Former Chairman Criticises Birmingham City Following Rowett Appointment

Birmingham City have been criticised by former Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan for turning what could have been a positive season into a potentially disastrous one.

The Blues are fighting for their lives in the Championship at the moment. A late defeat at Loftus Road on Friday afternoon following a tremendous effort from Queens Park Rangers defender Jimmy Dunne was the club’s fourth-straight loss in England’s second tier.

During the March international break, the board made a tough decision to appoint Gary Rowett as head coach at St. Andrew’s on an interim basis until the end of the season. Rowett had previously been in charge of Birmingham City for a little over two years from 2014-2016 before being replaced by Gianfranco Zola with the side sitting seventh in the table.

Coincidentally, the club have followed a similar trajectory this season. Under the guidance of John Eustace, the Blues were inside the play-off places, having just beaten bitter rivals West Bromwich Albion 3-1 in the derby before the hierarchy opted to remove the now-Blackburn Rovers boss from the helm.

England and Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney was handed the reins, a turning point for the club this season which quickly became a disastrous decision. Speaking on talkSPORT this weekend, pundit Simon Jordan believes the ownership tanked the campaign by chasing “an autograph” [quotes via Birmingham Live]:

“I just bought a new football club and made a few changes at the beginning. They’ve reaped what they’ve sewn. They’ve turned what could’ve been a really forward-moving season into one of decline.

“They might not have got into the top six and there were rumblings about the style of football that John Eustace was producing, and there were mentions that they’d been in decline in the previous weeks.

“They got what the deserved when they went after an autograph. They have a good manager now in Gary Rowett. He has gone through a journey.”

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Jordan also admitted that he believes Rowett was the right appointment, albeit on a short-term basis, although he did criticise the 50-year-old for the manner of his exit the first time around.

“I didn’t appreciate the sentiments of the way he left Birmingham the first time around.

“He wasn’t fired because of what he had achieved, he was fired because he was batting his eyelids at every other football club that was looking at him. The Chinese owners took great exception. They offered him a pay rise, and he turned it down because it wasn’t enough, was my understanding.

“He has gone through the cycle, he’s now a more balanced, mature, experienced manager. He did a brilliant job at Millwall and I would expect him to have enough about him to galvanise them.

“Gary Rowett was the architect of his own downfall [before], but the point is that he is coming into a football club that he knows.”

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Writer’s View

The new Birmingham City ownership will have learned quite a lot from this season’s disappointments. The Blues may not have ended the campaign in sixth under Eustace, but there is a strong possibility that they wouldn’t have found themselves on the cusp of relegation either.

Next season, the board must back the manager during the summer transfer window, giving him the tools he needs to crack on, provided they survive in the Championship. Major lessons will have been learned this term.

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About Adam Scully 784 Articles
Deputy Head of Writing

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