Often Partisan

The Search Begins

Well it’s now confirmed, we’re managerless. I will admit to being in denial right up until the time that Blues confirmed a compensation package had been agreed, hoping that maybe Hughton would have a change of heart. Alas, it was not to be, and now we must move on.

No doubt there will be countless polls via various media outlets for fans to choose who they’d like to see as the 32nd full-time manager of Birmingham City. Whilst I could easily run one myself I have to be honest – at this moment in time I’m not sure who I’d want to take over Blues and thus I thought I’d rather talk about what I wanted from a manager.

I think the absolute prerequisite quality Blues need currently is someone who can cope in a crisis. Right now it’s what is known euphemistically as “interesting times” at St Andrews and whoever takes on the role has got to be strong enough not to bottle it at the first sign of drama. I’m not just talking about transfer embargoes or financial problems – it does seem that Blues are like a soap opera at times and one of the things I admired about Hughton was how he didn’t let it faze him. We need that again.

It’s also important that whoever is appointed is someone who will be accepted by the fans. What I mean by that is that I don’t think Blues can cope with someone with the kind of baggage that McLeish took to the Villa; whilst I think someone a bit dour and with a reputation for being unspectacular but solid might disgruntle some, I think don’t think it would cause riots. As an example I think Mick McCarthy whilst being an uninspiring choice would be accepted because he can do a job, Paul Ince would probably provoke some hysteria because he’s been crap in every job he’s had recently.

I wonder how Blues fans would react to someone who was maybe a coach making a step up to a managerial position – like Steve Clarke, who is rumoured to be taking over at WBA. I’d be more interested in a manager who’s star was on the rise – a promising coach who wanted a go at the real deal, or a young manager who’s done well in the lower divisions – than someone who has been around the block a few times on the managerial circuit and has a fairly solid career of mediocrity without achieving much. Whilst there is an embargo in place the feeling has to be that it won’t be there for ever – and maybe there will be a chance for someone who isn’t well-known to build a “project” (oh how I hate that term) from the start.

I guess from the club’s point of view it’s going to have to be someone who is cheap, who is available and who wouldn’t ask for much – but judging by the conversations I’ve had today I don’t think that narrows the potential pool down as much as some would think. There is definitely interest out there in the job and there is a possibility that once again Blues can make a good appointment. Whilst the last year with Hughton was enjoyable you never know what is in the future and there is always the possibility that the next manager could be as good or better. Let’s hope so.

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82 Responses to “The Search Begins”

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

    I know what you mean Al, hard to favour anyone right now after losing a guy who ticked all the boxes. A young up-and-comer alongside an experienced old hand perhaps.

    • Blueboy88 says:

      Excellent that’s got Jose Domingez & Barry Fry written all over it…

      Actually I think we need somebody bonkers to cheer us all up –
      Like a Ian Holloway , Roy Keane , Christophe Duggary , or that mad French Manager Raymond Domenech who picked the team by their astrological star signs..

      In essence a manager that would take our minds off all the other shite flying around…

      • nicky wicky says:

        ian holloway or mark yates might not be a bad choice they’d have a better standard of player to work with and would be stepping up to a bigger challenege than their preious clubs , and we need somone who is going to carry on the good work from last year. Holloway knows the championship and will play attacking football. mark yates likes to play attacking football but has not had the resources or players to achieve much at cheltenham!

  • Gareth says:

    My realistic first choice would be Lee Clark. Harshly sacked by Huddersfield (for taking an “arrogant stance” over the longest unbeaten run in the clubs history of all things!), he’s young and clearly talented. Also, he’s free and cheap! I’ve seen too many people completely write him off, then when pushed, can’t tell you a thing about him.

    • Kaje says:

      Whilst Clark was in charge for a large unbeaten run, he got it by taking a leaf out of McLeish’s book. Solid defence with very little attack – resulting in most of that 40+ game run being draws.

      I want a boss who knows that going for the win and losing 15 and winning 15 is better than drawing 30.

      • Gareth says:

        Ah, ok, I must admit I wasn’t aware of that, however, Jordan Rhodes managed to bag enough under him!

      • nicky wicky says:

        sounds like lee clark is another McJudas who would bore everybody rigid with lots of draws. Holloway got an average blackpool team to fifth place in the championshipplaying attacking fottball. The birmingham defence is better than blackpools and maybe he could get blues winning away as well as at home, so they could make the automatic spots? He knows how to spot talent on the cheap and gets good loans in and the blackpool board have said they wouldn’t stand in his way if somone came in for him?!

    • danny boy says:

      agree with kaje- too many draws like mcleish. gareth if you have huddersfield fans as friends as i do they say grayson did a better job and the proof is there-promotion-fact. lee clark is at best a league 1 manager. i have had a response from peter pannu this morning when i outlined the qualities of curbishley (1.16 to be precise so must still be in HK) it was brief saying “thanks danny- yes watch this space!”

    • Mortonsblue says:

      My concern is that the Huddersfield Chairman sacked him because he felt he was unable to deliver promotion (from League 2) despite the run of inbeaten matches! Its interesting that he remains unemployed with so many clubs looking for a manager at the moment

  • a.hawkins says:


  • Daddyblue says:

    Oh well! We are blues so lets wipe the tears away and start on that long, long road because there will be joys ahead We are Blues lets start the fight back today and let our hearts be strong Kro4ever

  • DoctorD says:

    I don’t know who it will be but that person will definitely have the following characteristics:

    a) be out of contract and without a job;
    b) be young (and hence cheap);
    c) be willing to live with a huge amount of uncertainty.

    What’s for sure is that there will be definitely be a lot of interest. There are so many managers and so few jobs that it’s a buyers’ market.

  • Adam says:

    I think ray Wilkins as you said a coach who needs a crack at managerment again

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

    We need that embargo lifting first cos I can’t see any manager joining any club unable to sign players. Then we need an uplifting signing cos it seems the level of ST renewal is tiny at the moment.

  • Coy says:

    Firstly, another great article.
    Blues for me need an up and coming manager with abit of carisma that can like up St Andrews on some possible grey days ahead, although I honestly believe the club is starting to turn the corner and light is appearing as Carsons grip on St Andrews apprears to be loosening. For me two names that come to mind fitting the “young up and coming” that have also had “successful” starts to there caree are GUS POYET and PAULO DI CANIO, I think the latta is more likely as Gus is managing a championship team already and the clubs current state and the compo issue makes it a far strech imo, Di Canio on the other hand, it would be natural progression wouldnt it? on the way to him (and I quote Di Canio) “winning the champions league”. I could not handle Mick McCarthy at present although I find his interviews most entertaining

  • AfricaBlue says:

    So the guy we are looking for has to be Thick Skinned, Half Mental, Friendly, and Competent. Good Luck to him. KRO-BCFC.

  • Andy says:

    Just hope Megson, Ince, Davies, and McCarthy all go on holiday while we are looking for our new man! Think Lee Clark will be talked about as he is without a club, Zola sounds okay on paper but is untested at Championship level and Alan Curbishley might have just given up on management and might not fancy having £0 to spend. Maybe Darren Ferguson as an outsider. He wouldn’t cost that much to get from Peterborough and got them playing really good football on our kind of budget.

  • Only-Me says:

    With CH he was at the right age, carried himself well, and had the respect from players and fans, he was is also well respected and like throughout the football world,Im sure other managers would be willing to loan good players to him, just well…because its him. its going to be hard to find that blend again, and although replaceable, I just cant see it.
    I agree Almajir, their will, and is lots of people interested in the job,
    I like the Idea of Holloway, and wouldn’t mind Curbishley, but Mad Mick, no thanks…

  • alexjhurley says:

    Not McCarthy. Anyone other than him (and mcjockstrap, obv.)

    Nit convinced by Clark – didn’t he get relatively big budget and still not get them up in 3 years. Curbishly ticks all the experience and unlikely to panic in a crisis boxes, but Obviuosly fails the young and upcoming criteria.

    Mccinnes anyone?

  • Block16john says:

    Just one to throw in to the mix, what about Noel Blake? Been doing a cracking job coaching with one of the underage groups for England, blue blood running through his veins, and unless he’s mellowed substantially, would not take be phased by any boardroom nonsense.

    Darren Ferguson could be a contender if only from the perspective of being first in line for young promising Utd loanees when the embargo lifts.

  • Macc lad says:

    McCarthy? Can’t believe you’ve mentioned him. Not ever. Ray Wilkins has his own demons to cope with, so not sure he would be a good choice.
    Paul Ince still seems to be the same tit of a person now he’s a manager that he was as a player. (Doesn’t rule him out, but recent results do)
    Lee Clark would be a great choice, and tick the boxes concerning knowledge of the lower leagues. As for other out of work managers, I’m not sure Roy Keane would take the job given the constraints, Curbishlshly has consistently turned down jobs not right for him, and for Billy Davis see what I said about McCarthy.
    I know nothing of either Tony Hey or Jose Dominguez’s managerial records, but surely we need someone with in depth knowledge of the English scene, and they don’t have that.
    A look here http://www.leaguemanagers.com/ shows some very strong candidates. Rafael Benitez anyone?

  • DoctorD says:

    Here’s a long list from the bookies, led by Lee Clark (4/7), Dougie Fredman (12/1) and Paul Ince (12/1):


    McJockstrap is 25/1.

    Uwe Rosler is 16/1 — where did that name come from???

  • Oldbluenose says:

    Surely the biggest problem is what the ” finally released ” accounts contain,?. Will it satify the F,L. enough to lift the transfer embargo,?.

    Whichever manager we can attract, everyone needs to know what tools are available to try and emulate last seasons playoffs,!!!.

    • nicky wicky says:

      forget about the playoffs i reckon Holloway could get us automatic promotion. hes done a fantastic job at blackpoolonly recently in the preiership and just missed out in the playoffs this year! The blackpool board have said they wouldn’t stand in his way if someonecame in offering him a job atabigger club!

  • Believe me Lee Clark is not for us.

  • Rathater says:


  • theurbaneguerilla says:

    As long as embargo is lifted by July 1, when most ate out of contract, I think we’ll pick.up players. Potential managers know this.

  • Retired&Weary says:

    Don’t forget that a year ago it was all doom & gloom then, & although most people liked the CH appointment in the circumstances, there were still low expectations. As it turned out expectations were far exceeded.
    In hindsight he didn’t inherit a bad squad in Championship terms, despite the sales. Don’t forget Burke &King were already on board. Who is to say that another manager couldn’t have done just as well with that squad. In the end injuries & the number of games proved too much.
    It is no point criticising PP for letting him go. Once CH expressed interest in Norwich, how could he possibly keep him? When the dust settles I’m sure most right thinking fans will appreciate how well PP has done to keep the club going – no funding from HK, so having to generate funds locally through player sales & compensation – while overseeing a great season on the pitch.
    Regarding a new manager, I’m not against Mad Mick as much as some. A great track record in the Championship (not so good in Premier), calls a spade a spade …. Problem is would he take the job?

    • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

      Absolute tosh

      PP has helped create an atmosphere at the Blues which made CH want to leave. He is the front man for this outfit and treats us fans with contempt as he thinks be doesn’t have to communicate with us. He is presiding over the lowest, deepest shite in our history so you lot praising him need to think again. Don’t tell me that he doesn’t know the situation, of course he does.

      All he ever seems to do is constantly f*ck off to HK

  • Stevie Blue says:

    Sorry I put this under the previous post. My top 5 in order of preference. Lee Clark, Nick Barmby, Karl Robinson, Paolo Di Canio, Paul Ince. If as some people are rumouring the club gets sold on then Ian Holloway would be a great shout!!! A definite NO to Mick McCarthy and Gary Megson though (who apparently has becoming one of the favourites?).

  • Ingerlund says:

    The mad Italian from Swindon would lift our spirits and the players. He did a fantastic job last season with a bunch of no hopers.

  • Daddybluenose says:

    Mcmanaman for manager! that’s why he left the board lmfao

  • p says:

    best piece of news just heard via talksport ch coming in for zigic as a replacement for grant holt, would help our financial position no end. fear curtis davies next target.

    • nicky wicky says:

      what’s this thing some fans have got about zigic he is one of the clubs top performers,and scored in the play-offs. just cause tom ross keeps saying he is supposed to be on £60k a week or something ridiculous like that. We need to hang on to our best players davies too not sell them off if we want to get back to the premiership. The money we get will just go in carsons back pocket!

  • Shane says:

    Its Noel Blake for me I was a bit unsure at first and wanted Di Canio but having googled Blake I am impressed with how highly he is respected he is at the FA (yes I understand so were Eriksson and Capello) but this is diffrent the under 19s play great football and he will know Redmond Mutch and Butland and I can’t imagine it will cost much if anything to get him

  • Oby says:

    Dont fancy Lee Clarke, Macdross the second Im hearing, would love Holloway but he will cost us, so not sure really, PP managed to appoint a good one last time, so, PP, over to you..

  • Gary says:

    100% Ian Holloway – ticks all the boxes of what we need right now. Experience, light-hearted, but heavy-hearted when needed, great style of play, down-to-earth, therefore being able to connect with the fans. And…he already LOVES Blues, I don’t think he’d take much convincing – even as things stand – for him to want the job. These owners won’t be here forever, I’m hopeful they’ll be gone by the time the season kicks off, which most sources are predicting will happen.

  • Roy Smith says:

    Lee Clarke was disliked by Huddersfield fans for his negative style, the last thing we want to return to.
    Why a young manager though?
    The most successful manager in England is 70 odd.
    What we need is someone who plays attacking football knows the ropes and is willing to have a budget of zit,.even if he’s 120 and in a bath chair.
    Just glad its PP’s job to find him and not mine.

  • KiwiJohn says:

    Ian Holloway would be perfect but probably not realistic. I hear Jose Domingez is keen. we could do worse!

  • David Richards says:

    Would love to see Holloway and he did say how impressed he was with the atmosphere and the blues fans at the play off semi’s, just depends on whether PP hands are tied and whether the money we receive for CH could go towards compensation for Blackpool.

    The one guy who hasn’t been mentioned and worked on no budget atall in Spain at his academy is Glenn Hoddle and the bloke certainley plays good football, but in this league I think nice football has to be mixed with abit of fight as well so although I HATE to say it McCarthy could get us up then maybe someone like Hoddle could keep us there.

  • Blueboy 88 says:

    Karl Robinson of the MK Dons has a growing reputation for developing a passing team that is pleasing on the eye , & intrestingly his No2 is that old BCFC war-horse Mick Harford..

    • Stevie Blue says:

      Thanks for picking up on this Blueboy 88. I’ve mentioned his name above and I can’t believe no one else has even considered him. Like you I think he’d be an excellent choice.

    • Spotlight Kid says:

      Good shout as well, hitting the notice board at the same time as my own suggestion (below). This is the calibre of proper footballing manager to really lift the Blues and set those blogs a humming. You can’t manage above the level you attained as a player – don’t care what folks say.

    • danny boy says:

      as with all these league 1 managers- unproven at this level and coping with limited resources is a struggle as well as getting results. both cant be done. it needs a old hand IMO where he isnt fazed by this. Cant understand all the hype about young managers, this ISNT what we need just now

      • Blueboy 88 says:

        Unproven at this level…? We are asking him to go up one tier…not coach Barcelona in La Liga..

        & I would imagine funds are a bit tight at MK Dons , so working with limited resoures would be a box ticked…

        With the fearless Mick Harford ….its the dream team ..!!

  • Spotlight Kid says:

    The longer it takes to appoint a manager, the more chance of a change at the top brewing. A new junta will want its own lieutenant in charge, and June still has twenty odd damp days to go when NOTHING important will be happening.

    So, why worry, just sit back and try to see the vacant managerial / coaching post(s) as the long sought after light at the end of the tunnel. There’s no-one around that’s a stand out candidate, so best just leave it that way for the mo. rather than getting saddled with NB/MM/PI/RW/LC/AC et al.

    HOWEVER, there is ONE man that will get BCFC promoted (guaranteed) and play exhilerating football along the way – but the snag is he’ll need the cash backing…..

    Step up Kevin Keegan (this is not a joke, merely lateral thinking), a previous Hughton mentor, ironically. And he’d probably bring in Lee Clark with him as assistant as old KK never did do defence…

    • David Richards says:

      I think thats a great call even for entertainment value alone we would have an interesting season, could he take the pressure though (some past experiences would suggest not) and has he been out the game too long and I certainley don’t think he could do it on no money, maybe he would be a great number two to Lee Clark as Terry Mcdermott was at Huddersfield

    • Coy says:

      I would LOVE IT if Kevin keegan become blues manager and I agree with your point BUT…. just cant see that happening

  • andy says:

    It will be a manager out of work because i cant see Blues paying out compensation. Im a big fan of appointing Roy Keane, he also wants to get back into management but not sure if he would tolerate the upheaval at the club. Would love the idea of Noel Blake returning to Blues as manager, what a welcome he would get.

    • skareggae72 says:

      I don`t think Blake would be a good idea.
      He was the manager at Exeter some time ago,he was`nt that popular & it was very much 10 men behind the ball,ultra defensive football,he was eventually sacked.

  • RBJ211 says:

    Paulo Sergio has just left Hearts following Scottish Cup success. He has faced a difficult season up there but became very popular with the Hearts fans. 44 years old and hungry?

  • andy says:

    With all the problems he had to endure up in Scotland, would Neil Lennon be a good choice?

  • Steve says:

    Remember PP gave CH a job when nobody else gave him consideration ( How long was he out of work ? ) So surely he should speak highly of him.

    We are in a mess it is no good looking to point the finger, we are there FACT.

    We must focus on moving forward and getting out of the mire we are in for whatever reason.

    We have been here before and we will be here again that is part of the Blues make up, that is what makes us uniquie.
    We battle ! We soldier on ! We have just had the best 18months in our history.

    Come on chin up shoulders back and remember the lhe wording on our original logo FORWARD.

  • I’m flabbergasted that one of the earlier commenters suggested Roy Keane.

    The guy has been an unmitigated disaster everywhere he has been.

    The list of names so far has been extremely worrying. Two in particular: Steve Bruce (we really dodged a bullet there, so thanks Hull!) and Gary Megson……

    If Gary Megson gets the job we are in serious trouble.

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

    He’s taking the pee mate, same bloke has been suggesting any loser he can think of

  • Daddybluenose says:

    Now hear me out but how about Gary Smith young enthusiastic energetic and I know the stevenage manager does not have a big profile in the UK but he had achieved notable success in the States during his three-year spell with the Rapids. Smith guided the Denver-based club to the MLS title in 2010 with a budget that was half that of any of his rivals and also took them to the 2011 play-offs before his contract ended last December. Now with our constraints this guy my be a good fit given half a chance and wouldn’t take much to take him from Stevenage. Just a suggestion. Kro

  • Daddybluenose says:

    Alsolook how Stevenage played against tottenham recently now give the guy a half decent side and who knows.

  • bluepete says:

    Has anyone considered Bowen who was an excellent coach when Steve Bruce was with us. We didn’t do so well after he left. He fell out with Bruce and left. He then went on to other things with Blackburn (with Hughes). I’m not sure what he is doing at present but I think he would be worth consideration.

  • jazzzy786 says:

    I’d love to see Diego Maradonna as our manager. I think he’d be pure class.

    Seriously, can’t see Holloway as that’d require compo to blackpool. Lee Clark not a bad shout. No to Megson, McCarthy and Ince. Until the embargo is lifted I can’t see anyone wanting the job.

    How about Mark Yates?

    • nicky wicky says:

      Wouldn’t require much compo if any. the blackpool board have already said they wouldn’t stand in his way if a bigger club came offering him a job! They’ve also said they’ve also been surprisedthere’s been no enquiries after his recent success?

  • chris says:

    NO WAY CLARK unless you want mclies son
    Sound more like McLies type of management, boring football, negative tatics and playing players who are his favourites and not giving the whole squad a chance to shine which is the opposite we have seen this season.

    excerpt from article
    arrivals of Ian Bennett, Gary Naysmith, Damien Johnson, Joey Gudjonsson and Alan Lee all examples of the experience Clark felt necessary. On paper these signings looked to be exactly what the club needed. However as the season progressed it was clear that some of Clark`s signings were over the hill and simply happy to collect one final pay-packet. This left Town with a squad of youngsters and has-beens with very few players at the peak of their footballing ability.
    Despite a promising start to the new campaign Town`s football would become increasingly negative as the season went on. The final blow to Clark`s attacking football would come after a 4-1 mauling at promotion rivals Southampton in late December. This result led Clark to implement a 4-5-1 system for the remainder of the season.
    The problem with 4-5-1 was the negativity that accompanied it. Between January 1st and the end of the season, Town won only five games by more than 1 goal and became the divisions draw specialists.
    Indeed, as the season wore on, it appeared that some players were scared of playing for Lee Clark. This was in part due to Clark`s increasingly strange team selections, which prevented players from gaining confidence.
    The Peterborough squad (play-off final) had been assembled on a fraction of the budget that Lee Clark had to spend and highlighted just how much money Lee Clark had squandered on players. Clark`s transfer record was a real mixed bag with the signings of Jordan Rhodes, Anthony Pilkington and Lee Peltier seemingly showing he had an eye for a player. However, Clark would sign enough players to have four separate teams in his time at Huddersfield but never one good enough to secure promotion.

  • Jay Sidney says:

    I’ve heard (among others) the names of Noel Blake, Jose Dominguez, Mick Harford, Paul Peschisolido and Mark Yates put forward. They are all former Blues players – and they did the club proud – but does that make them right for managing the club?

    Is it really possible that any potential new manager can be expected to come in before this transfer embargo is lifted? However, let’s hope it is lifted soon. Also, any potential name will have to consider not just this but also the fact that the very ownership of the club is not exactly clear cut.

  • Jay Sidney says:

    Chris’s analysis of Lee Clark’s record at Huddersfield makes for interesting (and very sobering) reading. A lower league manager who signs enough players to have four separate teams? That is eerily reminiscent of Barry Fry. No thanks! No thanks!

  • blue says:

    i’d rather see Stuart Pearce and/or Noel Blake than Clark,Ince,Megson or Mccarthy.

  • Only Me says:

    Look guys, if we want to create a real impact get the nation behind us and create history, lets go for Hope Powell……….I am being serious…..Think about it!! Oh and we would get promoted

  • G says:

    Sean Dyche has been mentioned recently

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