May 21, 2024

Gary Rowett: Birmingham City bring back former manager as interim boss

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Gary Rowett left his job as Millwall manager in October

Birmingham City have brought back popular former manager Gary Rowett as caretaker coach until the end of the season in a bid to end their worrying run of results in the Championship.

The 50-year-old, who has been doing media work since leaving Millwall in October, has taken over in Tony Mowbray's continued absence.

But the Blues have picked up just one point in their six Championship matches since then.

Mowbray is receiving medical treatment for an unnamed illness, and the club confirmed that he “will take official medical leave until the start of the 2024-25 pre-season.”

Venus also wants to stay away until the start of next season.

The club added that Mowbray played a role in identifying Rowett as the man to take on the role in his absence.

“Based on Tony’s decision to take some extra time away, we have agreed that it is in the best interests of the club to appoint Gary Rowett to lead the team forward from the touchline for the final eight games of the season. Gary is an experienced leader and has a strong and reliable team to support,” said co-owner and chairman Tom Wagner. Full support.”

Former Blues player and coach Rowett returns to the club for a third time and will become the sixth different man to select a team this season, after John Eustace, Wayne Rooney, caretaker Steve Spooner, Mowbray and Venus.

He was sacked by the Blues' previous owners in December 2016 when the Blues were seventh in the Championship, and was kept out of the play-off places on goal difference alone.

Birmingham's next match after the international break will be against Queens Park Rangers on Friday 29 March.

The Blues are the longest-reigning club in the Championship, in their 13th consecutive season in the second tier after relegation from the Premier League in 2011.

They were most recently in the Third Division in 1995, before being promoted under Barry Fry.

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Mark Venus (left) was Tony Mowbray's right-hand man throughout his time in management

Rowett's managerial biography

Rowett, a former right-back for Cambridge United, Everton, Blackpool, Derby, Birmingham, Leicester City, Charlton Athletic and Burton Albion, made 444 appearances during his 19-year professional career.

After taking his first job as manager at Burton in 2012, he left to return to Birmingham as manager in October 2014, taking over the Blues who are 23rd in the Second Division.

Rowett guided them to 10th place that season, where they also finished the following season, 11 points outside of the play-offs.

But he then returned to Championship management nine months later when he took over at Millwall, with whom he has finished eighth, ninth, 11th and eighth over the past four seasons.

“Unique problems often require unique solutions.”

Analysis – Richard Wilford, BBC Radio

It is difficult to see any downside in adding Gary Rowett's knowledge to the Birmingham City coaching staff.

This has now become a crisis management situation. Gary knows the league and the club very well.

Unique problems often need unique solutions.

The best-case scenario would have been for Tony Mowbray to return to work over the Easter break.

But Rowett's arrival will take the pressure off the Blues coach until he fully recovers.

Eight games remaining for the Blues

Monday 1 April: Preston (h)

Saturday 6 April: Leicester (A)

Wednesday 10 April: Cardiff City (H)

Saturday 13 April: Coventry City (h)

Saturday 20 April: Rotherham United (A)

Saturday 27 April: Huddersfield Town (A)

Saturday 4 May: Norwich City (H)

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