Birmingham manager Alex McLeish is hoping promotion to the Premier League will signal an end to his current transfer policy. The Blues boss has spent most of this season working with players brought in on free-transfers or loan deals, but still managed to achieve second spot in the Championship and an instant return to the top flight. And ‘Big Eck’ is now hoping the added money earnt from promotion can be used to buy players who will remain at the club on a long-term basis. “When you bring in free transfers and you dabble in loan signings it’s a little bit like car-crash management,” he told The Sun.
“The infrastructure is much more difficult. It’s not necessarily a recipe for success just to pay the wages, you have to invest in the transfer market.” City’s season has been overshadowed - at times - by tales of a rift between McLeish and the Blues’ boardroom, after managing director Karren Brady slated the former Rangers boss in her newspaper column. The Birmingham board were believed to be considering the Scot's future had he not led the team to promotion, and McLeish admits he was feeling the pressure.
“Last week I thought ‘Am I going to be a nearly man in England?’ It can be such a fine line between failure and success," he said.
“The board have been through a bit of trauma as well, with wrongdoing allegations, so we have been a bit tetchy at times.
“And maybe at times the board feel that with the investment they have made in wages, we should have been ahead a bit earlier.” However, co-owner David Gold has praised McLeish's efforts this season, and has revealed his hopes for a united team next season as the Blues bid to avoid an instant return to the Championship.
“It’s been a tough season and Alex has rallied the troops and done a remarkable job to keep the spirits going,” he said.
“You don’t want to see any weakness, whether it’s a couple of players not pulling with you, or part of the management team that goes a bit sour, or one of the directors, or indeed a big section of the fans.”comments