Aston Villa axe Kevin MacDonald following investigation into bullying claims

By Matt Maher | Aston Villa | Published:

Villa have axed long-serving coach Kevin MacDonald following an independent investigation into historic bullying allegations.

Kevin MacDonald.

The club confirmed the 58-year-old had left his position as head of football development with immediate effect.

It follows an eight-month inquiry into his past conduct, carried out on behalf of the club by barrister Jack Mitchell.

MacDonald, who served as reserve and youth team boss during two spells over a 25-year period, had already been re-allocated to non-player duties following allegations made last December by former Villa midfielder Gareth Farrelly.

Mitchell, who was appointed by the club’s chief executive Christian Purslow, had appealed for former players to come forward and assist with his investigation

A Villa statement read: “Aston Villa wishes to apologise to all former players who were affected by behaviour which would not be tolerated by the club today.”

A previous bullying complaint against MacDonald, brought by a player and his father, had been upheld by the FA in 2017 but he was allowed to remain in a coaching position.

That prompted Farrelly, who was with Villa between 1992 and 1997 and described MacDonald’s regime as a ‘culture of physical and verbal bullying’, to speak out.

Copies of Mitchell’s investigation have been sent to the FA, with Villa claiming their approach to safeguarding is now ‘unrecognisable from the past’.

MacDonald’s time at Villa Park included three spells as caretaker manager, the most recent last October following the sacking of Steve Bruce.

The club say the search for his successor is already underway.

Matt Maher

By Matt Maher

Chief sports writer for the Express & Star.


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