Question Marks Over McLeish's Future

Richard Smith by Richard Smith / 23 May 2011, 10:07

Alex McLeish faces a nervous wait over his future after he failed to keep Birmingham City in the Premier League. Following Birmingham's relegation to the Championship on the last day of the season, the Scot stated that he is totally committed to the Blues and is determined to galvernise his troops and spearhead an instant return to the top flight. The board are yet to publically back McLeish, which raises questions over whether they truly believe that McLeish is the right man to guide them back to the Premier League.

Birmingham's 2-1 defeat to Tottenham, coupled with results elsewhere, condemned them to relegation on a rollercoaster final day of the season. The Midlands club started the day just one place outside the relegation zone in 17th place, and up until Stephen Hunt's dramatic 87th minute goal for Wolves, they had looked to have survived by the skin of their teeth. But, football is a cruel game, and that goal alongside Wigan's impressive 1-0 win away to Stoke meant that Birmingham were relegated for the third time in six seasons.

Since they won the Carling Cup against Arsenal in February, Birmingham have freefalled, picking up just nine points from their 13 games, including five defeats in their final six matches. It appears that the players and perhaps the management took their foot off the peddle following their first major cup win since 1963, and as a result have paid the ultimate price – relegation to the Championship. McLeish will have to take a lions share of the blame for this as his uninspired team showed a lack of fight and passion needed to survive a relegation battle. Yes the club is in a state of financialy difficulty and yes they have been unlucky with injuries, but they should never have allowed themselves to be dragged into this position.

One small positive for Birmingham in their current pit of despair is they will participate in next season's Europa League as a result of winning the Carling Cup. Whether this will be a distraction alongside their push for promotion remains to be seen. West Ham owners David Gold and David Sullivan are reportedly keen on McLeish and Paddy Power currently have the 52-year-old at 3/1 to become the next West Ham manager.

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