Coming off the back of an impressive ninth-placed finish, Aston Villa were looking for a new permanent manager.
After the sacking of Gerard Houllier on April 23 2011, Gary McAllister took caretaker charge until the end of the season.
Villa managed a top-ten finish that year before and during the summer; owner Randy Lerner made a decisive appointment as manager.
On June 17, 2011, former Birmingham manager Alex McLeish was appointed permanent boss of Aston Villa.
— Aston Villa FC (@AVFCOfficial) June 17, 2011
And the initial reaction the appointment of a rival’s former manager did not go down well with the Villa faithful.
@AVFCOfficial probably won't work out all that well guys
— JARDIM FOR VILLA (@dvtavfc) August 13, 2015
— Gavin Morris (@Gavin_Morris101) February 12, 2015
During his season in charge, Villa remained unbeaten after their first seven matches which saw them seventh in the Premier League and looking impressive after their ninth place finish the previous year.
But that would be their best form of the season with an inconsistent run of form to follow.
Throughout the season, Villa failed to put back-to-back wins together and only managed seven wins.
The impressive early season form papered over the cracks and their inconsistency caused them a relegation battle, finishing 16th and just two points above the dreaded drop-zone.
Too many draws, 17 in fact, a divisional high, was the cause for Villa’s fragmented form.
And that would be it for the former Blues boss and his time at Villa Park.
The day after the season had ended, McLeish was sacked as Aston Villa boss.
— Aston Villa FC (@AVFCOfficial) May 14, 2012
The Villa faithful were glad to see the back of the former Birmingham man after a season that initially promised so much but delivered so little in what was a relegation battle for much of the year after their unbeaten start.
— Chet. (@Chet1_) April 6, 2014
The fans were against McLeish from the beginning, and he was never really given a chance by the club’s fans.
But he never was considering his affiliation with their Midlands rivals.
The initial reaction to the appointment was against the decision, and they were given what they wanted after a poor season avoiding relegation by the skin of their teeth.