Finding themselves second bottom of the Championship and with the league’s worst goal difference is not where Birmingham fans hoped their club would lie after 14 games. The Blues hit rock bottom on Saturday when they suffered an 8-0 home defeat by Bournemouth (the biggest defeat in their history), just days after previous manager Lee Clark was sacked after a poor run of results. Just this afternoon, 40-year-old Gary Rowett has taken over on a permanent basis.
Rowett leaves Burton Albion after just over 5 years at the club, 2 of which were spent as manager. The Bromsgrove-born boss was also an accomplished defender in his time, playing for a variety of clubs across England, including Birmingham where he played for 2 seasons. Rowett finished his playing career at Burton Albion and returned as assistant to Paul Peschisolido in 2009.
His time in charge of Burton can only be considered a success – two top-6 place finishes in his two seasons in charge represents a good return for the 40-year-old in his first managerial position, even if they never made it past the play-offs (last season they lost the final to Fleetwood Town). They are doing even better this time around, sitting in 3rd place after 15 matches.
One of his first tasks in charge of Birmingham will be to lift the players’ spirits, not an easy task considering how poorly the side have played this season. His lack of managerial experience should not hinder him however, as he is considered to be one of the brightest of a young crop of Football League managers.
The Blues find themselves severely restricted financially, so Rowett will most likely have to do his best with the current squad and rely on loans to bring players in (like those of Brek Shea and Grant Hall from Stoke and Tottenham respectively). This represents a tremendous downfall for a club who won the League Cup in 2011 and found themselves in the Premier League as recently as 3 years ago. A combination of poor ownership and bad management has led to their current situation, however most fans will back Rowett to stabilise the club and to steer them clear of the relegation zone.