Monday, October 22, 2018

Birmingham foolish to appoint Gianfranco Zola as boss

David Nugent in Editorial, English Championship 21 Feb 2017


Gianfranco Zola has won just one of his 14 games in charge of Championship Birmingham City

Championship club Birmingham City are in the midst of a terrible run of form in the second tier of English football.

The Blues have won just one of their last 14 games since the appointment of former Chelsea icon Gianfranco Zola as boss.

The decision to hire Zola and sack predecessor Gary Rowett seems like one of the silliest you will ever see from a football club.

Birmingham were stable under Rowett

Rowett had brought stability to a club that in the recent past had a topsy-turvy existence. When the highly-rated young boss arrived the Blues were at a low ebb. Rowett with very few resources had the Blues closer to the play-off spots than the relegation zone.

Most City and neutrals fans would say he was doing an excellent job. However, because he was not high profile enough or arguably produced a flashy easy on the eye style of football the club’s owners got rid of the young boss.

Rowett is regarded by many within football as one of the best up and coming young bosses in the English game. He had already done an excellent job at Burton Albion prior to his move to Birmingham, so when he was sacked there was widespread disbelief in the football community.

Zola has a high-profile

Gianfranco Zola is no doubt a high-profile football figure. He was arguably one of the best players the Premier League has ever seen. However, a good player does not always make a good boss.

At the moment it seems that Birmingham’s relatively new owners have made a massive mistake in sacking a good boss, only to hire a guy who has struggled to really convince as a manager. In fact, some fans would say he has failed at every club he has managed.

Zola was hired to turn the team into one that could play attractive passing football. We all know that is what the majority of fans and clubs want their team to be doing. However, if it comes at the expense of actually winning games, then it is a dangerous road to go down.

Birmingham looked to be progressing under Rowett. Now they look to have regressed under Zola. Under Rowett, everybody knew their job and despite little backing, the Blues were eighth in the table.

City’s owners only bought the club four months ago. They obviously wanted to make a big statement with a high profile managerial appointment. Unfortunately for them, that statement seems to be that they do not know much about football.

The club are apparently backing their man and have no plans to hold talks over Zola’s future. The Italian boss has also claimed that he will not resign from his post. With a big local derby against Wolves on Friday night, it is far from the ideal situation for the Blues to be in.

Closer to the relegation zone

Courtesy of the City owners awful managerial decision the Blues are now closer to the relegation zone than the play-off spots. City are 14th in the table and ten points clear of the drop zone, while odds of 12/1 to be relegated.

Birmingham should have enough to avoid a relegation battle this season. However, results must improve and quickly or they could be dragged into the fight for survival this season.

For all his football knowledge, Gianfranco Zola has achieved absolutely nothing in his coaching career. He was a fantastic player and comes across as a very nice guy. Neither of those facts particularly makes him a good choice to manage a football team in one of the most challenging leagues in European football.

Gary Rowett has not yet taken another job. However, I have the feeling that when he does the club he joins will be a lot more successful than the club he has left behind.

Can Gianfranco Zola turn things around at Birmingham City?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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