Five names in the frame to replace Harry Redknapp at Birmingham City

Gabriel Sutton by Gabriel Sutton / 17 September 2017, 21:20

At the end of last season, Harry Redknapp did a good job of re-organizing Birmingham, who went back-to-basics to win two of their last three. The players performed with desire and teamwork, for which Redknapp should be credited.

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However, at 70 there were question marks about whether he had the energy and drive to give the squad the makeover it needed, especially with rumours that he profits from the transfers via agent dealings. After a series of poor performances, the club was right to part ways...

...the question is who should step in - here’s the contenders.

Lee Carsley

When Carsley managed his first ever game for Brentford, he got a round of applause from visiting Birmingham fans, who respect the ex-midfielder for his leadership in the 2008/09 promotion season.

He did a good job in his brief interim stint at Griffin Park before taking on the role of Head Professional Development Coach at Birmingham and will now step in as caretaker boss.

He has previously made clear his intentions to be a coach than a manager and it would seem risky to ‘peer pressure’ someone into a role that they are not entirely comfortable with. If the appointment process is delayed though and the team gets a run of wins, the calls for him to take on the baton will start in earnest.

Verdict: A good man to have around the club but shouldn’t be manager beyond the next few games, even if results suggest otherwise.

Aitor Karanka

The Spaniard has managed in the Premier League within the last six months. He transformed Middlesbrough from a club stagnating in the bottom half of the Championship to one challenging for promotion in his first full season, then making the top two the year after.

Some fans might be concerned by what happened last season, when he made the mistake of playing with three sitting midfielders and two defensive-minded full-backs, meaning support for front-men was non-existent. The board have often favoured high-profile managers though, so Karanka’s previous work with Real Madrid and Jose Mourinho could favour him.

Verdict: If he can learn lessons from last season, he could be a good fit.

Nigel Pearson

Not the most likable manager English football has ever seen and would arrive with a certain amount of baggage. However, if Pearson can cut out the obvious unnecessary behaviour, there are certain elements of his character that might appeal to Blues fans.

He doesn’t suffer fools gladly and is very much a perfectionist in terms of what he demands from his players. He had a bad 14 games at Derby last season, but won third and second tier titles with Leicester City.

Verdict: Hasn't succeeded enough in the last two years to justify the baggage.

Alan Pardew

A better manager than given credit for. Turned Reading into third tier promotion contenders at the start of his career then took West Ham up via the play-offs, his side then finishing ninth in the top flight and making the FA Cup final. He also took Newcastle to fifth in the Premier League and Crystal Palace from the relegation zone to tenth in the space of five months.

Granted, Pardew has had bad spells but he does not deserve the abuse he has had in his career. The only concern is that his sides do have tendencies to go on long, winless runs which some attribute to his lack of motivational skills.

Verdict: Would be a good appointment, but may not want to join a club in the bottom three of the Championship.

Steve Cotterill

For the final three games of last season, Cotterill joined as a first team coach and had at least as big an impact on Birmingham’s fortunes as Redknapp. He was more hands-on in terms of running training sessions and was well-liked by the players, with many fans hoping he would stay on as an assistant.

Cotterill left but retained warm connections with the club and showed what he could do in 2014/15 at Bristol City, where he built one of the best possession teams in third-tier history. One downside to his appointment would be that he’s never led a promotion push at this level.

Verdict: Others have better CVs but given that he’s already a popular figure, there’s potential for instant momentum. Worth a gamble.

Managers Departed

Last man down

Graham Westley
Graham Westley
(Stevenage)
16th February
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