McLeish and relegation

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MadMac
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McLeish and relegation

Post by MadMac » Mon May 12, 2008 7:36 pm

Interested to read that when he took over at Birmingham, they were 17th and ended up 21st. What position were Hibs in when he went there in 1998?

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Post by Scottish » Mon May 12, 2008 7:52 pm

I see he's saying he needed to make more signings in the transfer window. I liked his comment that people have been asking if he'd been there all season whether he'd have kept them up. That stat - 17th on arrival - kind of answers it.

Eck had a run of comparatively easy fixtures when he took over at Birmingham but they never made enough of them - Spurs, Newcastle, Reading, Bolton, Middlesbrough, Fulham were his first six games. If they had been capable of doing what sixteen other clubs did and beat Derby at home they'd still be in the Premiership.

A strange team. They drew twice with both Arsenal and Liverpool and never lost to Man Utd or Chelsea by more than a single goal. Yet Derby, Fulham and Reading all left St Andrew's with a point.

lbb
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Post by lbb » Tue May 13, 2008 8:46 am

Hibs were bottom of the table when McLeish went there in February 1998 - 5 points behind his old club, Motherwell.

Birmingham were one point off the relegation zone when McLeish arrived and were one point off safety at the end.

I just don't think Birmingham had that great a squad - like a good number in the bottom half.

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Post by Scottish » Tue May 13, 2008 9:40 am

I thought they were 16th?

Based on his record at Birmingham, Eck actually finished 4th bottom! His side took 24 points from 24 games while Reading and Fulham both took 23 and Derby just five.

But it's how he compared to the sides below Birmingham (Derby excepted) when he arrived that led to relegation. Sunderland took 29 points. Middlesbrough and Wigan both 32. That last is most damning as it was achieved by the previous Birmingham manager.

Of the other clubs in trouble when Eck took over at Birmingham, Bolton took 26 points and Spurs 34.

All played the same number of games.

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Post by lbb » Tue May 13, 2008 11:34 am

I don't know their exact position. I just found an article prior to his first game in charge that described them being one point off relegation - no reference to their league position.

One thing I learned from McLeish at Rangers is that he never knows when to shut his mouth. He's repeated the same trick at Birmingham - criticising the team he inherited and was relying upon to save his skin and, speaking before the derby with Villa, that Martin O'Neill has got a better record in derby games because 'he had better teams'. I wonder if, after the 5-1 mauling, he had time to reflect that maybe he should stop viewing the world from Martin O'Neill's nostrils.

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Post by problemchild » Tue May 13, 2008 6:39 pm

He came damn close to saving Hibs from relegation. I can't remember if it was a draw or victory needed against Dundee United at home on the last day, but we were in front at one point, needless to say losing in the end, 2-1. For his flaws, he gave us the Joy of Sauzee, and Latapy.

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Post by StAndrewsHMFC » Thu May 15, 2008 11:30 am

To be fair, while McLeish did sign Lapaty and Sauzee when he took over in January 98 Hibs had only just hit the bottom and were only a point or so behind Aberdeen, but by the time they played United they were 5 points adrift with 2 to play. They had to beat United and Killie and hope that other results went their way.

I never understood why McLeish was so highly rated, he took over a good Motherwell squad assembled by McLean and after a settling in period tried his hardest to get them relegated; went to Hibs and finally succeeded in taking a team down. I know Hibs had an excellent season in 2000-01, but they were in the lower half of the table by time he left, and his Rangers side hardly set the world on fire.

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Post by the hibLOG » Thu May 15, 2008 4:43 pm

StAndrewsHMFC wrote: and his Rangers side hardly set the world on fire.
Yeh, he never got them relegated though, useless twat.
Fraser

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Post by LEATHERSTOCKING » Thu May 15, 2008 5:40 pm

I always thought McLeish was a lucky manager. Lucky in that he was fairly rank @ Fir Park & Easter Road after, as St.Andrews says, he took over reasonable sides. His Hibs` record from November onwards was dire. His luck continued when he was invited to take over @ Govan at a time when the Selatic were in a poor state but the advent of the sainted Martin across the city was when the lucky white heather began to wilt. It was hardly his brillient tactical mind that shoved the national team along IMHO but that of the late lamented Toammy and a sudden, almost inexplicable gelling of very disparate parts. He`s out of his depth in England`s Premiership - oops, sorry Championship. Walterwallcarpeting is the same. He did well to keep the FGR winning I`ll grant you but against what? Again a Parkhead club in diasarray & the Dons struggling to keep up financlially (the castigation of Willie Miller for "only" finishing a close runners up brings a wry smile today), the rest nowhere but once he was chucked out by Sir Davy he was shown up when a) he couldn`t get a job then b) he couldn`t even get Everton into a European challenging place & c) he was the only candidate for the Escocia job. Like big Eck after him, it wasn`t a miracle getting the brave boys in blue to stop losing every game - player respect (he`s a real "rough diamond" in his gruff football wise manner - talking the player`s language) and making it difficult to beat. Even Andy Roxburgh and Craig Brown had one out two of these attributes. My belief is "Never go back" & I didn`t think he`d do anything for the FGR second time round but he`s actually done well on a relativly limited budget (relative only to opponents in Europe this season - NOT the benighted Scottish scene where it business as usual with all but the Glasgow Giants working on half a shoestring (come on Romanov & Milne - stump up for some half decent players). It`s been a very poor season for quality in the top division as St.Johnstone, Partick & QOS have shown (even Queen`s Park only lost narrowly to Hibs in the League Cup) despite what the media has been trying to drum thump. How many points behind will Motherwell finish in 3rd place? Bloody nearly a record I think. Smith isn`t a tactical genius so I wouldn`t put much money on Rangers being transformed next season into a sparkling free flowing joy to behold after spending the millions they`ve made from this season`s Euro foray. Once again Sir Murraymint should be challenged by the faithfull to confirm the level of achievement he`ll find satisfactory if Wattie doesn`t, as I suspect, replicate this year`s success in 2009 or 2010.

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Post by lbb » Mon May 19, 2008 8:48 am

It's a common complaint about McLeish but it's one I don't think has any merit.

It's true he inherited a decent Motherwell team and one that had just finished 3rd in the table - McLeish going one better the following season with the same team. This, however, had taken Tommy McLean 10 years to achieve. It can hardly be said to be typical of Motherwell's positions, even under McLean, to be in the top 3 in the regular basis. However good Motherwell were when McLeish took over, it should be pointed out that Celtic were in a perilous state and the rest of the league was of a fairly ordinary standard which undoubtedly helped them to finish high up in the table in those two seasons. It was always going to be difficult to maintain that standard in the league. I don't see how it can be levelled as poor management to keep Motherwell in the SPL.

It can hardly be argued that he made Hibs worse given they were bottom of the table when he arrived. He managed to get them promoted at the first time of asking, took them to their first Scottish Cup Final in 22 years and their highest league position in years. Yet you still meet people who parrot 'oh aye, McLeish made Hibs worse, so he did'.

I fail to see how it can be argued that he did well at Ibrox until 'the advent of the sainted Martin' - O'Neill had been at Celtic Park for 18 months by the time McLeish took over at Rangers. He proceeded to win the two domestic trophies available to him in his first season, the Treble the following season and it took 'the sainted Martin' over a year to record a victory against his team.

There will always be a debate as to how it ended for McLeish at Rangers and whether it was down to poor transfer judgement and man-management or whether he was the fall guy for the downsizing that took place at Ibrox post-2003. It might even possible to consider both these factors - he was unlucky in the backing he received from the board but did not always help himself with wise use of the budgets he did receive. I thought, in the end, the pressure of the job became too much for him, tbh.

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Post by bobby s » Mon May 19, 2008 9:26 am

Funny old thing memories.

Hibs were 8th when he left, 2 points ahead of 11th.

I always thought that McLeish's biggest quality was that he was able to get more out of another managers players, ie initially he got better results than the managers he took over from.

Where he absolutely stunk was in the transfer market. He got a few gems, but for every gem there was a couple of overpaid stinkers. He could never build on his initial success at any club I thought.

He did always know when to bail out before he got fired though. He's not called teflon don for nothing.
It's the Hope I can't stand

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Post by lbb » Mon May 19, 2008 9:46 am

How many managers do sustain success though? Unless you're Ferguson or Wenger, most managers have a limited shelf life. I used to regard 4 or 5 years as the average for a manager but now I suspect it's dropped down to 2 or 3 years.

Walter Smith was at Rangers for 7 years previously and was being asked this season if, after 18 months, he would move on at the end of this season (albeit this was in the context of a quadruple bid). A lot of Celtic fans would like Gordon Strachan to go this summer even if, as seems likely, he wins a third successive title. Supporters, players, the media, chairmen - everyone seems to agitate for management change much more quickly now.

I wonder how much of Alex McLeish's supposed 'failures after initial success' is down to this incessant demand for change. Boredom seems to set in much more quickly now and there's little time to enjoy any success you do achieve - you're under immediate pressure to repeat it or better it. Two years before McLeish arrived at Easter Road, Hibs had just dismissed their manager of 10 years standing, Alex Miller. It's scarcely believable now that Hibs, or any SPL club, would have the same manager for 10 years.

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