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McLeish will not quit Birmingham

Birmingham boss Alex McLeish
McLeish applauds the Birmingham fans after the win at Reading

Birmingham boss Alex McLeish dismissed reports that he was set to leave the club after guiding them back to the Premier League at the first attempt.

City beat Reading 2-1 at the Madejski Stadium to clinch second place in the Championship and automatic promotion.

McLeish, who has been in charge for 18 months, said: "I've heard that there is speculation about my future but it is wide of the mark to say I'll walk away.

"As far as I know I'll be here but you'll have to ask the board."

Blues chairman David Gold told BBC Radio 5 Live he does not understand why rumours persist about McLeish's future.

"I really don't know where this speculation has come from," said Gold.

"I mean there's been no question or any doubt whatsoever that Alex McLeish will be our manager next season and we are looking forward to the challenge of the Premier League."

McLeish resigned as Scotland manager to succeed Steve Bruce on a three-and-a-half-year deal at St Andrew's in November 2007 but he was unable to keep Blues in the Premier League last season.

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And although goals from Keith Fahey and Kevin Phillips ensured an instant return to the top flight for his side, speculation continues to circulate that he is set to leave following reported problems with the Birmingham board earlier in the campaign.

"This is not the time to talk about my future, it's a time for celebration," insisted McLeish.

"It's up there with the greatest achievements I've had in the game.

"It's massive financially to get into the Premier League and there are a lot of big teams in this league who can't get up there.

"It was massive pressure on us after blowing it against Preston.

"It was as hard a season as I have ever endured and there was the burden of promotion on us all season." Reading manager Steve Coppell was not overly disconsolate after the defeat ended his side's chances of securing automatic promotion.

The Royals have not won in eight games at home and will play Burnley in the play-offs.

But Coppell said: "I would describe myself as neutrally disappointed as before the game I wasn't expecting to go up.

"I'm not being wise after the event but I never thought we would go up this afternoon.

"It didn't turn out the way I thought, I must admit, but you look at the table and we're fourth. Where you finish is no accident.

"If we focused on all our missed opportunities this season we'd be crying into our beer for a long, long time.

"Over the last third of the season we've not been good enough and the table shows that.

"We gave away two terrible goals and you can't afford to do that. We only responded after going two down but that was too little too late."



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see also
Birmingham clinch top-flight spot
03 May 09 |  Championship
Championship photos
03 May 09 |  Championship
McLeish hopes 'buzzing' Blues can go up
01 May 09 |  Football
Gold convinced Blues will go up
26 Mar 09 |  Birmingham
McLeish leaves Scotland for Blues
27 Nov 07 |  Football
McLeish rejects Scots exit talk
19 Nov 07 |  Internationals
Ups and downs
03 May 09 |  Football


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