EXCLUSIVE: Aston Villa fans take out ad in protest against furious McLeish
23:37 GMT, 4 May 2012
Aston Villa supporters have cranked up the pressure on Alex McLeish by taking out an advert in a local paper and calling for him to be sacked.
One of the fans' websites has held an online whipround and stumped up 700 to book space on the back of Saturday's Birmingham Mail.
Under pressure: McLeish is feeling the heat from Aston Villa's fans
Details of the advert were being put together on Friday night by the paper's staff but under the heading 'We told you so', fans have made public their disquiet.
Although the newspaper and club enjoy a close relationship, editors had little choice but to allow the advertisement, placed by myoldmansaid.com, as it is not offensive.
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Tempers flare: Video footage shows Chris Herd (white shirt) being held back while James Collins stands in the background
Herd then moves back while Fabian Delph (foreground) tries to calm the situation down
It is just the latest in a series of
incidents to have befallen the club owned by American billionaire Randy
Lerner, who threw his full weight behind the sanctions imposed by
McLeish in light of Sportsmail's revelations that three of the club's players had gone drinking after an awards evening.
The trio – James Collins, Chris Herd and Fabian Delph – had been embroiled in unsavoury scenes outside a nightclub.
Drama: James Collins (below left) and Chris Herd (above) were involved in a stand-off with members of the club's staff, while team-mate Fabian Delph is said to have acted as peacemaker in the incident
McLeish, who has fined them, said: 'We won't tolerate that kind of behaviour – rules have been broken.
an embarrassment. A slur on the club. I feel for Randy Lerner and for
the fans of Aston Villa FC. 'It reflects on the lack of respect they
have for their profession. I'm not going to tolerate it.'
McLeish added: 'Maybe they thought we wouldn't do anything about it. But we have.
what we are fighting for, I'm all the more baffled. We just don't need
this now. 'I hope it's an isolated incident. But clearly it's (a
drinking culture) still out there.'
SORRY ISN'T THE HARDEST WORD
JAMES COLLINS APOLOGY
'I'm sorry for what has happened and I take responsibility for my actions.
'It does not show me in a very good light and does not put the club in a very good light.
'I know I should not have been out in
a club with my wife after the end-of-season dinner at that time in the
morning and I was wrong to be in that position.
'It was a misunderstanding and was resolved quickly but I understand how it looks and I apologise for that.
'As a senior, experienced player, I understand I am in a position of responsibility.
'I let myself get into a position in which I didn't act responsibly and I apologise for this.
'It was Monday night, it was early in the week, six days before we next play and I didn't have training the next day.
'But I know I've let myself down,
I've let the club down, I've let the manager down and most of all I've
let down the fans of Aston Villa who have been great to me.
'We have a very important game of
football on Sunday at Villa Park against Tottenham and I'm looking
forward to giving my full commitment, as always, and securing three
CHRIS HERD APOLOGY
'I would like to apologise for what
happened on Monday night and I apologise for being out at that time. We
had gone to a club after the end-of-season dinner with girlfriends and
wives accompanying us.
'It was no one's intention to get involved in any trouble but I realise that my actions on the night were not acceptable.
'Even if I felt at the time that the
prior situation inside the nightclub had not been dealt with properly, I
still should not have acted in the manner in which I did. I'm sorry to
the fans and I'll do everything I can to make it up to them as they have
been fantastic since I've come into the team.
'I would also like to apologise to
the club and my immediate aim is to help the team to finish the season
strongly and to secure our position in the Premier League.'
FABIAN DELPH APOLOGY
'I'm sorry for being out on Monday
night, the early hours of Tuesday morning and I apologise to the club,
the fans, the chairman, the manager and my colleagues.
'I am injured, I won't be fit again until pre-season and I probably thought that going out would not carry any consequences.
'I was sober, I was in control of my actions and I did try to calm down the situation. I didn't hit out or strike anyone but I should not have been there and I was wrong to be in this position.'