Birmingham City supporters came into this season full of hope and optimism after a remarkable escape from relegation to League One under the management of Harry Redknapp at the end of last season. The experienced manager led Blues to two wins out of the three games he took charge of which resulted in him being offered the job on a permanent basis.
However, Redknapp was unable to carry this success into the start of this season and was dismissed by the club’s hierarchy after a 3-1 defeat to Preston North End at St Andrew’s which left Blues languishing second from bottom in The Championship.
Lee Carsley was then given the job on a temporary basis but only managed to pick up one win in three games, one of which was the 6-1 drubbing by Hull City at the weekend.
This just highlights the difficulty of the job that Steve Cotterill has taken on but is he the right man for Birmingham?
Already knows the club
One of the main reasons why Birmingham’s owners appear to have opted to appoint Cotterill over other candidates is because of his knowledge of the club after working with Redknapp last season. Many believe that he was a key reason behind the club’s survival last season and arguably had a bigger impact on their performances than Redknapp did. If this is true, then it certainly looks like it could be a wise appointment.
However, it appears that the club’s first choice to take over at the helm was former Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka. However, the Spaniard is believed to have turned down the offer because he wanted to join a club with a better chance of success this season. Birmingham still find themselves in the relegation zone, and this is not a situation that Karanka was prepared to walk into.
Previously struggled as a No. 1
Despite the fact that this does look to be a sensible appointment, it is not one that will excite Birmingham supporters. It is unlikely that Cotterill is the man to lead Birmingham to The Premier League and it, therefore, could turn out to be another short-term appointment. If he has been appointed to purely keep the club in the second tier this season, then it is undoubtedly a good appointment.
In his managerial career so far, he has been in charge of Sligo Rovers, Cheltenham Town, Stoke City, Burnley, Notts County, Portsmouth, Nottingham Forest and Bristol City. He is used to taking charge of sides who find themselves in difficult situations and will, therefore, be relishing the task of turning Birmingham’s form around.
A talented squad at his disposal
One of the main reasons Redknapp’s dismissal came as such a surprise is because of how much they allowed him to spend in the transfer window. If a club is planning to make a managerial change, they will not let the manager in question spend much money. However, this was not the case at Birmingham as Redknapp was allowed to bring in numerous players on Deadline Day for significant fees including the impressive capture of Brentford winger Jota.
This has resulted in a much stronger Birmingham squad than the one that Redknapp inherited when he joined the club at the end of last season, and Cotterill will subsequently be more hopeful of achieving success. The squad will be currently very low on confidence and this, without doubt, will be one of the first things that Cotterill looks to address over the international break.