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Rediff.com  » Sports » Alex McLeish takes over as manager of Birmingham City

Alex McLeish takes over as manager of Birmingham City

November 28, 2007 19:30 IST

Birmingham City presented Alex McLeish as manager on Wednesday then cast doubt on the likelihood of Hong Kong businessman Carson Yeung taking control of the Premier League club.

McLeish, 48, resigned as Scotland coach on Tuesday after narrowly missing out on leading the country to next year's European championship finals. He replaces Steve Bruce who has moved to rivals Wigan Athletic.

"I always had the desire to come to the Premiership and I'd love to be managing in the Premiership for a considerable time," said McLeish, who signed a 3-1/2-year deal.

Birmingham chairman David Gold told the news conference the takeover board had not allowed the club to offer Bruce an improved deal but there had been no obstacle to offering a new contract to a new manager.

"It is a bit unusual and surprised us," he said, casting doubt on the ability of Yeung, the club's biggest shareholder with a 30 percent stake, to take control by a December 20 deadline.

"I started off believing that the takeover bid was 90 percent assured," he said. "A couple of weeks ago I reduced that down to 75 percent.

"I now believe it is below 50 percent, but only time will tell. What it really says is that the board must actually take charge of the football club fully, we must act as if this takeover doesn't happen.

"We are assuming now and working on the basis that the deal will not go ahead."

McLeish, a former Aberdeen defender and Rangers manager, can look forward to renewing battle with former Celtic boss Martin O'Neill, in charge at local rivals Aston Villa.

McLeish can also expect to at least double the salary Scotland were paying him, according to British newspaper reports. Birmingham are 16th in the league with 11 points from 14 matches.

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