Birmingham City appoint Lee Bowyer following the exit of Aitor Karanka

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 16 March 2021, 18:08

After a whirlwind couple of days Lee Bowyer has now been confirmed as the new Birmingham manager on a deal through to June 2023.

Bowyer, who left Charlton on Monday, becomes the club’s seventh permanent managerial appointment since late 2016.

“I’m absolutely delighted and it’s great to be back," Bowyer told the club's website. "I’ve already seen some of the old faces from when I was here last and I’m just really looking forward to getting to work.

“My priority is to lift everybody. Not just the players, the staff as well. It seems like it’s not been in a very good place, so I’ve got to lift them. I’ve got to try and implement what I want very quickly. The team will improve, I have no doubt about that but we already have a good base to work with.

“I’m gutted the fans aren’t here because I know the part they would play. When I was here as a player it was an unreal atmosphere. I know how important they are but unfortunately we can’t change that. We have to pull together as a Club to make sure we are in this division next season so the fans can come back and appreciate what we do in this short space of time.”

Bowyer lifted the League Cup as a Blues player and now returns as manager following the departure of Aitor Karanka who endured a disappointing eight-month spell at the helm following his arrival last summer.

But while Karanka was lacking in both results and charisma, whatever your thoughts on the manager if reports are true that chief executive Xuandong Ren sacked him then made him sit through a birthday lunch (Xuandong Ren’s birthday) while he stewed over his exit, then that’s pretty brutal.

The club statement on his exit was also very brief, 21 words in fact.

Yet a paltry return of 35 points from 36 games under Karanka means that the new incumbent has his work cut out as he bids to rescue the Blues from relegation down to League One.

Relegation is something Bowyer has experienced as both a player and manager, and he’ll be desperate to avoid a swift return to the third-tier, a division he’s just left having vacated his post at promotion-chasing Charlton.

Bowyer’s association with Birmingham began back in January 2009 when he signed on-loan from West Ham, a deal which was made permanent ahead of the 2009/10 season. The Blues then finished 9th in the Premier League - which remains their best top-flight standing since 1959 - then the following season he helped his side shock Arsenal in the League Cup, although the campaign ended in disappointment as Alex McLeish’s side were relegated.

McLeish and Bowyer departed at the end of that season, and now the latter has become the club’s tenth manager since then.

Bowyer has spent the last three years in charge of Charlton, where he was initially named caretaker in March 2018 following the exit of Karl Robinson. 

Bowyer led his troops into the League One play-offs, where they lost to Shrewsbury but after his position was made permanent he won promotion to the Championship in his first full season in management after Charlton overcame Sunderland in the play-off final.

It was a tough season back in the second-tier and one which ultimately ended in relegation, by a single point. Back in League One, Charlton can currently be found 8th in the table, two points off the play-off places while they are 10 points adrift of the top-two.

Meanwhile you can out the next Charlton manager odds right here.

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