Birmingham City coach Roy Aitken leaves to team up with David O'Leary
Birmingham City coach Roy Aitken has left St Andrew's to join former Aston Villa manager David O'Leary in the United Arab Emirates.
The 51-year-old first team coach arrived at Blues with manager Alex McLeish and other first team coach Andy Watson at the end of 2007, after the trio had been in charge of the Scottish national side.
Aitken, who will join O'Leary at UAE side Al Ahli, has previously worked under the Irishman at both Leeds and Villa.
McLeish told bcfc.com: "Naturally I am very disappointed to lose an extremely valued member of Birmingham City FC. And that's exactly what he was, because he is respected by everyone at the club.
"I have got a great relationship with Roy and he is well liked and respected by the players. But he has received an offer that he couldn't refuse and I totally understand the decision he has made for himself and his family.
"Roy goes with my thanks and blessings. He is not just someone I've worked with for some time now but also an extremely good friend and I wish him all the best in his new challenge.
"Because of his experience and personality there can be no doubting this leaves a bit of a void but it is one we will work hard to fill as soon as possible.
"The new owners of this football club have given me great and ongoing support in terms of improving the infrastructure and I'm sure they'll assist in helping find a suitable replacement for Roy."
Acting club chairman Peter Pannu added: "I was only informed about this today but will sit down with the manager (McLeish), Roy (Aitken) and the receiving club as soon as possible to discuss all relevant contractual matters and how we take things forward."