When Birmingham City beat the
mighty Arsenal to lift the Carling Cup last Sunday, many neutrals in the Cayman
Islands applauded the Blues manager, Alex McLeish, for his unexpected victory,
including Jeff Webb, president of the Cayman Islands Football Association.
McLeish said his side’s Carling Cup
final victory over Arsenal at Wembley was his “greatest achievement” as a
manager. Obafemi Martins scored in the last minute of normal time to complete a
2-1 victory over the Gunners.
“I am so pleased for the fans, they
have craved victory for a long time,” McLeish said. “Relatively speaking, it is
my greatest achievement. For a small club like ours to beat Arsenal was a
McLeish led Rangers to two
championships and five cup wins in five years at Ibrox and managed Scotland to
a famous victory over France in 2007. He said: “With Rangers I was expected to
win trophies, even though it is difficult against Celtic. To come to England
and for a club like Birmingham to beat the might of Arsenal is a dream come
“It is especially so for the fans
who have had a long wait, those long-suffering Blues fans. No-one gave us a
prayer, we were underdogs but sometimes the bookies don’t get it right. After
the goal I really did have the vision of the cup in my hands.”
McLeish spent three weeks here two
years ago on vacation, staying at the Ritz-Carlton with his wife and they
thoroughly enjoyed themselves. The fact that Sam Allardyce, who was manager of Blackburn
Rovers at the time, was there too, helped McLeish enjoy himself.
McLeish got on famously with Webb
and attended the official opening of the Centre of Excellence in Prospect and
the fundraising dinner at the Ritz-Carlton where he gave a hilarious speech.
Webb has kept in touch with McLeish and even arranged for the Cayman
footballers on trial at Ashford Town in west London to have tryouts at Birmingham
“I’m very happy and proud of Alex’s
success,” Webb said. “I am sure with his immense management skills we will see
him in Europe.”