McLeish is now rumoured to be a candidate for the Aston Villa job following Gerard Houllier's departure  [EPA]

After a season that saw Alex McLeish secure Birmingham City their first trophy for 48 years – and then relegation from the English Premier League – the Blues boss has handed in his resignation. 

"Birmingham City Football Club can confirm Alex McLeish has resigned as manager," said a statement on the club's website on Sunday.

"Acting chairman Peter Pannu received an e-mail resignation from McLeish earlier today while away on business in Amsterdam," the statement added.

McLeish established his managerial reputation at Motherwell, Hibernian and Rangers before taking over as Scotland manager in January 2007.

It proved a short-lived appointment as he moved south to replace Steve Bruce at Birmingham in November of that year.

Birmingham were relegated at the end of his first season but he brought them immediately back up for the 2009/10 Premier League campaign where they finished ninth, their highest position for more than half a century.

Moving to rivals?

This year they shocked Arsenal in the League Cup final but the success was followed by dramatic decline in their league form that ended with their relegation after a last-day defeat at Tottenham Hotspur.

Before his resignation, British media had already linked McLeish with a potentially controversial move across the city to take over the vacant Aston Villa manager's job following the resignation of Gerard Houllier through ill health. Local bookmakers now make McLeish an odds-on favourite for that role following Birmingham's announcement.

McLeish was not the only managerial casualty on Sunday as Nottingham Forest, who missed out on promotion to the Premier League via the playoffs for the second successive season, sacked manager Billy Davies after two-and-a-half years in the job.

Former England manager Steve McClaren is reportedly in talks with Forest about a return to English football.

After being fired by England in 2007 following a disastrous spell in charge of the national team, McClaren has coached in the Netherlands with FC Twente and in Germany with Wolfsburg. He previously had a five-year stint as Middlesbrough manager.

McClaren was sacked by Wolfsburg in February and, along with McLeish, has been linked with the vacant Aston Villa position.

Source: Agencies