Garry Monk: Birmingham City sack manager after 15 months at club

Garry Monk watches on
Garry Monk had two years left on his Birmingham contract

Birmingham City have sacked manager Garry Monk after just over a year in charge of the Championship club.

There had been talk earlier this month that ex-Middlesbrough, Swansea and Leeds boss Monk, 40, would resign over the exit of Jota to rivals Aston Villa.

Monk's assistant Pep Clotet has been named caretaker head coach.

"The board of directors are hopeful that over time the team can adopt a fresh and modern footballing philosophy," a statement said.

Monk helped Blues avoid relegation after arriving at St Andrew's in March 2018 and then took them towards the play-offs last season.

But they had a potential Financial Fair Play penalty hanging over them for breaching EFL profitability and sustainability rules.

That ultimately led to them being deducted nine points by an EFL Independent Disciplinary Commission. They finished the season 12 points above the drop zone, in 17th.

The statement added that Monk's sacking would improve the Chinese-owned club's chances of challenging for promotion back to the top flight after eight successive years so far in the Championship.

"The board of directors believe this to be in the long-term interests of the club," it continued.

"It is vitally important for everybody at the club to be sharing the same vision and commitment to the plans and processes."

The remainder of Monk's backroom team - including first-team coach James Beattie - are to remain at the club.

Analysis

BBC WM's Richard Wilford

Rumours had been rife over the past 10 days that the relationship between Birmingham City's owners and Monk had become strained, and yet his departure remains a shocking turn of events.

After guiding the club to Championship safety, overcoming their nine-point penalty for the club's previous financial excesses, Monk was expected to build on his relative success without the hindrance of the transfer embargo and with a chance to bring in his own preferred players.

It appears his teambuilding plans were not to the satisfaction of chief executive Xuandong Ren and the owners Trillion Trophy Asia who are calling for a change in "footballing philosophy".

For the club's fans, who had embraced the Monk era warmly, this is horribly reminiscent of Gary Rowett's sudden departure, when Birmingham were in the Championship's upper reaches, and his ill-fated replacement by Gianfranco Zola.

I am told the owners were concerned by a record of only seven home wins in the league last season, and today's statement also reflects the conviction of some board members that there are talented youngsters within the system who should be brought into the first team.

To replace a manager at the height of his popularity is, at best, a bold move. Supporters will take a lot of convincing that it isn't foolhardy.

Top Stories