Former Swansea City, Leeds United, and Middlesbrough manager Garry Monk will take up the reigns at Birmingham City. Monk, who takes charge of his third team in a single calendar year, will now have 11 matches to try and keep Birmingham in the Championship. Birmingham currently sit in 22nd place on 30 points, two points away from 21st placed Barnsley FC and safety.
Birmingham City sacked manager Steve Cotterill yesterday after the Blues had suffered five straight league defeats, plunging them down the table. If this seems familiar, it should. Harry Redknapp was appointed last April, with three matches to go, in a bid to keep them in the Championship. And while Redknapp was able to keep the Blues up last season, he was sacked after only 13 matches in charge this season after wheeling and dealing to land 14 new players in the summer transfer window. Despite the influx of new talent, Birmingham find themselves in almost the same position as last year.
From the Birmingham City official website:
After talks today, Monk has signed a three-and-a-half year contract.
Assistant Manager Clotet, First Team Coach Beattie and Goalkeeper Coach Flahavan have also agreed contracts until the summer of 2021.
The Club is delighted to have secured the services of one of the game’s brightest young managers in Monk, 38.
He began his managerial career when Swansea City Club Captain, in February 2014, succeeding Michael Laudrup.
Having kept Swans in the Premier League, he guided them to a club-best eighth in the 2014-15 campaign.
In the summer of 2016 Monk joined Leeds United and brought the good times back to Elland Road following several mid-table finishes.
In June 2017, Monk took up the reins at newly-relegated Middlesbrough and his time at the Riverside came to an end in December, following an away victory over Sheffield Wednesday with the team sitting three points outside the Play-Offs.
As a player, centre-half Monk made 339 career appearances and lifted the League Cup with Swansea in 2013. He also captained Swans to the League One title and Championship Play-Off Final victory.
We’ve documented Monk’s changing story about why he left Elland Road last May a number of times, and it’s a little interesting, to say the least, to see Leeds United fans pine for Monk to come back to the club. He was sacked by Middlesbrough back in December, despite having turned Boro’s fortunes around after a dire start to the season, and he was replaced by route-one football enthusiast Tony Pulis at the Riverside.
As successful as last season was, the fact is that Leeds frittered away an almost certain playoff position in the final weeks of the season and Monk was unable to rally the club to prevent the slide down the table. He has been happy to take credit for a 7th place finish, but has never owned up to the collapse that left Leeds in 7th place instead of in the playoffs.
Garry Monk now has an opportunity to take some paycheques in a fairly easy situation. If Birmingham City stay up, and they have the talent to do so, then he’s seen as a saivour. If the team is relegated, then he gets to claim that he didn’t have enough time to keep them up and he will be absolved of any responsibility. Sounds like a perfect place for Monk.