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McLeish won't walk away from Blues
Published : 04 May 2009 07:22:04
Goals from Keith Fahey and Kevin Phillips saw Blues beat Reading 2-1 at the Madejski Stadium on Sunday to clinch second place in the Championship. But McLeish's future overshadowed the celebrations for Blues as a host of reports claimed he was ready to end his tenure at the club. He said: "This is not the time to talk about my future, it's a time for celebration. "I have heard that there is speculation about my future but it is wide of the mark to say I will walk away. "You will have to ask the board but as far as I know I'll be here next season." McLeish said: "People ask me if I have had a rift with the chairman and I think that is wide of the mark. I am astonished to hear that. "He is in the dressing room every week wishing me well. I get text messages from the chairman when it is has not gone so well, keeping the support up. "I really appreciate that. That is a godsend when you are on a low, when you get a text message from your boss when you are a bit down." Gold echoed McLeish's sentiments as he revealed his desire to see Birmingham establish themselves amongst the elite after two relegations and two promotions in the past four seasons. He said: "I read 'I have not got a relationship with Alex McLeish' and that drives you mad. "You were bound to get the stories with no foundation with no quotes on the day of the biggest game of the day. "I repeat, there is no foundation to that. "It has been a very long season and we have had our ups and downs and it has been tense at times. "People were saying that sometimes we weren't playing the right kind of football and system but I remember at the start of the season saying 'Alex - get us promoted'. "I didn't say 'how' but the job was to get us promoted and the manager has delivered and you can't ask for more success than that." Blues thoroughly deserved the win on Sunday as Damien Johnson and skipper Lee Carsley bossed the midfield. They went ahead when Marcus Hahnemann failed to gather Fahey's low shot before Phillips made it 2-0 on the hour. Substitute Marek Matejovsky hammered in a reply for Reading but they were unable to find an equaliser as the Blues celebrated a promotion they should have wrapped up weeks ago. McLeish said: "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 boss Steve Coppell admitted afterwards that he never thought his side would seal promotion. The Royals have now gone eight games at the Madejski without a win - a run stretching back to a victory over champions Wolves at the end of January - and have limped into the play-offs where they will face Burnley. 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."