McLeish pays the price as Aston Villa sack manager after miserable campaign
14:50 GMT, 14 May 2012
Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish has been sacked following a meeting with chief executive Paul Faulkner.
McLeish said goodbye to his backroom staff at the club's Bodymoor Heath training complex on Monday morning.
And Villa confirmed McLeish's departure via a club statement on Monday afternoon.
End of the road: Alex McLeish leaves Aston Villa's Bodymoor Heath training ground after his contract was terminated
The statement 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.'
Paul Lambert and Roberto Martinez are the early frontrunners for the job at Villa Park.
Owner Randy Lerner said: '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 instil a sense of confidence that Villa is on the right track have been plainly absent.
Axed: Villa boss Alex McLeish (pointing) has gone following a disappointing campaign
Selected odds on Villa's next boss
5-4 Paul Lambert
9-4 Roberto Martinez
11-1 Rafa Benitez
12-1 Neil Lennon
20-1 Steve Bruce
Odds supplied by Paddy Power
'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.'
Monday's meeting took place as the dust settled on a 2-0 defeat in the final game of the season as Villa finished in 16th place in the Premier League table.
Faulkner said: 'We'd like to thank Alex for his hard work and efforts throughout this tough season.
'We are mindful of the club's need to
prepare thoroughly for the new campaign and for the new manager to be
able to begin working with the board so that he is quickly immersed in
these preparations and also in the long-term objectives of the club.
'Our focus now will be driven by these imperatives and we will update when appropriate.'
Fan-fare: Villa supporters let McLeish know what they think at Carrow Road
Fans called for McLeish to be shown
the door and for Paul Lambert to replace his fellow Scot during Sunday's match.
a one-sided game, when the home crowd saluted their manager with chants
of 'There's only one Paul Lambert', the away section wasted no time in
echoing the sentiment.
On Sunday, Lambert, asked if he'd still be at Carrow Road next season, took an age to answer, and did not quash the speculation.
He said: 'It's a hard question to answer – let's wait and see.'
First-half goals by Grant Holt, taking his season's tally to 17, and Simeon Jackson earned an easy win for the Canaries.
Holt end: Grant Holt hit Norwich's first goal in a victory that ended a poor season for Villa
Holt bundled in at the far post from a Bradley Johnson free-kick before Jackson intercepted Carlos Cuellar's back-header.
said after the match: 'That was unacceptable but I still believe I can turn this club
around. It is frustrating to watch that sort of stuff and not easy. It's been torture.'
McLeish has had to contend with
slashing the wage bill, which he described as astronomical, and has been
deprived of several key players through injury or illness.
The likes of record signing Darren
Bent, key defender Richard Dunne and skipper Stiliyan Petrov have been
sidelined for lengthy spells and McLeish has had to put the accent on
McLeish always stressed it would be a
season of transition after replacing Gerard Houllier last summer, but it
was still a surprise that Villa only made sure of survival last
Going close: Emile Heskey fires in a shot but Villa were to leave empty-handed
Their tally of 38 points is actually one less than when McLeish was relegated with Birmingham last campaign.
Villa have also encountered their worst season in their history in terms of their home record in registering just four wins.
Lerner is now searching for a fourth manager in less than
Martin O'Neill quit in the summer of
2010 and Houllier had to leave Villa last summer on health grounds,
which led to McLeish's controversial appointment after leaving Blues.
Early bird: The Canaries scored quickly thanks to Holt and never looked back