Aston Villa Fires Coach Alex McLeish After One Season in Charge

Aston Villa fired coach Alex McLeish following a year in the job after the Birmingham soccer club finished two places above the relegation zone in England’s Premier League.

“We need to be clear and candid with ourselves and with supporters about what we have lacked in recent years,” Chairman Randy Lerner said in a statement on Villa’s website. “Compelling play and results that instil a sense of confidence that Villa is on the right track have been plainly absent.”

The team hired McLeish in June after he resigned from crosstown rival Birmingham, which had been relegated. He was Villa’s third manager in nine months. Martin O’Neill quit five days before the start of the season and Gerard Houllier stepped down because of heart problems.

Villa finished in 16th place, two points and two places above the teams that are sent down into the second-division Championship.

Supporters of Villa called for Paul Lambert’s appointment during a 2-0 loss to his Norwich team yesterday.

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