Former Top Boss Questions Birmingham City Decision To Sack Manager

The dust is still yet to settle on the Birmingham City appointment of Wayne Rooney as their new manager. It has caused waves and sparked many debates. The least of all is the way the club handled the sacking of John Eustace.

A man who knows a thing or two about club management is Martin O’Neill. Former boss of City’s close and fierce rival Aston Villa has made his thoughts clear about the way Eustace was treated during an interview on TalkSPORT.

Bad Timing

It was such an ill-timed sacking. Birmingham is sixth in the Championship, and results were once again picking up. There were no outward signs of any disharmony. New owners though will want to do things their way, and Eustace was the victim of their ambition.

O’Neill stated during the interview, and reported by BirminghamLive “I do agree with Simon [Jordan] on that, this is what Birmingham City are looking for. John Eustace, let me take it from his viewpoint – he’s taken them to sixth in the league, Birmingham City have had monumental problems in the last couple of seasons, not least of all the ground which has hardly been fit for purpose.”

Rooney will now be under the microscope, and the pressure of keeping the Blues in playoff contention, and more. Anything less than improvement will be viewed as the wrong decision being made. Something that O’Neill was eager to point out.

“He’ll have been fully aware of the expectation around the club, certainly now with new owners and things like this. From all the comments that are emanating from the football club, you’d have to say yeah [regarding Rooney needing to get the Blues promoted], and it’s not to say that it’s a long-term project – it looks as though you have to go up this season.”

Under Pressure

As Rooney meets his new squad this week and gets used to new surroundings, he will be the first to know how this all works. He has been a player and manager, under enormous pressure to deliver from a young age.

Returning to the sacked boss, the former Leicester manager said. “I’m sure Eustace would be no different to any other manager. If you’re not in the big league, the team that you are managing is the team you want to get promotion with, regardless of what position you were in, so your dream would be the same thing. I’d be really surprised if John Eustace was saying ‘if we just avoid relegation, we’ll be okay’.

Writer’s View

Wayne Rooney will be scrutinised with every game. The first is a tricky away match against Middlesbrough, who have Michael Carrick in charge, a former teammate. Anything short of a positive display and result will be judged harshly. O’Neill has every sympathy for a manager who has done nothing wrong during adverse times, and although he can see the plan behind the move, it still doesn’t make it the right one, from a manager’s perspective. There are many cases of new owners coming in and changing the staff. Time will tell if this was the right decision.


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