Next Birmingham manager – Past players linked with Blues vacancyPublished on: June 9, 2020Author: Jamie Clark
Yet another search for a next Birmingham manager begins at St Andrew’s following the announcement that Pep Clotet will leave his role as Blues boss at the end of this season.
Stability is something of a novelty at the West Midlands club, so this is the proverbial poisoned chalice. Whoever succeeds Clotet presides over a side that looks certain to lose prized asset Jude Bellingham.
The teenage talent really shone at St Andrew’s after graduating from the Blues academy. Bellingham follows a similar path to the likes of Che Adams and Nathan Redmond who got chances at Birmingham.
With a squad that needs rebuilding nearly every year, this isn’t a particularly desirable job. Someone has to be next Birmingham manager though, so what does the early betting with bookmakers say?
It’s pretty open, but former players and coaches are among those linked with a return to St Andrew’s. Who could take the Blues on next?
No further forward than when Hughton left
Former Birmingham boss Chris Hughton is prominent in the market and once steered the club into the top six of the Championship. Although his year in charge ended without promotion, the Blues saw him as an asset.
Norwich City were looking for a successor to Paul Lambert in the summer of 2012 and turned to Hughton. The Blues haven’t reached the same heights he took them to since leaving.
Hughton left his role at Brighton & Hove Albion after four-and-a-half years in May 2019 when the Seauglls hierarchy sought a new direction.
The kind of stability this underrated boss has brought to the club he’s been at would be welcome at St Andrew’s again. If there is one downside to Hughton, then his critics have always said he is tactically predictable.
Given the scant resources at Birmingham’s disposal, although the sale of Bellingham should generate funds, that might nor be an issue. Hughton is the early 5/1 favourite with BetVictor in a market finding its feet.
Carsley reluctant about managerial roles in past
Birmingham born and bred, former Republic of Ireland midfielder Lee Carsley spent two seasons towards the end of his playing career at his hometown club.
He returned to St Andrew’s as Under-23s coach in 2017, then was briefly takeover after the sacking of Harry Redknapp. Carsley was later assistant to Blues boss Steve Cotrerill before their departure.
Other than on an interim basis, he has spoken before of a reluctance to be head man in the dugout. Carsley held temporary first-team duties at both Coventry City and Brentford, the latter causing him particular discomfort.
As he seems happier in a backroom role, it’s surprising that Carsley is also towards the head of the next Birmingham manager betting.
His current role inside the England Under-21 setup is far less demanding. Unless he has changed his mind, then Carsley staying with the national team makes more sense than coming back to St Andrew’s.
Jokanovic interesting in next Birmingham manager market
Former Watford and Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic has promotions from the Championship with both of those teams. That makes him of obvious interest to any club in the division.
Jokanovic’s coaching career has involved clubs far and wide. We’re talking from his native Serbia to Thailand and Spain to the Middle East.
The previous sides he managed in English football had greater resources than the Blues. Birmingham’s hierarchy want a more attractive style of play and that is something Jokanovic brings to the table.
At an early price of 8/1 for the job, it’s whether he would leave Qatari club Al Gharafa for this vacancy.
Bowyer to Blues depends on Charlton fortunes
Charlton Athletic boss Lee Bowyer is another former Birmingham player linked with the role. The Addicks are going through their second takeover this year.
They are also battling relegation back to League One. Charlton’s prospective new owners may want their own man in the dugout for next season regardless of the outcome.
Getting Bowyer for free would be preferable to paying compensation for him. Given the boardroom uncertainty at the Addicks, he has done a fine job in adversity.
It’s a similar brief at Birmingham where Bowyer is 10/1 to take the reins. He may be holding out for a bigger and better job, though.
Nigel Clough overpriced in next Birmingham manager market
While his own coaching career has fallen way short of the dizzying heights that father Brian reached, Nigel Clough is a decent Championship manager.
His two spells at Burton Albion are the stuff of legend. Clough took them from non-league into the Football League, earning promotion to the second tier on a shoestring budget.
The Brewers axed Clough in May, however, bringing his second spell to an end. A free agent won’t cost Birmingham anything in compensation, and a solid choice for their next boss should shore things up.
An experienced manager is preferable to a novice like Craig Garden who has shorter odds in the betting. Former Derby County and Sheffield United boss Clough is 12/1 to take the Blues on next.