Tony Mowbray: Birmingham City name ex-Sunderland boss as manager

8 January 2024 0 By Total Football News
Tony Mowbray shoutsBirmingham City are the eighth club Tony Mowbray has managed

Birmingham City have named Tony Mowbray as their new manager on a two-and-a-half year deal, six days after sacking Wayne Rooney.

Ex-England captain Rooney managed just two wins from his 15 games in charge.

Mowbray is the club's third boss this season after they controversially parted company with John Eustace in October with Blues sixth in the table.

Since then Birmingham have fallen to 20th in the Championship, six points above the relegation zone.

Blues were under caretaker boss Steve Spooner when they drew 1-1 in the FA Cup third round at Hull City on Saturday, when they were denied a morale-boosting win by an 87th-minute equaliser.

But Mowbray, who will have long-time number two Mark Venus as assistant manager beside him, now starts with two home games.

On Saturday Blues host 16th-placed Swansea City, who are also under new management, with former Notts County boss Luke Williams also taking charge of his first league match at his new club.

Birmingham will then face the cup replay against Liam Rosenior's Hull.

Mark Venus (left) and Tony Mowbray took charge of training at Blues' Henley-in Arden training ground for the first timeMark Venus, Tony Mowbray's number two at all his previous clubs in management, helped take charge of training at Blues' Henley-in Arden training ground for the first time on Monday

Blues, the Championship's longest-serving club, are in their 13th season at second-tier level following their third relegation from the Premier League in 2011 - the same year they won the League Cup, the last major trophy won by a West Midlands club.

Mowbray follows Chris Hughton, Lee Clark, Gary Rowett, Gianfranco Zola, Harry Redknapp, Steve Cotterill, Garry Monk, Pep Clotet, Aitor Karanka, Lee Bowyer, Eustace and Rooney as the 13th manager in 13 seasons to attempt to restore Blues to the top flight.

They may be better equipped to attempt it now, following last summer's takeover by new American owners, headed by global sporting superstar Tom Brady and Tom Wagner, who vowed in August that "there's really no limit to what we can do".

'The stand-out candidate'

"Tony was the standout candidate in our search for a new manager," Blues co-owner and chairman Wagner said. "His knowledge of and passion for the game shone through.

"He shares our ambition and will bring stability at an important time for our great club. We received extremely positive feedback from everyone we spoke to about Tony."

"He is the right leader at the right time for our club," chief executive Garry Cook added. "He knows what it takes to be successful at this level.

"Tony has rightfully earned a reputation as a manager who delivers results, likes to play attractive football, and gives young players a chance."

Bluenoses are passionate - Mowbray

After winning three straight league matches in August under Eustace, Blues have only won four times in the Championship since.

"I can't wait to get back on the training pitch and start working with this talented group of players," Mowbray said.

"My focus is on building their confidence, delivering results, and giving Blues fans a team they can be excited by and proud of.

"I know from personal experience how passionate Bluenoses are, home and away, and I'm looking forward to having their full support for the team starting on Saturday at home to Swansea."

Tony Mowbray and Wayne Rooney at Sunderland-Blues game at the Stadium of LightTony Mowbray had the upper hand when his then Sunderland side proved too strong for Wayne Rooney's Blues at the Stadium of Light two months ago

Aside from four games as Ipswich Town caretaker boss, North Yorkshire-born Mowbray began his 20-year managerial career north of the border with Hibernian in 2004, before heading south to join West Bromwich Albion.

He then returned to Scotland for a season at his former club Celtic, and also managed boyhood club Middlesbrough, where he spent the majority of his playing days.

He had five years in charge of Blackburn Rovers before being appointed Sunderland boss last season.

He guided Sunderland to the Championship play-offs, but they were beaten by eventual winners Luton Town in the semi-final and he was sacked after a run of just two wins in nine league games before Christmas.

This is Mowbray's third job in the Midlands, having guided Albion to the Championship title in 2008 before later leading Coventry City for 18 months between March 2015 and September 2016.

Six of Blues' 20 remaining matches this season will be against Mowbray's old clubs - and five of them come in the space of six games, starting against Boro on 27 January.

More than a 'safe pair of hands'

Analysis - BBC Radio WM sports editor Richard Wilford

It would be easy to dub Mowbray a "safe pair of hands" as he arrives at St Andrew's, but this appointment has the potential to be rather more than that.

Although his first job is to steady the ship after the faltering Rooney reign, Mowbray has a track record of developing attractive footballing sides that are capable of operating in the top third of the Championship.

Blues' ownership craves a style of football that is identifiable and easy-on-the-eye and, given time, Mowbray has a tried-and-tested formula that would appear to meet their criteria.

Above all, the decision makers at the club seem to have made a selection that owes rather more to the tangible ability of the candidate than to the social media traction that is likely to be gained.

There won't be a fortune to spend this month, but the new manager can expect to be able to bring in a couple of players on a sensible budget - more if any of the major earners out of contract this summer are lured away by the promise of longer term deals.

Mowbray's quick appointment affords him time to weigh up the squad he inherits and identify his most immediate needs.

This might not have been the flashiest choice the Blues owners could have made, but it may well be the best option to move the playing squad forward.

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