Alex McLeish is an ex-Aston Villa manager

The season from hell is finally over and Alex McLeish’s Aston Villa career has, as expected, been terminated. His tenure has passed on. It’s no more. It has ceased to be. Expired and gone to meet its maker. A stiff, bereft of life. It rests in peace. Its metabolic processes are now history. Kicked the bucket. Shuffled off its mortal coil. Run down the curtain and joined the bleeding choir invisible.

This is an ex-Aston Villa manager.

Today is a very good

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NextGen Series: Ajax lose, Aston Villa win group and home advantage in QFs

Despite it being a dead rubber for Rosenborg, and Ajax having the ability to win the group, it was the Norwegian side who took all three points with a 2-0 victory in Amsterdam tonight, leaving our own Young Lions at the top of the pile.

This means that we’ll have the advantage of playing the single-legged quarter final at Villa Park, more than likely against Marseille. There’s just one game left in Group 1, Marseille will face Celtic with second place

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Gardner hat-trick ensures place in NextGen Series quarter finals

Gary Gardner scored all three goals in a comprehensive victory over Ajax U19s in the Young Lions’ final group stage match of the NextGen Series at Villa Park tonight, guaranteeing a place in the quarter finals next year.

Ajax, who are now bumped down to second place in the group, have one final game; Rosenborg at home on November 29th. If Ajax fail to win in Amsterdam, Villa will win the group, earning home advantage for the next round, and will

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NextGen Series Quarter Finals announced: Is a trip to Barcelona on the cards?

The NextGen Series has announced the brackets for the quarter finals on their Twitter feed and it sets up a possible trip to Barcelona for our Young Lions. Due to domestic fixtures, the quarters finals will be played over just one leg with each of the group winners earning the advantage of playing at home:

QF1:
Group 1 Winner
vs
Group 3 Runner-up

QF2:
Group 2 Winner
vs
Group 4 Runner-up

QF3:
Group 3 Winner
vs
Group 1 Runner-up

QF4:
Group 4 Winner
vs
Group 2 Runner-up

Group 2 has already been wrapped up with Sporting winning

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Fenerbahce win puts Young Lions in the driving seat

Fenerbahce recorded their first win in the NextGen Series with a 1-0 victory over visiting Rosenborg today, leaving our own U19s in a very strong position to qualify for the next round.

With just two Group 3 games remaining, the table now looks like this:

Team
P
W
L
D
F
A
GD
PTS

Ajax
4
3
0
1
9
2
7
10

Aston Villa
5
3
2
0
12
7
5
9

Rosenborg
5
2
3
0
9
11
-2
6

Fenerbahce
6
1
4
1
5
15
-10
4

Ajax come to Villa Park on November 22nd before hosting Rosenborg themselves on November 29th.

Since the fixtures are not as structured as the Champions League, the competition NextGen aims to emulate, the group stage won’t be

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Dunne and Given heading to Euro 2012, and Barry Bannan’s back, baby

The Euro 2012 play-offs are over and we now know all 16 teams who will be competing in Poland and Ukraine next summer. Barring any injury issues, there will definitely be some Villa interest as the Irish saw out their considerable advantage from the first leg against Estonia to book their place in the finals with a 1-1 draw in Dublin.

Just try to stop Shay Given and Richard Dunne getting on that plane.

The draw for the groups will take place

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Richard Dunne and Enda Stevens win Player of the Year awards in Ireland

I mentioned last week that future Villan Enda Stevens had been nominated for the 2011 PFAI Player of the Year Award and I’m pleased to let you know that he was named the winner in Dublin last night. Not only that, but Richard Dunne also scooped the Irish Overseas Player of the Year.

Dunne and Shay Given are currently with the Irish national side midway through their two-legged play-off tie against Estonia for a place in Euro 2012. Estonia head to

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Video: Darren Bent’s Twitter Q&A, plus McLeish on Gabby’s hammy trouble

Darren Bent recently took part in a Q&A on Twitter whilst on England duty, here’s a glimpse behind the scenes. Perhaps a little on the whimsical side, I was still surprised by his answer when asked who is the fastest player he’s seen on the football pitch. (It’s not Gabby)

[Email readers: if the video isn't displayed, it's available here]

Gabby

In related news, I’m sure you’re already aware, but Gabby was forced to withdraw from the England squad once again with a

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Gary Gardner’s England double sets pulses racing

Gary Gardner stepped onto the Colchester pitch in place of Blackburn’s Jason Lowe in the 62nd minute with England leading 2-0 against Iceland in their Euro 2013 qualifier tonight. Barely more than half an hour later, the referee blew the final whistle and scoreboard read 5-0; Gardner adding two sublime late goals and a lot more to his growing reputation.

His first was an inch perfect free kick from 25 yards out: top corner, keeper stranded. His second, deep into injury

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