Based on results alone, it seems inevitable that the reign of Aitor Karanka had to come to an end. While it’s not been confirmed at the time of writing, practically every outlet has reported that the 47-year-old Basque has departed Blues. So what next?
Another day, another defeat. Millwall were the victors this time, beating Blues 2-0 at the Den on Wednesday night to condemn Aitor Karanka’s side to their ninth defeat in 13 league games. Blues lie one point behind Rotherham in 21st place, although the Millers have two games in hand. For any other club the assumption would be Karanka’s place is untenable – but there is no sign of change. What needs to happen?
Defeat to Norwich City at Carrow Road on Tuesday evening extended Birmingham City’s winless run to five games. Chances were at a premium for Blues and the sending off of Adam Clayton for a second bookable offence turned out to be the prelude to the only goal of the game. Yet there are reasons that Blues fans should be patient.
Aitor Karanka’s first press conference as Birmingham City head coach was an ode to “sensible, reasonable things” as both the Spaniard and Blues CEO Ren Xuandong spoke of learning from mistakes and long-term futures. Is this the start of something beautiful at St Andrew’s?
It took a while but like the Mounties, Blues CEO Ren Xuandong got his man. Birmingham City confirmed late on Friday evening that Aitor Karanka has signed a three-year deal to be the next head coach of the club. The 46-year-old Spanish coach ends an 18 month exile from management since walking out on Nottingham Forest in January 2019.
While Blues CEO Ren Xuandong has been criticised heavily on Blues social media and forums recently, Kristjaan Speakman has been somewhat under the radar. Listed on the official Blues website as Academy Manager, Speakman has been acting as a de facto Sporting Director at Blues in recent times. Is Speakman culpable for the club’s current situation.
Now the dust has settled on a prolonged and difficult campaign in the Championship, it’s time once again for the Birmingham City hierarchy to look forward. With confirmation that the new EFL season begins on September 12, there are less than seven weeks until kickoff to sort out a number of issues.
After being given a great chance to properly secure their place in the Championship next season through other teams not picking up points, Blues threw it all away with another dismal display on Sunday. Despite a tinkering with the formation and the recall from furlough of Steve Spooner, Blues looked abject against a Stoke side who probably should have scored a few more.
Wednesday saw Blues concede three goals at home for the fifth game in a row, ensuring that for the second time in a month Pep Clotet and the BCFC board agreed to part ways – this time with immediate effect. Now, for the third time in four seasons Blues face trying to bring in a manager to stop the rot and prevent them from falling into the relegation trap door.
It’s been a month now since Pep Clotet announced that he was leaving his role as Head Coach of Birmingham City. In the time since, there have been all manner of names mooted as his replacement, with the betting market changing rapidly. Do the bookies know anything that we don’t?