McLeish

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McLeish

Post by the hibLOG » Tue Nov 27, 2007 9:36 am

Will the lure of doubling his salary prove too strong, or is the lure of scrapping it out in the Premiership's nether regions with Birmingham not worth any money? He's already the pornographer's third choice after Lippi and Jol. Will he be flattered nevertheless?
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Post by Scottish » Tue Nov 27, 2007 10:05 am

From his personal point of view it must be tempting. He was looking for a Premiership position before taking the Scotland job. But I don't think it's as cut and dried as the media seem to be suggesting. There are too many unknowns about Birmingham, not least them being in the middle fo a protracted takeover bid which means the manager's position there - any manager's position - must be even less secure than usual.

That said, it appears that even if he turns this one down it's merely a matter of time before he does go. There may be vacancies soon at Liverpool and Newcastle - infinitely better jobs than Brum.

Though there would be a certain irony in going head-to-head with Martin O'Neill in Birmingham.

From Scotland's POV the SFA have done the right thing in rejecting the approach - especially if the compensation offered is as low as the suggested £1M. Brum got £3M in compensation for Steve Bruce who had 19 months left on his contract. Alex McLeish has nearly three years left on his.

If he does go I hope the SFA take their time in replacing him and don't just opt for Billy Davies because he's available. I really don't like this situation whereby the position of national coach has become a staging post for managers who can't quite hack it in the Premiership.

McLeish might care to consider that the track record of former Scotland managers isn't a great one - if one discounts Alex Ferguson on the grounds he was a temporary and part-time appointment. Go right back to Ian McColl who didn't last long at Sunderland. Even Tommy Docherty got relegated with Man Utd. Craig Brown (and how I wish he'd keep his mouth shut when the Scotland job comes under discussion) was no great shakes at Preston.

In some ways it might be best if McLeish does go now. If he's determined to manage in the Premiership then it's better to go now rather than halfway through the next qualifying campaign. But if he does I hope he spares us all the guff about what an honour it's been to manage his country.

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Post by lbb » Tue Nov 27, 2007 10:50 am

McLeish should be asking who's hiring him - the present Birmingham board or Carsen Yeung (sp?) I think his answer might lie in that question.

The SFA were unlucky with Smith - he was the right age for national manager, imo, and seemed to have no unfinished business at club level. The problems at Rangers could not have been foreseen. McLeish was always a riskier appointment, in terms of losing him, because of his age and his stated desire to manage in the Premiership. It would make sense, then, to go for an older manager with a younger assistant which seemed to work under Smith.

Souness and Graham have been mentioned and whilst I think they tick some boxes - age, experienced at club level, no immediate desire/demand to return there - I don't think they'd be popular with the supporters, for whatever reason. I do think the manager has to be Scottish, though.

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Post by Scottish » Tue Nov 27, 2007 2:21 pm

There are problems - but not insurmountable ones - with both Souness & Graham. The chief one is that the bulk of the players these days play in domestic football and that's something Souness hasn't had knowledge of for some time and Graham never has.

But both are sufficiently experienced to overcome this drawback.

I see no reason why the manager has to be Scottish. He should be the best person available and willing. If that person happens to be Scottish then that's a bonus but I don't think we should reject people out of hand. It's not that long ago since our biggest clubs decided there wasn't a Scottish manager good enough for them. I don't see why the national team should operate under a handicap unacceptable to the clubs.

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Post by lbb » Tue Nov 27, 2007 2:52 pm

The lack of knowledge could easily be overcome by a worthy assistant. There is also plenty of time before our next competitive match for the new manager to get to know the Scottish players.

I just think that Souness, IIRC, was never a popular player with Scotland so I can only imagine the reaction now if he became manager. As it is, I think he's a better manager than some people give him credit. George Graham is no longer at the height of his Arsenal powers but I think he'd have enough about him to handle the Scotland job. I think some, though, view him as Anglofiled, a la Hansen, and I wonder if the fans would take to him. This might just be my perception.

International football is so unique in its particular motivations - you can't appeal to the wallet, you can't threaten to transfer players, even dropping them probably doesn't cut it - then I think you need a manager that has a shared emotional bond with the players. It also wouldn't say much for the trumpeted Largs coaching courses if we were unable to produce a coach to lead our own national team. Who knows. Gordon Smith might want to stamp his 'radical' credentials on this one and see a chance to try something different.

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Post by lbb » Tue Nov 27, 2007 3:48 pm

He's orf - http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/footbal ... 114028.stm

Alex McLeish has resigned as Scotland manager and BBC Sport understands he will take over as Birmingham boss.

Birmingham have called a news conference for Wednesday morning where they are expected to unveil McLeish.

The 48-year-old led Scotland to the brink of Euro 2008 qualification and his deal ran until 2010.

"We're very disappointed to lose Alex," said Scottish Football Assoication chief executive Gordon Smith. "He's sent a written resignation."

"We were sitting down at this stage and had broached increasing his deal time-wise and financial-wise," added Smith.

"He has been a terrific manager for Scotland and a great asset to the association.

"He's also been working in other aspects within the SFA, and he's a big loss."

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Post by Scottish » Tue Nov 27, 2007 3:55 pm

WTF was he doing in South Africa? Just fancy a few days in the sun? I hope the SFA dig in over compensation. If Bruce was worth £3M to Birmingham then Eck must be worth the same.

Note too that he has resigned which suggests no agreement after the SFA knocked back the approach from Birmingham.

But, hey ho, every cloud and that. Maybe he'll take Boyd with him and get Killie a 20% cut of the transfer which will be bigger than the initial fee?

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Post by lbb » Tue Nov 27, 2007 4:10 pm

I'm kinda hoping he takes Buffel and Burke. They're his responsibility.

Seems that he agreed to the job after arriving back from South Africa. Though that might just be convenience.

It's undoubtedly dispiriting to have lost two managers in the space of 10 months in quite similar circumstances. The only alternative is to have a manager no-one wants - Vogts, Brown, Roxburgh - I suppose. The SFA will certainly have to tie McLeish's successor down in a tight contract to the end of 2010 qualifiers or 2010 World Cup. I don't know how you ever stop this, though.

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Post by Scottish » Tue Nov 27, 2007 4:26 pm

You can't stop it. McLeish was under contract until 2010 but it made no difference. The only thing that can really be done is to tighten up compensation clauses by writing a minimum sum into the contract.

Being Scotland manager has always ranked lower in the pecking order than the top club jobs but it now appears that ANY Premiership post is more attractive than being national team boss.

If we're looking to guarantee a manager in situ until 2010 there are three other options in addition to the 'no one else wants them' scenario. These are a club manager currently operating a lower level in the pecking order - Jim Jefferies, John Collins, Jimmy Calderwood for example - or a manager whose club days might be behind him - George Graham, Kenny Dalglish, Joe Jordan, possibly Graeme Souness - or a recent former player. Germany & Holland went down that road successfully with Klinsmann & Van Basten but I don't see the Scottish equivalent anywhere.

As I write I see Craig Brown touting Billy Davies for the job on Sky Sports News. Of course wee Broono was on a good number with Davies at Derby and might well return as No 2 if Davies got the job. Not a step forward IMHO.

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Post by lbb » Tue Nov 27, 2007 4:39 pm

I'd be embarrassed at promoting such a blatant conflict of interest as Brown is doing. Every man for himself, I suppose.

I don't think an ex-player is an option for us. I'm not saying anyone could manage Holland or Germany but they have superior players to us with a different level of coaching required so we definitely require an experienced coach. I'd also wonder how much technical backup van Basten and Klinsman have in their setup compared to us and, with all respect, our very own Roy 'the Bear' Aitken.

Someone mentioned Jim Jefferies to me earlier on, funnily enough. I quite like the idea of Jefferies' legendary torn face unchanged as Hampden celebrated World Cup qualification. You wouldn't get carried away with Jim that's for sure. An SPL manager is a possibility but I just don't think they'll go for it. An older head (Jordan, Graham, Souey) or Smith might use his exotic contact book to pull one from left-field.

Sky Sports News were also touting Gary McAllister earlier - presumably until a vacancy comes up at Leeds United.

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Post by Gersman » Tue Nov 27, 2007 6:39 pm

Be honest. How many of us would turn down a 400% wage increase? Even if it did mean having to work in Birmingham?
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Post by Skyline Drifter » Tue Nov 27, 2007 10:27 pm

lbb wrote:The SFA were unlucky with Smith - he was the right age for national manager, imo, and seemed to have no unfinished business at club level. The problems at Rangers could not have been foreseen. McLeish was always a riskier appointment, in terms of losing him, because of his age and his stated desire to manage in the Premiership. It would make sense, then, to go for an older manager with a younger assistant which seemed to work under Smith.
I've been away all day so by the time I come to add my comments to this thread it's pretty much all been said.

I agree entirely with the above comment. They were very unlucky to lose Smith to what was probably the only job that he would have left for. It did look like his club days were behind him and he was the right age for an international manager. McLeish was never going to be a long term appointment in all likelihood. Good luck to him he did well whilst in tenure and I hope the arguments over compensation don't spoil that as it did a little with Smith.

As for the future, it's already been said but there are three options for the SFA. You aren't going to poach anyone from a top club job already so you can only do:

1 - Appoint from a lower club job which means the likes of Levein, Collins or even Jefferies. Billy Davies is an especially obvious name here since he's newly available too. You do run the risk though, particularly with the first two and Davies, that another run of success and they are off again, just like McLeish. If you aren't prepared to accept that then don't appoint from that category. Guys that young are still going to have the desire to work with players daily, not occasionally.

2 - Appoint the semi-retired. Which was in effect what they did with Smith, it's unfortunate it all went pear shaped for Le Guen and Murray pulled him back to the coalface like a sporting Red Adair. The likes of Dalglish, Graham and Souness fit this role though I'm not convinced any of them would be the right man. Maybe even Archie Knox? The very obvious man in this category if he gave any sort of hint that he might be stepping down from his current job anytime soon is of course Alex Ferguson.

3 - The latest trend amongst the European nations appears to be to appoint an ex-player in his first job. Donadoni, Klinnsman, van Basten all fit that profile in their respective countries. England are even being touted to consider Shearer similarly. Didn't work for Ireland with Staunton though. The only potential candidate in this area really is Gary McAllister though who was close to getting the job last time I think. McCoist wouldn't take it I think

I suppose there are two other options but I'd hope not to see them. One would be to appoint from within the SFA coaching structure though I'm not sure there actually is anyone obvious. Maurice Malpas doesn't even have the u21 job permanently yet and no-one else stands out.

They could also parachute in a foreigner but I doubt the very top names would want it (Mourinho, van Gaal, Hiddink, etc) and I don't think the media and average Scottish footsoldier would stand for a run of the mill foreign name after the Vogts debacle.

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Post by Rob » Wed Nov 28, 2007 1:47 pm

When Walter Smith left the Scotland job all hell broke loose, The SFA were going to do this the SFA were going to do that. Walter was a traitor and other such nonsense. Here we are again the same thing happens and not a dickie bird from the SFA, Is it because Smith went to Rangers or am I paranoid. :wink:
Even on this board some were very critical of Walter and its not being repeated here.

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Post by Alan McCabe » Wed Nov 28, 2007 5:03 pm

I never did see McLeish as a long term option for us mainly due to his age. Most agree that the limited playing schedule associated with international football is just not enough to prevent a return to a higher profile (or in Birmingham's case a higher paid) post should one become available.
We have to make sure that we do not turn the national manager's job into nothing more than a shop window for promising and ambitious incumbants. It may sound a bit downbeat, but we should be looking for someone with similar qualities to Walter Smith, i.e. older, experienced and with little likelihood of heading up the managerial ladder. It took a wholly unexpected scenario at Ibrox to lure Smith away, this probably being the only post that he would have forsaken the Scotland job for.
Therefore, such names as Levein, Davies, Collins and McAllister should be immediately ruled out, and I would expect Gordon Smith to concur with this policy purely on the basis of what's just occurred.
Souness, Graham and Dalglish have all had lengthy spells away from both the game in general and Scotland in particular. I would not expect the SFA to be calling any of those high-profile three.
Where I think our best options lie are amongst those managers and coaches who have been around the block, worked regularly with players of limited technical ability and know what is required to get a relatively young group to play the disciplined but motivated style we have come to be fairly competent at.
Who fit such a bill? Jim Jeffries at Kilmarnock, Jimmy Calderwood at Aberdeen, Mark McGhee at Motherwell or slightly further afield what about Joe Jordan at Portsmouth. Any one of those could represent an ideal 'plug and play' option and would probably be more than happy with the level of remuneration on offer even if some arguably would be honoured to assume such a post regardless of financial implications.
With McLeish's backroom staff resident in Birmingham now as well and Maurice Malpas too young and inexperienced to be considered for elevation from the Under-21s, I personally would be content with any of the four I named. Delighted? Probably not. But this is about national pride and continuity so much more than it is about international prestige. Let England chase their high-profile media darlings...all we seek is a proud and dedicated man who understands how best to make our players play as a team.

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Post by Burnie_man » Wed Nov 28, 2007 7:54 pm

Rob wrote:When Walter Smith left the Scotland job all hell broke loose, The SFA were going to do this the SFA were going to do that. Walter was a traitor and other such nonsense. Here we are again the same thing happens and not a dickie bird from the SFA, Is it because Smith went to Rangers or am I paranoid. :wink:
Even on this board some were very critical of Walter and its not being repeated here.
Let me help you out.

McLeish is a scumbag and a traitor just like Walter, he was quoted as saying when he became manager in January "I'll honour the contract", but he lasted 10 months and didn't even have the balls to resign in person, fax's Gordon Smith the letter instead in his haste to get out the door after a nice all-expenses paid trip to SA. Hope that two-bit club he went to is in the Championship next season and he's back on the managerial scrapheap where we got him from.

That better Rob?

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