McLeish completes move

Both Birmingham and Derby unveil new managers.

    Alex McLeish (l) poses with chairman David Gold 
    Former Scotland manager Alex McLeish has finalised his move to English Premier League club Birmingham, a day after resigning from the national post.

    The 48-year-old Scotsman takes over from Steve Bruce, who left the club after six years last week to join Wigan.

    Birmingham is 16th in the Premier League with 11 points, and travels to Tottenham on Sunday.

    McLeish signed a 3.5 year contract and will be joined by assistant coaches Roy Aitken and Andy Watson, who worked with him at the Scotland team.

    "I absolutely loved my time as coach of the national team," McLeish said.

    "But it rekindled my passion of being able to work with players every day.

    "I have always harbored a desire to manage in the Premier League and I am really excited about the challenge."

    McLeish nearly guided the Scots to qualification for the 2008 European Championship in a group that included Italy and France.

    McLeish played for Aberdeen and Motherwell as a center half and made 77 appearances for Scotland.

    As a manager, he's coached Motherwell, Hibernian and Rangers, which he led from 2001 to 2006.

    Takeover troubles

    Bruce is believed to have left Birmingham because the club's potential new owner, Hong Kong businessman Carson Yeung, would not endorse a contract extension.

    "It was a bizarre situation in the sense that a takeover board won't allow you to enhance an existing contract, in this instance Steve's, but you can offer a brand new contract to a brand new person," Birmingham chairman David Gold said.

    In July, Yeung's company Grandtop International Holding Ltd. completed a deal to buy 29.91 percent of Birmingham shares, with a view to a takeover.

    Gold said he wasn't sure it would go ahead.

    "Two weeks ago, I said it was 75 per cent on and now I think it is below 50 percent, only time will tell," Gold said.

    "We, the board, must act as if the takeover will not happen and make decisions in the best interests of the club, which is what we have done in appointing Alex."

    Derby bring in Jewell

    Paul Jewell: Ready to rescue the Rams
    Meanwhile, Paul Jewell was appointed as the new manager of Derby, the last-place team in the Premier League.

    Jewell signed a 3.5 year contract to replace Billy Davies, who left the club on Monday.

    Derby, which lost 2-0 to Chelsea on Saturday, has won only one game from 14 this season and is at the bottom of the 20-club standings with six points.

    Jewell, who quit as Wigan manager six months ago after keeping the club in the Premier League on the final day of the season, acknowledged he will have a tough task preventing Derby from being relegated.

    "I'm not here to make false promises, but if I don't believe we can stay up, if the players don't, then we have got no chance," he told reporters at his unveiling.

    "I'm not here to raise the white flag. It's going to be difficult, but we are not adrift. We have got to work together to try to get out of this."

    Jewell received a call from Derby chairman Adam Pearson on Tuesday and a deal was reached immediately.

    "It was the first time I've spoken to him ever," Jewell said.

    Pearson called him "the standout candidate with regards to managerial experience."

    "I couldn't think of anyone else I would rather go into battle with," he said.

    Jewell will be in charge for Saturday's game against Sunderland.

    "We're in a struggling situation but all is not lost and I'm here for the long term to try and get the club strong and upward and in the right direction," he said.

    "Every challenge is a big challenge, be it Bradford, Sheffield Wednesday or Wigan, but this one really excites me. There is a lot of history in this football club but the history doesn't count for a lot these days. I think we can move the club forward."

    SOURCE: Agencies


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