Birmingham chairman Tom Wagner admits mistake in timing of sacking John Eustace

Birmingham chairman Tom Wagner admits mistake in timing of sacking John Eustace

9 April 2024 0 By Total Football News
Former Birmingham manager John Eustace was sacked after 15 months in charge and replaced by Wayne Rooney
Former Birmingham manager John Eustace was sacked after 15 months in charge and replaced by Wayne Rooney

Chairman Tom Wagner admits Birmingham City were too quick to fire John Eustace before appointing Wayne Rooney.

Eustace, now boss at Blackburn Rovers, was sacked in October and replaced by Rooney, who lasted just 15 games.

After falling from sixth to 20th under Rooney, Blues sit in the Championship relegation zone with five games left.

“We made one decision that, if we were to go back in time we wouldn’t have made,” Wagner, who took over in July, said at a news conference.

The American, whose Knighthead Capital bought a 45.64% stake from Birmingham Sports International Holdings nine months ago, was in Birmingham on Tuesday to announce plans for the club to leave St Andrew’s for a new stadium.

Wagner estimates that the overall Sports Quarter project will cost £2-3bn.

He said: “In the context of having made thousands of decisions for the club this season, we made one decision [in sacking Eustace] that wasn’t perfect.

“We have to keep things in context a little bit but our future is not written. We remain very optimistic over the balance of the season.”

Eustace won five of his 11 league games at the start of the season before the controversial decision to replace him with Manchester United and England legend Rooney.

Rooney lasted 83 days with nine defeats in 15 games. After one game under caretaker boss Steve Spooner, Tony Mowbray took over and won four out of 10 games before taking leave due to illness.

His assistant Mark Venus then stepped up for six games before Gary Rowett became interim boss until the end of the season.

Rowett has won one of his three games in charge before Wednesday’s visit of Cardiff City.

“There were some good lessons learned with some of the decisions we’ve made this year,” said Wagner.

“There have been substantial learnings about how we think about making important decisions on the sporting side.

“You have to have the ability to get the right players.

“In the nine months we have owned the club we have set ourselves in a position to grow revenue by 100% in the next season.

“So, irrespective of where we are, we will be a powerhouse from a revenue perspective and that will give us enormous flexibility in future transfer windows.”

Wagner was speaking on the day Blues announced plans to move to their proposed Sports Quarter by August 2029. Seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady is also a minority owner in the club.

The chairman dismissed fears that relegation would impact their plans and underlined his commitment to the club, which announced a pre-tax loss of £24.5m last week.

“First and foremost, let’s stay positive,” he said. “We have got a lot of confidence in our side and their ability to play out the rest of the season.”

Birmingham are the longest survivors in the Championship. having been out of the Premier League since 2011.

This article was originally posted on https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/68771261