ALEX MCLEISH’S DEPARTURE from Birmingham City was today thrown into doubt following reports that his resignation was rejected by the club’s board.
McLeish had previously given notice of his decision to quit via email in a move that left club chairman Peter Pannu fuming.
Pannu has threatened to sue McLeish and will be seeking compensation after the Scottish manager signed a long-term contract with the club in November 2007, from which there are two-and-a-quarter years left until it expires.
Speaking to the Daily Express, Pannu expressed his frustration with McLeish’s decision, saying the move comes in spite of the club signing all four players that McLeish identified as summer transfer targets: Chris Burke, Marlon King, Morgaro Gomis and Danny Koevermans. The chairman added:
“He is still our contracted staff and Birmingham City FC does not grant him any right to speak to any outsiders until the matter is resolved. I’ll be meeting my legal team. It’s about time discipline is instilled into this game and I am not a person who gets pushed about.”
After McLeish had made his intentions clear, there was widespread speculation that he was on his way to club rivals Aston Villa.
However, Villa made no official approach for the Scot and the latest legal ramifications are likely to be another stumbling block towards any potential move.
In addition, following their hostile reception of news linking Steve McClaren to the manager’s seat, it seems unlikely fans would embrace McLeish, given his history with bitter rivals Birmingham and his record with the club, which has seen them relegated from the Premier League twice in three seasons.
Having taken over in 2007, McLeish failed to prevent Birmingham being relegated from the Premier League. He guided them to an instant return to the top division and steered the club to a ninth-place finish last season.
Yet despite winning the Carling Cup this year and performing well in the early parts of the year, Birmingham suffered a poor run of form that ultimately led to their relegation on the final day of the season.