McLeish to stay as Blues chief

The Blues board acted within 24 hours of the 2-1 defeat at
Tottenham, which confirmed their relegation, to state McLeish is
the man they want to lead them out of the Championship. But there
is no doubt McLeish will have a very different squad at his
disposal when the Championship campaign gets under way in August
after the loss of around £25 million in revenue via
relegation. McLeish said: “I will speak to them. There are one or
two that are out of contract and we have to decide what is
happening. “Some of the guys will have other options and we
appreciate that. “The fact is we are in the Championship and not
the Premier League and I’m sure they’ll have choices. “It’s tough
on us to be relegated but we don’t lie down and bury our heads in
the sand. “We’ve got to get on with the next challenge. We’ve got
to show leadership.” The likes of Sebastian Larsson, Kevin
Phillips, Martin Jiranek and Lee Bowyer are at the end of their
current contracts. Alexander Hleb, David Bentley, Matt Derbyshire
and Obafemi Martins will return to their parent clubs after loan
spells. Ben Foster, Roger Johnson, Scott Dann, Cameron Jerome and
Nikola Zigic could be targets for Premier League predators. McLeish
led City to promotion in his first full season, their ninth-place
finish in 2009-2010 was their highest in the top flight and this
season they lifted the Carling Cup. But the statement from acting
chairman Peter Pannu makes it clear that regaining Premier League
status in 2011-2012 is of paramount importance. Pannu told
bcfc.com: “The board regrets yesterday’s result and subsequent
relegation and feels that supporters, who have continued to back us
magnificently, have been let down. “The club can confirm that
manager Alex McLeish’s job is safe but that the board will expect
him to lead the side back to the Barclays Premier League in the
2011-12 season.” Pannu added: “The board will take stock of what
went wrong this season despite Carson Yeung’s promised injection of
£40million in funds – not £80m as the media wrongly
assumed. “The board will closely discuss and implement appropriate
procedures to ensure a speedy return to the top flight. “Finally a
word for our terrific supporters, who are no doubt feeling the pain
today like everyone else connected with the club. “We thank you for
your tremendous backing – something we are confident we will still
have moving forward as we embark on looking to make an immediate
return to the Barclays Premier League.”