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Birmingham hold talks as two frontrunners emerge with players giving verdict on Rooney’s sacking

Birmingham City hold talks as two frontrunners emerge with Blues players also giving their verdict on Wayne Rooney’s sacking.

Reports claim that Tony Mowbray is due to hold talks with the club on Thursday as they seek to find a replacement for Rooney who lost his job on Tuesday.

They have only picked up 10 points from 15 games, and with Mowbray out of work having been axed by Sunderland back in December, he is now considered to be a contender for the job at St Andrew’s.

The likes of Frank Lampard, Gary Rowett, Nathan Jones are other names in the frame, while Mail Sport claim that a group of senior players are interesting in John Eustace coming back, and he is said to be open to returning.

Eustace was sacked by US owners Knighthead with the club sitting 6th in the Championship table, but now they find themselves sitting 20th with 28 points from 26 games played. They are 6 points above the drop zone and are 12 points from the playoffs.

Technical director Craig Gardner and chief executive Garry Cook are in charge of the search with a long list of up to 20 names.

Development chief Steve Spooner is currently taking control training this week with the futures of three members of Rooney’s backroom team, Ashley Cole, John O’Shea and Pete Shuttleworth, uncertainly as they remain at the club for the time being.


Sky Bet – 4th Jan 2024 – 12pm
Tony Mowbray – 4/6
Jesse Marsch – 5/1
Steve Cooper – 7/1
Gary Rowett – 9/1
Paul Heckingbottom – 12/1
Graham Potter – 14/1
Lee Carsley – 14/1
Frank Lampard – 16/1
John Eustace – 16/1
Neil Warnock – 16/1
Ralph Hasenhuttl – 16/1
Scott Parker – 20/1

Meanwhile, according to The Athletic, Wayne Rooney was left shocked when told that his time as time in charge of Birmingham was up after just 15 games.

He signed contract lasting three-and-a-half-year contract, thinking this was going to be a long-term project, had and good and open dialogue with the likes of chief executive Garry Cook and director of football Craig Gardner.

But after only picking up just two wins from his stint in charge, and defeat in his last game in charge, at Leeds United on New Year’s Day, he hit back at the club statement announcing the decision not to keep him on. He felt he wasn’t given the time to make the changes needed, yet took them form 6th to 20th and six points above the relegation zone.

Blues fans were shocked when hearing that John Eustace was axed in favour of Rooney, who had left life in the MLS.

But chants of “Wayne Rooney, get out of our club” from the Birmingham fans just showed how bad the situation become, with it inevitable that he was going to get sacked.

Birmingham players discovered the news of Rooney’s sacking upon arriving at the club’s temporary training ground at Henley-in-Arden.

While some were surprised, others are said to have felt relieved having described the sacking of Eustace as unnecessary, especially because Eustace had guided the club through tough times under previous ownership.

However, with him gone, players had no choice but welcome Rooney and the likes of Ashley Cole and John O’Shea.

He hadn’t totally lost the dressing room having picked up a 2-2 draw at home with Ipswich Town and also won 1-0 at Cardiff City, a time when things looked more hopeful.

But fans lost patience and seeing their club in dropping down the table fast while the team lacked structure seemed rather baffled as to how to play under Rooney.

Rooney is described to have been unpopular with his players, while he often took aim at his squad and questioned their mental strength, ability and personal pride with what he said after defeat to Leeds made worse when he started calling for an overhaul of the team with it the first day of the transfer window.

Rooney couldn’t work out why players weren’t doing what he thought was a simple enough task.

He usually watched on during training with first team coach, assistant to Rooney, Carl Robinson, doing most of the intervention with Ashley Cole.

The Athletic state that Rooney ‘would interject when he saw something he wanted to change or when he wanted to press home a point.’

Injuries didn’t help during Rooney’s reign, while he struggled to get the rest of his group fully focused with the game plans, something he kept changing to simplify.

It’s claimed there were verbal altercations between his staff and fans, with Rooney also getting booed and chanted at.

The decision behind getting rid of Eustace stems from not bringing Rooney in, but  reportedly due to failing to finish above 17th in the last five seasons, with the aim of playing no-fear football.

Eustace thought this was a task too premature for a group of young group of players who were just getting used to how the boss wanted them to, based on their abilities.

Just before Christmas, Rooney sent out an invitation for a few journalists to come and watch the last preparation session before they faced Cardiff, and he insisted his players could do what he was asking them to do in sessions, but on matchdays it would be a different story, that they’d make too many errors, and that it was more a psychological problem with the team.

Some players chose not to go to the annual Christmas party in December keeping in mind bad form, and while the squad were low on confidence, they weren’t divided per say, and Rooney felt he couldn’t do anything about that.

Rooney is described to seen as having a visible, friendly and approachable approach by some staff at the training ground.

Rooney felt he didn’t have the players to deliver the kind of performance he wanted, so had looked to bringing in new additions in the upcoming transfer windows. 

An aim for the new owners were to bring back the bond between fans and the club having gone years of mistrust and mismanagement.

Professional development coach Steve Spooner is said to be at the helm for the FA Cup game against Hull City on Saturday, assisted by Cole, O’Shea and Pete Shuttleworth.

This is what fans are saying as Birmingham hold talks as two frontrunners emerge with players giving their verdict on Rooney’s sacking…

@ANT_LCFC (on Mowbray): Would be a decent appointment

@Tarantini_03: Not sure when #bcfc twitter became some sort of police state. I’d be pleased with Mowbray but everyone will have their own view, and not being happy with a new gaffer doesn’t make you any less of a fan. Imagine how boring life would be if everyone had the same opinion

@BluebirdSnoop: Bad fit in my eyes Mowbray likes the football Rooney said he could create but ended up with worse stats than Eustace, Cooper if they can get him or Jones are better fits for their squad less concentration on possession more on winning

@DarrenSmith1975: If we are unable to persuade Cooper, Potter or Hassenhutl then Mowbray would be someone that wouldn’t initially get me jumping for joy like the other 3 but would be a massive improvement and would be someone I could get behind, speaking to a Sunderland fan I know #bcfc

@_RacingJames: IF it is Tony Mowbray I’m quite ok with that. Feels like more of an evolutionary decision and is the type of manager that I think we should have replaced JE with. Decent returns at Sunderland and B’burn, playing good football, developing youth and scoring goals. #bcfc

@DarrylHewes316: I like Mowbray as a manager. Was a little harshly treated by Sunderland and a good fit for Birmingham in my view.

@CalSteele92: Mowbray is a safe choice if the rumours that we couldn’t give Cooper the cash he wanted – get the players back fit Laird and Buchanan at Full Back with Miyoshi in that 10 slot behind Stansfield #KRO #BCFC

@Tarantini_03: Mowbray doesn’t exactly get my tongue wagging but he’s been there, done that, and got the forehead wrinkles. Always leaves clubs in better shape than when he arrived and is a strong character, which is something #bcfc needs right now.

@bradsburnerygm: Best thing about Mowbray is he’s a genuinely good bloke who gets the best out of players. I think our players do best with that kind of manager. He always leaves clubs better than he found them but has lacked that little something. Proud to call him gaffer if he gets it #BCFC

@RobbieM1966: I want blues to interview as many potential managers as possible. We are told that it is a data driven appointment and how the manager comes across

@Meh08308824: you cant go wrong with king tony of Mowbray get behind him #BCFC fans

@Addison1978G (on Mowbray): Was brilliant at Sunderland one of our best managers in decades

@Sam1879_: Mowbray’s best on that list

@Kieranbcfc2: Mowbray seems to have taken the lead at the minute. If we can’t get Cooper or Hassenhutl I’d be happy with it. That said it wouldn’t shock me if there’s another twist in the tale so let’s stay patient. #bcfc

@harrisonbcfc_: More I think about it, more I think Tony Mowbray makes perfect sense for us and the current position we’re in #bcfc

@GardnersGnome: I’d like Heckingbottom but sounds as if Mowbrays all but done

@corzkro1: Absolute mug if you’re turning your nose up at Tony Mowbray #BCFC

@SAFC_Luke_2703: Can’t believe the Brum fans turning their nose up at Mowbray like, they’ve not got a chance at anything this season so a stability coach like him is exactly what they need for now. Plus he plays good football so what’s not to like if you’re in their position #SAFC #BCFC

@Kieranbcfc2: Think Mowbray could also have a big say in Stansfield staying aswell btw. #bcfc

Would take Mowbray all day long!
– Plays good football
– Champ experience
– Gets us back to basics
– Promotes youth
– Works on a tight budget

@lufcMM0: This would be a perfect appointment for Birmingham. Mowbray is cheap, stable, plays good football and a great guy.

@Chapmann_x: This is something all blues can get behind 👏 #bcfc

@oftenpartizan: More than happy if we get Mowbray , plenty of championship experience, the guy has a tactical head on his shoulders and a more than adequate CV in my opinion. This is a solid appointment if we get him #bcfc

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