LMA chief backs McLeish as Birmingham demand compensation

According to the League Managers’ Association, Alex McLeish walked out on Birmingham City because he was not consulted over transfer deals and his chief scout was sacked by the Blues executive board. The legal wrangles of the deal have been mired in controversy this week, with Birmingham claiming they have not accepted McLeish’s resignation and demanding £4.5 million compensation from any potential club who wishes to install the Scot as their manager, reportedly fierce local rivals Aston Villa.

The chief executive of the LMA Richard Bevan revealed that there had been ‘aggressive and seriously undermining communications’ to force McLeish out of his job as Birmingham City manager. Acting Blues chairman Peter Pannu revealed that McLeish had resigned via e-mail whilst Pannu was away on business in Amsterdam, and believes that the parties of McLeish and Aston Villa are conspiring against the football club, run by Hong Kong businessman Carson Yeung and his Birmingham (formerly Grandtop) International Holdings business firm.

Bevan issued a statement which entailed: ‘Alex decided he had to resign as there had been serious issues for some time between him and the board at Birmingham.’ McLeish had often complained over the past season that the right financial backing was not being given to him at St. Andrew’s, a belief further enhanced by the release of seven first-team players and the transfer listing of central defender Roger Johnson, an integral part of Birmingham’s success in the Carling Cup Final win over Arsenal in January.7

LMA executive Bevan also criticised the way in which Blues chairman Pannu has acted over the saga and believes that there could have been a better way to put forth his opinions and views on the subject. ‘Mr Pannu, a senior member of the board, has put into the public domain confidential information contained in Alex’s contract. This is without doubt a breach of confidence.’

‘The LMA recognise it is often very difficult for clubs and chairmen, especially with the financial pressures and 24/7 media coverage. However, it is very disappointing that some clubs don’t follow normal principles of employment law – which can undermine the game, the club and even the community the club is based in’, Bevan added in a scathing attack on the way McLeish has been treated.

McLeish was also disappointed at the sacking of his chief scout Paul Montgomery, and the culmination of transfers and the sacking resulted in McLeish’s resignation as Birmingham manager. The whole event has turned rather sour, but McLeish has kept a complete vow of silence and there has been no word from him or his representatives since the news broke.

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