Idiot, twirp, disingenuous liar, turnip, plonker: McLeish

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By Tony Attwood

Alex McLeish has moved from being manager of Birmingham City (whom he has just seen relegated) to Aston Villa, (who would like to see themselves as challengers to the top four, and who actually were challengers for a while until a previous manager decided to send a reserve team to Russia).

I heard the news that this seemed to be on the cards when Ian sent me a text while I was on holiday in France.  I texted back saying, “I can’t believe it.  The Villa fans will never stand for it.”

I didn’t express that opinion through any specific knowledge of Villa or Birmingham fans, but simply knowing that they are the big rivals.  It is obvious, simple and straightforward: they hate each other.

Now it is true (as we are all painfully aware) that McLeish has brought Birmingham a cup.  But given that he has also brought relegation he can’t actually be seen to be a big success at Birmingham.  More like an abject failure.

And this issue of success matters because it affects the way fans see transfers between rivals.  When Sol came from the Evil Empire to Arsenal I believe he was widely welcomed because it was a slap around the face for the Tinies.  Sol was their best player, and he had reached the end of his contract and so was a free agent.  He chose us.  Ha ha ha.  Well I laughed and so did my pal Roger.  And as Sol began to take control of the defence we laughed even more.

But McLeish to Villa is a matter of a different colour.  He’s a lesser being, a little man, a person of minor significance, who did one great thing as far as a Villa fan sees it – he got the BlueNoses sent down to their spiritual home in the second division.  He was also manager of Scotland, and you don’t get much lower than that.

Now the Villa mob are up in arms and burning their season tickets (so I am told).  And what has this man got to say about it all.  He has “expressed surprise at the level of anger he has provoked”.


That is like saying “when the 10 ton lorry hit my leg I was surprised at the pain I felt.”

What sort of moron do you have to be to be surprised at Villa fans’ anger?  10,000 Brums have joined a Facebook campaign calling on Villa’s owner, Randy Lerner, not to hire the McLeish.  He has received death threats and the graffiti everywhere is what we might call “offensive”.   That is not surprising.

To which the new man responds:

“Moving across the city has stirred some emotions, which I did not anticipate.”

Then Mr McLeish, your knowledge of football is somewhat lower than my ability to play defensive midfield for the Benelux Supporters Club in the recent five a side tournament on the Emirates pitch.  You are a dolt, Mr McLeish because football is about tribalism, passion, the heart, one’s club, one’s values, one’s origins.  Which bit of “it is all about emotions” do you not get?

Here’s another reason why people might get angry.  He resigned from Birmingham via an email sent to the club’s acting chairman.  Does that give Villa fans the confidence that this is a man of upstanding probity who will stay in his job?

So now what is this turnip talking about?  He is talking about winning Villa fans over!!!!!!!!!

But that’s not enough.  He is now saying to the media that the Villa job is less of a footballing job than managing in Scotland!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Here’s the quote…
“I took criticism at Rangers, and it doesn’t come tougher than up there.”  Oh thank you for that Mr Stupid.  That may or may not be true but it certainly didn’t make any of the Birmingham situation a lot better.  It might help Villa fans forget that the Birmingham style of play was about as boring as it is possible to get.   37 goals last year.  Very good.  But it won’t stop them thinking, “this man is a maniac.  He comes to Villa and tells us that managing in Scotland is bigger than managing our club”.

Of course you might think that having put both feet right in it he might move to the Seychelles for a while, but no.  Here he is again:   “I wouldn’t say Birmingham played bad football.”  Oh right.   Another nice one for his new found friends at Villa.

Birmingham are of course laughing at having got rid of such a failure, having annoyed their neighbours, and having the chance of picking up some much needed money (they want £5.4m in compensation).  Villa are believed to have told Birmingham that given that the manager got them relegated 5.4p would be a more realistic amount.

By and large, looking at McLeish’s track record in fan management, they are probably right.


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26 Replies to “Idiot, twirp, disingenuous liar, turnip, plonker: McLeish”

  1. i thought all along that “twirp” was spelled “twerp” but i’d also say Villa fans got off easy. they could have been saddled with the completely clueless Benitez or the vacuous Pierce.

  2. I don’t know why you would resort to all those names in the headline.. 3 Words would be enough.. Alex Ferguson’s lackey.

  3. Not only that, he relegated with them twice in four seasons with an impressive group of players. He has players like Martins, McFadden, Dann AND Johnson, Larsson, Hleb and Zigic in his team. The League Cup is masking the fact that he has done a terrible job with good material.
    Stupid decision of Villa, especially seeing as how they rejected Benitez before.

  4. Could not agree more shard, far too many fergie gimps hiding under the the league managers association in this division, was hoping in him we would lose one but too much to hope for I guess.
    Wonder how villa fans will feel when he takes a team to ot under instructions not to put tackles in?

  5. There many managers i will never forgive for a lot of things but Mcliesh is who tops my list for the injury to eduardo and gardner on cesc- rotational fouling and route one football are making their way to villa park but more importantly the quota of managers/teams playing negative football remains just about even for next season. the cycle of violence continues apace cheered on from the sidelines by a jingoistic press and equally morally bankrupt public (who describes a day out at stoke football club a good family outing?)

  6. Thanks for the link Kentetsu 🙂

    And on topic I really don’t like Birmingham so I am really happy they went down. And yeah it is sad that McLeish is still in the PL.
    But I don’t think he will be given much time at Aston Villa. I hope.

  7. Just comes to mind – ol’ ‘Arry with the S. Hampton – Pompey thing …

    Just goes to show, there are some despicable people out there.

  8. @Shard: now, now, mate: You call McLeish a lackey of Don Fergus? A possible enabler in place for the Rednose 20? Shocked! Shocked, I say. Surely you gest. Surely we’d need to wait a year until a quantitative study gave us the right so make such determinations – no sorry, the right to say that perhaps something is anomalous when it comes to McLeish and how the results of his matches and public bleatings might positively affect ManUre’s well-being in the table. Truly it is time to repent, as Don Fergus now has public sponsors (at least to MPs who publicy have declared) for a bid to make him Lord Fergus. Can you imagine, now in June, the Dark Lord Sauron of the unblinking, all-seeing eye will – if the machinery grinds on – not only sit in the House of Lords (or is it to be renamed Kastle Fergus?) and, worse yet, do a table-top dance in 2011/2012? Hopefully we rash types might soon proceed to channel energies and thoughts into this, that is, what is to be done about the thousand pound elephant in the e-room?

  9. @Walter: surely, you might consider adding a McLeish watch (i.e, monitoring his new side’s matches) for his ANTICIPATED services to the Rednose 20th. Surely, if Don Fergus is to become Lord Fegus, can (clearing throat) a second “Sir Alex” be far behind?

  10. LOL, what a hilarious article. Poor Aston Villa, imagine being one of their fans right now…
    And people think Arsenal has issues…

  11. Sammy’s not a betting snake, but I bet a silver coin (that’s the current currency in out neck of the woods) that this scum will bring footballing standards to an all time low at Villa, and he’ll get them relegated before the end of the season. The fire sale of players at Villa can only speed the process.

    Wikipedia has this under McLeish; fast track to relegation.

    @Shard, Stevie E, Anne, UA, all: I think so far that we are the declared interested parties in an Untold Media effort. That said, we currently are committed to weekly coverage of how the Mirror (Shard – and thanks!), the Evening Standard (Stevie E), the Guardian (bob), and another to be named (Anne’s choice) to monitor this season. We could use more coverage, of course. If anyone would like to commit to a weekly media watch, please consider and say so as soon as you decide. BTW, I may well have missed someone, so, with apologies from me, please jump in!

    At this moment there are a few more moving parts. Mainly: (1) Walter/Tony will presumably confer on whether to host a weekly media round up, keyed to Walter’s Ref Review, and open to any other notable – positive or negative – Arsenal coverage by our chosen media outlets; and (2) a possible analysis to come of some media coverage of the Newcastle/Arsenal outrage-on-the-pitch to help us all identify some few writers/coverup-spin patterns/outlets that were engaged in the tomfoolery. Thus, a kind of early template in an admittedly extreme case that could help show which media players to especially monitor in the course of next season. I also think that we could soon start to suggest what sorts of things to watch for and categorize – starting with what interests you most; and, of course, by simply beginning to analyze the specific media coverage, we’ll see and refine whatever patterns emerge (or not) as our season unfolds. We’ll see if/how coverage may change depending on our position in the table at any given moment. We can also see whether (and who) comprises a media cheering section that is devoted to the realization of SAF’s (i.e., Lord Ferguson’s) 20th. Any ideas in advance are most welcome, and I’ll offer a few that I’m thinking about these days. Ideas and categories will surely emerge as anything noteworthy happens in each match – as it did time and again last season. (Take heart, for proof of concept just consider that Sir Alex McLeish will be up to his old tricks; and Phil Dowd will continue to bestride the pitch like a colossus – that is, like Howard Webb.) We could/would note, say, how Walter covered the match, isolate significant calls and non-call, his customary notes on the event); and in sync, offer our analyses of how each media outlet wound up dealing with or failing to deal with the event(s) at issue.

    The point now, I think, is just to start the ball rolling. Let’s agree to speak about this initiative with Stevie E’s apt phrase, as “Untold Media.” Perhaps Walter, Tony, Phil, Dogface have ideas on this to share – and anyone and everyone, especially in the wake of Anne’s fine, provocative and fun work on Cesc-Barca in the media. Any thoughts?

  13. With the sale of Cashley Young ,the eviseration of Villa has begun .I don’t think Randy Lerner should open the bubbly as yet-thay may need to drown their sorrows come end of the season or maybe sooner.

  14. Journalism is about reporting or creating bullshit that is easy to read, holds the readers interest and does not burden him/her with the pressures of having to think for themselves. Being a smart ass journalist doesn`t sell newspapers it just fills the writers ego.

  15. @bob:

    Just wanted you to know that I’m still checking in 🙂 One thing I’ll say is that analyzing media reports is even more difficult than ref data, in the sense that there’s so much more of it out there. I think maybe the focus of this could be narrowed a bit? Specifically, if we’re monitoring a newspaper what exactly are we looking for?

    And what exactly are we analyzing for? Bias? Fabrications? Mean stuff? Match reports?

  16. @bob:

    Maybe it would be good to think about it from this perspective: what do you think that people would be interested in reading about?

  17. @Anne: To start refining a UM mission, for any one newspaper or one TV station that someone chooses, I see us looking at each week’s pre- and post-match coverage of all things Arsenal (visual and written) in terms of (as you’ve indicated) bias – which includes, fabrications, not reporting an incident, meanness about players/manager and comparing its match report versus Walter’s match report. Our UM reporters can only spot and report on what they spot: Especially to notice, over the season, what patterns of bias are emerging. Not everyone may agree each time on what exactly constitutes bias, but that’s fine – the discussion abd the process is what finally matters. We’ll be able to see and name: what specific writer/media outlet is consistently biased, how, and when the bias occurs. At first, going in, we won’t have or need to possess your demonstrated analytic ability; but as we all do more of it together, we will develop our collective skills and sharpen our insights going forward; the weekly report, plus reader comments, can sharpen our ability to be crap-detectors and to educate each other. So, yes: its looking at bias in terms of: what’s said or depicted; what’s not said or not depicted; fabrications; meanness; the warped weekly match reports (relative to Walter’s here at UA). Each week’s UM report(s) could be posted say by Saturday morning if UA would provide for this. And the readers will decide their on what matters to them or not, as with every posting on UA. Some elicit massive discussion, some are minimal. But all are of high quality to educate the readers at large, so it appears.

  18. @Anne: as for the scope of this approach, if each person picks one (or more if they wish) media outlet, then we each have a relatively narrow focus to proceed and not get paralyzed by the enormity of a media landscape. Just one outlet, each week, over the course of the season. That’s large enough. It it proves too much, then a bi-weekly report is also Ok. The point is to have an informative periodic media report on how Arsenal is being perceived and represented to the footballing public by each media outlet. It’s fan-based reporting about how we get our image, who is constructing our image, and toward what purposes. The more people who pick a media outlet to watch, the more participation we get. The quality will vary, inevitably, from review to review, but that’s Ok and it’s the process that counts. Perhaps the reports can accumulate in a UM section on the UA Homepage, just as like-topics are currently being grouped thereabouts and accessible when we scroll down the page.

  19. @bob:

    My main concern about this project is the scope of work involved. Even if you just focus on one media outlet, to do something like check on the credibility of reports, you have to expand your analysis to other media outlets as well. And particularly if you’re talking about expanding the analysis as far as particular writers and the like, it really is a monumental amount of work that you’re talking about doing.

    What you’re basically talking about is running an entirely separate blog, and to be honest, I’m not sure if I’m able to make the time commitment to do something like that. For me, it would work better if it was something less frequent. And until I have the chance to actually pick a media outlet, and see what kind of stuff they’re running on a regular basis, I’m just having difficulty conceptualizing exactly what it is that I would be doing, and whether it’s something that I would have the time to handle.

  20. Anne, Ok. I’m talking about how each outlet covers a specific match and the events of that match relative to how Walter reports on it. It’s fine if you bow out, or return to it, obviously. But it’s not this massive undertaking and characterizing it that way, I fear, can dissuade people from participating in something that is doable on a weekly – even occasional basis, or else there is no media watch. It does not require a blog or a mega-comparative effort to get launched. So to each our own way and hopefully some paths will cross productively.

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