Alex McLeish: The Man Who Steals A Living
by Daisy Cutter
Chewing tinfoil, challenging Eamonn Holmes to a pie-off, or turning up at your local primary school in a tracksuit and smoking a cigar; these are the only three things that come to mind that are as thunder-f***ingly stupid as employing Alex McLeish to run your football club.
Yet over the Christmas period that’s precisely what the Al Hasawi family did at Nottingham Forest thereby consigning the Midlands outfit to at least another two seasons in the Championship assuming that relegation can somehow be avoided in spite of McLeish’s failings.
Why did the new Kuwaiti owners take this colossally retarded decision? F*** knows but then again it’s a mystery how the man who looks like a pensioner’s scrotum and is an arch devotee of 1980s football has ever been granted a place in any dug-out. Not only is his archaic philosophy entrenched in direct ABC fare he is so monumentally incompetent as a man, a man-manager and a manager he can’t even implement that correctly. Instead the ginger whinger has made a career out of taking over the reins of a club and immediately blanketing it with his bleakness, nullifying any promise it previously contained, and smearing his turdish, turgid pessimism all over the changing room walls.
Fawaz Al Hasawi claimed their decision to ruthlessly discard with the services of Sean O’Driscoll in December just hours after a 4-2 win over Leeds was because they wanted someone with ‘Premier League experience’.
Firstly that in itself is a flawed criterion on which to base any appointment. Bryan Robson has Premier League experience as too does Graeme Souness, Paul Sturrock, Terry Connor and Paul Jewell. The reason these men have ‘experience’ in the past tense is because they proved themselves to be utterly inept at the highest level. The same applies in spades to McLeish.
Secondly, it may have failed to register with the owners but their new pet project is presently residing in the Championship. So surely it makes better sense to employ a gaffer with Championship experience rather than planning for a day that may never again arrive.
O’Driscoll’s credentials in the second tier were admirable; he got Doncaster Rover over-achieving there whilst playing an attractive brand of football then was in the process of finally instilling stability at Forest whilst challenging for a play-off spot.
Sadly for O’Driscoll it was exactly this steady and sensible mandate that was to be his undoing. In the modern age of foreign ownership such under-stated values was never going to cut it as filthy rich sheikhs and consortiums seek a ‘name’ to inhabit their dug-out and represent their ‘brand’. This shallow, celebrity thinking reached a fresh nadir recently with the sacking of Nigel Adkins at Southampton.
The notion that McLeish could ably represent any brand aside from Preparation H is ludicrous in the extreme but after enjoying some degree of success in Scotland with Rangers – something a lobotomised TOWIE cast member could replicate – he has now forever attained a reputation as a big-name manager. In reality he is anything but – the man has the personality of a rectal prolapse – but despite being tactically-naïve and astoundingly piss-poor at his profession he is in the elite club of famous dullards of which Mark Hughes is the current president who are habitually installed in a hotseat to replace a gaffer who knew what he was doing. Once there they are given funds the previous incumbent was deprived of, lavished with wages the previous incumbent could only dream of, and then set about infecting the club with their incompetence, dismantling anything good that was within and blaming everyone else but themselves in the process.
How the hell do they continually get away with this? Because they were once well-known players (or in McLeish’s case they enjoy a close bond with Alex Ferguson) and they talk themselves up in the press. A lot. And because the bulk of the intelligence within football lies with the supporters and even though we know they’re stealing a living we can’t do a thing besides write pieces like this.
Since arriving down south in 2007 Alex McLeish’s record has been the epitome of mediocrity. At Birmingham, Villa and now Forest there have been 72 wins, 70 draws, and 74 losses in the 216 games he has overseen. ‘Goldmember’ eats, sleeps and breathes mid-table.
But wait because those stats are misleading as they include a one-off successful promotion with Brum where his drab, dreary football-without-a-pulse somehow gained them a runner-up spot. That was in 2008 and take those 23 victories away and you’re left with four years of a steady downward trajectory mirroring what we’re already witnessing at Forest. Just a single win thus far and that was against struggling Peterborough at home. One win in six, the fans complaining of negative, unambitious football, and McLeish gruffly bemoaning at the weekend that his team need to buck their ideas up or else. It’s started already.
West Brom aside Midlands football is experiencing a lull of late. It’s no coincidence that the personality-vacuum who couldn’t manage his way out of a suit has recently been at the helm of most.
How does Alex McLeish find employment as a coach? F*** knows but as long as common sense continues to be an unappreciated commodity in football he will remain polluting the game with his dreary brand for some time yet.
Forest fans you have our deepest sympathies.