Lee Bowyer has been confirmed as the new manager of Birmingham City after Aitor Karanka’s exit was finally confirmed with a loveless farewell message.
Bowyer spent two and a half years as a player at Birmingham, scoring 12 goals in 94 appearances and earning promotion to the Premier League.
He also played his part in the club’s League Cup success in 2011.
Now he returns having signed a deal with the Championship side until June 2023, tasked with leading a side low on confidence to safety after a miserable time under his predecessor.
“I’m absolutely delighted and it’s great to be back,” said Bowyer, who takes over Brum with them in the midst of a relegation battle.
“I’ve already seen some of the old faces from when I was here last and I’m just really looking forward to getting to work.
“My priority is to lift everybody. Not just the players, the staff as well. It seems like it’s not been in a very good place, so I’ve got to lift them.
“I’ve got to try and implement what I want very quickly. The team will improve, I have no doubt about that but we already have a good base to work with.
“I’m gutted the fans aren’t here because I know the part they would play. When I was here as a player it was an unreal atmosphere. I know how important they are but unfortunately we can’t change that.
“We have to pull together as a Club to make sure we are in this division next season so the fans can come back and appreciate what we do in this short space of time.”
Bowyer returns to St Andrew’s following the dismissal of Karanka.
He departed after a 3-0 home defeat to Bristol City which left the Blues just three points above the Championship relegation zone.
However, as detailed by our man Neil Moxley, while Karanka’s fate was sealed with that result and Harlee Dean’s post-match press interview in which he failed to answer whether the manager still had the players’ backing, he still had to endure chief executive Xuandong Ren’s birthday lunch on Sunday.
It’s understood Karanka was told of his exit before that lunch.
However, the Spaniard’s departure was only confirmed at 5:52pm on Tuesday night – over 48 hours later – in a brief 21-word statement.
It simply read: “The club can confirm that Aitor Karanka has stepped down as head coach. Further information will be provided in due course.”
Just 18 minutes later, Blues confirmed that Bowyer was replacing him in the West Midlands.
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