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New boss McLeish begins bridge building with Villa fans

Recently appointed Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish has begun the task of winning over the sceptical Villa supporters with a meeting of a number of the club's fans. McLeish has come under fire from a section of Villa fans unhappy at him being appointed due to his time as manager of bitter city rivals Birmingham.

On Wednesday lunchtime half a dozen prominent Villa followers spoke with him at the club's Bodymoor Heath training ground.

McLeish outlined his plans for the club and listened to any issues the group wanted raise in a meeting lasting more than an hour.

Jonathan Fear, editor of the Vital Villa fans' website, said: "It was a good positive, open meeting and I don't think anyone left with long faces.

"Some people might look at this as a cynical PR exercise but Alex McLeish wanted to meet some of the fans and put his points across and listen to what people had to say.

"He asked for the meeting and he is going to ask for more fans' forums.

"We all asked everything we felt was relevant and he answered it and wanted to be open and honest.

"He could have hidden away and it would have been easier not to front up to things."

Fear believes it is time for everyone to pull in the right direction at Villa.

He said: "The whole club needs it. Everyone has had their opinions and now everyone should support the club.

"Let everyone give the manager the chance to show what he can do. He deserves that."

 It's kicking off again! Click here for your No1 source for Aston Villa transfer market news and gossip.

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Dave Williams

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