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Four bosses in a season – how Birmingham’s turbulent campaign compares to others

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 20 Mar 2024


Tony Mowbray’s period of absence from Birmingham leaves interim boss Gary Rowett as Blues’ fourth manager of the season.

They are the first club since 2018 to have as many as four managers in an English Football League season and here, the PA news agency looks at their turbulent campaign and how it compares.

Tale of woe

Mowbray, 60, has been granted a leave of absence until the start of pre-season for medical reasons after undergoing surgery on an undisclosed issue last month, just eight games after taking charge.

His appointment came after Birmingham sacked Wayne Rooney, who in turn was only appointed in October in place of John Eustace.

Eustace’s sacking was controversial, having led the club to 17th place last season on 53 points – their highest total since 2016 – and then to sixth after 11 games of this term.

The club cited the need for “the board of directors and the football management (to be) fully aligned on the importance of implementing a winning mentality and a culture of ambition”, and appointed former Derby and DC United boss Rooney two days later – but his reign was a short and unhappy one.

The ex-England captain lasted just 15 games, winning two, before he was removed from his post and replaced by Mowbray.

The latter’s illness means Mark Venus has been in caretaker charge but Rowett, who managed the club between 2014 and 2016, has now been brought back in to steady the ship – with Blues above the relegation zone on goal difference alone and 15 places worse off than when Eustace was dismissed.

Revolving door

The last EFL club to employ four managers in a season were Barnet in 2017-18, when first Rossi Eames and then Mark McGhee were moved into other roles within the club – Eames as head of development and McGhee head of technical – and then Graham Westley lasted just two months, with Martin Allen finishing the season.

Watford, a club with a reputation for cycling through managers, were the last Championship team to employ four in a season in 2014-15.

Beppe Sannino was sacked, Oscar Garcia stepped down for health reasons after just four games, Billy McKinlay was appointed as his replacement but extraordinarily sacked after only two matches – a win and a draw – and Slavisa Jokanovic became the Hornets’ fourth manager in 37 days. The Serbian took Watford up to the Premier League but left in the close season.

In between times, Leyton Orient managed to get through five managers in the 2016-17 League Two season.

Andy Hessenthaler and Alberto Cavasin were sacked in September and November respectively, Andy Edwards left for a youth coaching job at the Football Association and Danny Webb lasted just two months, with Omer Riza closing out the season in an interim capacity similar to Rowett at Birmingham.


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