Gold Perplexed By McLeish Rumours

>Birmingham chairman David Gold expects manager Alex McLeish to see out his contract with the club after guiding them to promotion to the Barclays Premier League.

McLeish - expected to see out contract

Goals from Keith Fahey and Kevin Phillips saw the Blues beat Reading 2-1 at the Madejski Stadium to clinch second place in the table and join near neighbours Wolves in winning automatic promotion from the Coca-Cola Championship.

But after the celebrations died down Gold and McLeish were forced to deny that the former Scotland manager was ready to walk away from the club after reports suggested he had fallen out of favour in the boardroom.

Gold said: “I don’t know where this comes from.

“Look at our longevity. Of all the managers we have employed, I have only sacked Barry Fry, and if I could I wouldn’t have done that.

“We have longevity with our managers.

“I am unaware of any of this, something about he may walk away. He is contracted. I think it was a three-year contract, it’s never occurred to me this, and he’s probably got two more years on his contract.”

McLeish himself insisted his future was not up to him but remained coy when asked about his working relationship with managing director Karren Brady.

Brady’s weekly national newspaper column has caused controversy this season but McLeish refused to discuss whether it was a point of contention in the boardroom.

He said: “Karren Brady blew me a kiss after the game so I think I am back in.

“Of course I blew one back.

“It was a tough season and as hard a season as I have ever endured and I have been in relegation tussles in Scotland.

“You just feel the burden of how much it means to this club.

“But it is a good working relationship with everyone.

“We’ll see what the next few days bring. We will meet the lads again on Tuesday and have a wee drink.

“Something appeared in Scotland about my future but I don’t know – you would need to ask the board. It is wide of the mark to say that I want to walk away.”

While Gold was forced to deny reports that McLeish will leave the club after the win, co-owner David Sullivan insisted that he had no doubt that the Blues would clinch second place.

He said: “It’s a draining day. You are looking at the scores all the time. At two-nil, I thought we had done it.

“Then we concede a goal straight away and you think we’ve got to do it the hard way all over again.

“Is this the sweetest promotion? Yes, it is.

“I’m delighted for Alex, delighted for the players, delighted for everyone.

“I expected us to do it. If you look at all my interviews from the start of the season, I said we would be promoted. I said there would be ups and downs but we would be promoted.”

By Tom Rostance, PA Sport

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