Fans protest against Alex McLeish at Aston Villa

Angry fans descended on Villa Park to vent their fury at the club over the expected appointment of former Birmingham boss Alex McLeish as their new manager.

Angry fans descended on Villa Park to vent their fury at the club over the expected appointment of former Birmingham boss Alex McLeish as their new manager.

Around 1,000 passionate supporters bearing placards belted out songs voicing their disapproval outside the Holte End and held up traffic with a sit-down protest outside the Doug Ellis Stand last night.

The Villa fans eventually breached the gates of the North Stand and spilled into the club car park, while officials tried to move on some of the broadcast media who were filming the scenes.

At no stage did the protest spill over in violence and the small number of police that were present confirmed there had been no arrests.

The majority of fans were keen to stress that it was not just the fact that McLeish was coming directly from their bitter rivals, but that he was a manager who they did not deem of sufficient quality.

James Smith, 65, a retired plumber from Sandwell, believes the Villa board should reconsider appointing McLeish before they alienate more supporters.

He said: “It is a decision which has baffled and confused a lot fans myself included and they need to think again before they appoint McLeish. At the end of the day, he took Blues down.

“You only have to look at the different range of people here to see how much of an important issue this is to Villa fans.

"Hopefully, Randy Lerner will now stand up and listen.”

News of the protest spread by text message and via the internet and Kirsty Williams, a 19-year-old student from Stourbridge, felt duty bound to attend when she got word of it on a protest page on Facebook which has attracted over 16,000 fans.

She said: “As soon I heard about the protest I got straight on the train to Villa Park because the club needs to hear how the fans feel.

“When someone first told me about the talks to bring McLeish I thought it was a wind-up but, now that it is a reality, I’m even more angry.

"He is simply not good enough for us.”

Steve Hughes, 43, an electrician from Erdington, admitted he will now think long and hard about whether to renew his season ticket at Villa if McLeish is appointed.

He said: “I have been a season-ticket holder at Villa for about 15 years now but I must be honest - the appointment of Alex McLeish would make me think twice about renewing for the new season.

“I know a lot of other supporters feel the same way. This club belongs to the fans and if nothing else this is a reminder to Randy Lerner that the club is nothing without us.”

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