Football management has become an unforgiving occupation in recent years, with the days of clubs staying loyal to one man replaced by irrational decision-making in which a few bad results could see a manager come under pressure, or even sacked. The sport has transformed into a results-based business as chairman and owners now expect instant results on the pitch, with managers often becoming the scapegoat for poor performances when players are equally to blame for not playing to the best of their ability. While the Premier League has become more settled in terms of managerial changes, there have been no less than 12 in the Championship in the opening three months of the 2014/2015 season. Pulling the trigger so early may provide new managers with the opportunity to transform the club’s fortunes, with three Championship teams poised to benefit from making a split second judgement that goes against the grain of traditional management loyalty.
The Midlands club look a million miles away from the team that once graced the Premier League and won the Capital One Cup in 2011, with Birmingham once again struggling at the bottom of the Championship. Only a final day draw at Bolton saved Lee Clark’s side from an acrimonious drop into League 1 in May, but their prospects looked equally bleak this season. The 1-0 home defeat against a struggling Bolton side signalled the end of Clark’s turbulent tenure at Birmingham, although he made an immediate return to management at Blackpool following Jose Riga’s departure. Birmingham took the correct approach in taking their time to assess their options and appoint a manager they felt would take the club forward and avoid previous mistakes, with former midfielder Gary Rowett chosen as the man to transform their fortunes. The 40-year-old has shown considerable promise during his two-year tenure at Burton Albion who came so close to reaching League 1, but Rowett has made the step up to the Championship at the right time. His arrival has already reaped dividends, with Birmingham looking far more resolute in defence and are unbeaten in Rowett’s first three games in charge.
By a ...new... writer.