Why Steve Cotterill is the right man for Birmingham Cityby Gabriel Sutton / 29 September 2017, 13:27Tweet
The manner of Steve Cotterill’s parting with Birmingham City back in May seemed particularly warm. As a more hands-on assistant to manager Harry Redknapp, Cotterill’s coaching played a key role in helping the team finish the season with back-to-back wins, without which they would now reside in League One.
Despite being well-liked by the players, Cotterill decided against staying on as an assistant, hoping to further his career as a number one. However, the club made clear that he was welcome back any time and it seemed likely that the two parties would cross paths again, even more so when Blues started this season with one win in eight in his absence.
Right now, the 53-year-old’s experience of working with 18 members of the current squad is what the club needs, especially alongside Lee Carsley, who is staying on as second-in-command after a successful stint as caretaker boss.
There is no time for wholesale recruitment with eight months until the summer and when Gianfranco Zola had to make big changes midway through last season, that did not work out. The club must now at least be prepared for, if not expect, a relegation battle, with the team inside the drop zone on goal difference at this early stage, therefore instant results are the priority.
Had the club brought in a higher-pedigree manager like Aitor Karanka - who reportedly rejected the opportunity - there might be a little more excitement among fans regarding the players that could be attracted to the club. However, Blues don't need a manager who might favour a new group when the immediate job is about getting the best out of the current one.
The Cheltenham-born boss might never have led a promotion charge at this level - which has left a section of fans slightly underwhelmed. He has perhaps never had the funds to do so though and still holds a reasonable track record.
He stabilized matters at Burnley in the mid-noughties after a tough period and led Notts County from turmoil to the League Two title. Criticisms of the ex-striker as a long ball merchant might also be slightly dated - he built arguably the best possession side in recent third tier history at 2014/15 title-winners Bristol City.
Now, he works with a squad that has the potential to be Birmingham City's best since the Chris Hughton era. He is exactly the man needed to steady the ship and help the club climb away from the mire.