them. None of us were in any of the interviews.
As unhappy as I am with this decision (on multiple levels) I'm willing to give McLeish a chance because Randy Lerner and Paul Faulkner are willing to give him a chance. If he said something to them that convinced him he was the man for the job, that's good enough for me to at least entertain the idea.I feel like I ought to implore other Villa fans to do the same, but there's no point. The majority of us are already doing so and the more fanatical elements of the fanbase aren't going to be convinced. To them, his tenure at Birmingham makes him inherently unworthy of Aston Villa.
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.