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Aston Villa part ways with Alex McLeish

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A day after the end of an extremely disappointing season, Aston Villa have sacked manager Alex McLeish. Villa finished a lowly 17th, just two points off the relegation zone and the owner Randy Lerner has decided that the buck stops with the manager, thus relieving McLeish 11 months into his job. The Scotsman was always up against it as the fans were extremely unhappy with the club appointing the then Birmingham City manager. The turmoil spread after Ashley Young and Stewart Downing were sold in the summer. Villa then lost Darren Bent, Richard Dunne and Stiliyan Petrov for extended spells, which contributed to the club’s worst ever home record in a season as they picked up just four victories at Villa Park.

An official statement from the club read: “Aston Villa can confirm that Alex McLeish's contract has been terminated with immediate effect. The club has been disappointed with this season's results, performances and the general message these have sent to our fans. The board wishes to assure supporters that we are conscious in every sense that Villa expects and deserves more and we will strive to deliver this. ”

A total of 17 draws highlights the negative ethos imbibed by the former Aberdeen player, and the fans have been clamoring for his exit all season long. Villa have a core of very talented young players and on the whole have a squad capable of finishing in the Top seven.

And Lerner hit the nail on the head when he spoke about the sacking, “We need to be clear and candid with ourselves and with supporters about what we have lacked in recent years. Compelling play and results that instill a sense of confidence that Villa is on the right track have been plainly absent.  The most immediate action that we can take is to look carefully at our options in terms of bringing in a new manager who sees the club's potential and embraces our collective expectations."

The possible replacements are already being discussed, with Roberto Martinez and Paul Lambert mentioned as the favourites. Martinez turned down an offer from Villa last summer and with Wigan finishing above Villa in the league his decision was validated.