Birmingham have parted company with Lee Bowyer amid uncertainty regarding a proposed takeover at St Andrew’s.
Bowyer held the head coach role for 16 months, steering the club to safety after his appointment in March 2021 and then guiding them to 20th place in the Championship last term. But with pre-season preparations already under way, Bowyer’s contract has been terminated.
The decision comes with the club’s owners looking to sell up. Laurence Bassini, the former Watford owner, had been in talks over a deal, but his period of exclusivity has expired after he missed a number of deadlines. Bassini had made clear he intended to replace Bowyer if he took over the club.
The club’s ownership status was not mentioned in Saturday’s statement confirming the 45-year-old’s exit, with last season’s results cited as the reason for the decision. “The board of directors believe this to be the necessary course of action and have acted swiftly ahead of the 2022-23 campaign,” the statement said. “Bowyer leaves the club after almost 16 months in charge, having helped secure Blues’ Championship status following his appointment in March 2021.
“Four victories in his first six games in charge helped lift the club away from the relegation zone, with survival officially achieved following victory over Derby County two games before the season’s conclusion. In his first full campaign at the helm, Bowyer oversaw a 20th-placed finish including an opening day victory at Sheffield United and a 5-0 away win over Luton Town.
“Despite a promising start to the campaign, results fell below expectations as the season progressed and the board feel that a change in management is in the best interests of the football club at this pivotal stage. The board would like to place on record their sincere thanks to Lee for all of his efforts during his time at the club. As a player and as a head coach, Lee’s commitment and dedication was never in question and we will always be thankful for his contribution both on the pitch and in the dugout.
“He will always be welcomed back to St Andrew’s … a replacement head coach and support staff will be confirmed in due course.”
Birmingham have also parted ways with Andy Marshall, their goalkeeping coach.