Gianfranco Zola throws in the towel at Birmingham City

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 17 April 2017, 19:28

For all the wrong reasons Wednesday 14th December 2016 will forever be etched into the history of Birmingham City, for it was the day that the club's owners had an absolute clanger, as for reasons only known to themselves they decided to replace Gary Rowett with Gianfranco Zola.

Oh dear, what a catastrophic error that would prove to be.

Back then the Blues were up in 7th, with only goal difference keeping them out of the play-offs, following a run of three wins in five.

Remarkably Rowett's successor, Zola, was unable to accumulate that many wins in a whopping 24 attempts - scraping just two victories in four months up until his resignation tonight (Monday).

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In truth, the Italian had been under pressure from day one.

The former Watford boss failed to win any of his opening eight league games in the dugout - becoming the first boss in the club's history to do so - a figure which was extended to double figures (10) if you include cup clashes.

Birmingham's first win under Zola finally came in February, which was immediately followed by three consecutive defeats, before they bagged a victory at rivals Wolves towards the end of the month.

However, nine winless games later, including today's dismal 2-0 defeat at home to relegation rivals Burton, has seen Zola quit the Midlands club, with whom he leaves down in 20th, three points above the drop zone with three games remaining...

It's difficult to see the club appoint another manager before the end of the season, but in terms of who will succeed Zola, early contenders include Nigel Pearson, Aitor Karanka, Alex Neil, Michael Appleton, and Steve McClaren.