Birmingham City have finally chosen to appoint a new head coach, replacing Pep Clotet who left prior to the end of the 2019/20 season.
He will come in as Pep Clotet’s replacement, the Spaniard left as head coach on the 8th of July following a 3-1 defeat by Swansea, after initially being set to see out the campaign.
The St Andrew’s side failed to win a game since the restart of the Championship season, picking up just three points from a possible 27 to finish two places and two points above the relegation spots.
🥁 The news you’ve all been waiting for…
Blues are delighted to announce that @Karanka has been appointed as our Head Coach.
— Birmingham City FC (@BCFC) July 31, 2020
That man is Aitor Karanka, a former manager of Middlesbrough between 2013 and 2017, taking them up by finishing as Championship runner up in the 2015/16 season.
Though he got the chop in March 2017 after being winless in their last 10 Premier League games and sitting in the relegation zone, three points from safety with 11 games remaining.
Just under a year later, he then took charge of Nottingham Forest, though in January 2019, he departed the club after having asked to be released from his contract; he left the team in seventh position, four points behind the play-off places.
Aitor Karanka has previously rejected an offer to take over at Birmingham in 2017, though he chooses to take over this time around.
— Birmingham City FC (@BCFC) July 31, 2020
He hasn’t been in the top six bookies favourites for the job until this week, with him topping the Sky Bet odds at 4/9. The manager had been in ‘advanced talks’ with becoming the new Birmingham boss two days ago, though at the time he was also in the running at La Liga side Valencia.
KARANKA’S CAREER STATS:
Middlesbrough – 13 November 2013 until 16 March 2017 – 171 games, 80 wins, 42 draws, 49 defeats, 46.8 % win
Nottingham Forest – 8 January 2018 until 11 January 2019 – 52 games, 16 wins, 19 draws, 17 defeats, 30.8 % win
Total – 223 games, 96 wins, 61 draws, 66 defeats, 43.0 % win
2013/14: 12th (half a Championship season)
2014/15: 4th (lost playoff final to Norwich)
2015/16: 2nd (promoted from the Championship)
2016/17: Sacked at 19th in the Premier League
2017/18: 17th (half a Championship season)
2019/20: 7th (half a Championship season)
He is recognised at Middlesbrough and Nottingham Forest as a good manager who prefers to playing a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Karanka, who has signed a three-year contract, said: “I’m delighted to be joining a club with the history and fan base that Birmingham City has.
“I share the excitement and determination of everyone here to start working together on all the challenges that lie ahead.
“I want to thank the Board for their willingness and the strong interest they showed in making me the Head Coach of this project.”
Dong Ren, Blues CEO, commented: “I would like to give Aitor a very warm welcome to Birmingham City Football Club.
“We have followed his career for a number of years and throughout that time he has always been of prime consideration for the Head Coach position.
“So we are delighted that Aitor has now joined us and we look forward to working with him for the coming season ahead and future.”
There was a huge amount of reaction as Birmingham finally appoint a new head coach…
Go celebrate your staying up by a goal trophy 🤪🤪🤪🤪
— Luke Harper (@7ukeharper) July 31, 2020
I hate to say it, but @XuandongRen deserves credit here – as does Zhao. Now he needs to back off and let Karanka do his thing.
— KJ Reilloc (@KReilloc) July 31, 2020
Got yourselves a top gaffer here, just trust him that he knows what hes doing. I would be worried if I was Jutkiewicz though he binned him at Boro 😬
— Crouch (@Crouch59) July 31, 2020
Quality. Welcome to the true club of Birmingham Aitor. It’s a mad place, full of ups and downs, you’re gonna love it. You’ll have the fans support 👍 KRO
— Damian O (@Damian_BCFC) July 31, 2020
Welcome on board Karanka. Good luck at the mad house
— MarkPBCFC (@MarkPeacock_83) July 31, 2020
Hahahahahaha Aitor Karanka fucking come on
— Kane (@KaneGStyles) July 31, 2020
If we are not promoted by January 2021 I think it will be a real mark against Aitor Karanka.
The bloody football, one minute I’m planning for League One & now I’m dreaming of the Premier League.
— Will Brazier (@willbrazier) July 31, 2020
Fair play to the board here, Aitor Karanka is undoubtedly a huge improvement on Pep Clotet. I’m starting to get very excited for the new season already #bcfc
— Tom (@T_Owen1875) July 31, 2020
Welcome aitor karanka to the mad house that is #BCFC. It’ll be a bumpy ride but Dong Ren must allow him to manage and recruit players with championship pedigree to try and get us challenge for the top 6. There’ll b Joys & Sorrows too
— Junior9 (@JgJunior9) July 31, 2020
— Tom Kite (@TomKite93) July 31, 2020
Yeeeesssssss dong you best do what you can to give him the backing because as you can clearly see the fans are happy so think of this great club and fans instead of yourself and we will be all good. No more fake promises now dong
— steven (@steven53782774) July 31, 2020
Superb signing for you this. Absolutely loved him at Boro. He will stop the goals going in and have you in the top 6 in no time!!
— ʙ.ᴏ.ʀ.ᴏ (@Aspiracions) July 31, 2020
Blues statement ‘we’ve been following his career for a few years’? Lmao shows much agile for the ex blues managers doesn’t it…bunch of idiots that board are
— James Jobbins (@Jobbo89) July 31, 2020
On paper, Aitor Karanka is a very good appointment for Birmingham. Harshly sacked by Forest, very good record at championship level, as long as the owners let him get on with he job, because if there’s one manager who won’t put up with boardroom interference, it’s him #BCFC
— Aaron Walker (@Gallagherlad95) July 31, 2020