Birmingham City confirm appointment of Lee Clark as manager

 

 

By Adam Higgins
Chief Football Editor

 

 

Clark (pictured above) was sacked by the Terriers earlier this year despite winning almost half of his matches in charge


 

Former Huddersfield Town boss Lee Clark has become the new manager of Championship club Birmingham City.

The 39-year-old has given the role of his assistant manager to Terry McDermott while he is expected to recruit Derek Fazackerley as first-team coach where both worked under him during his time at the Galpharm Stadium.

Birmingham's acting chairman Peter Pannu was thrilled with the appointment, commenting in a club statement: "I was impressed by Lee's tenacity, zest and ambition. He is determined to make Birmingham a force in the Npower Championship next season. Judging from his record at Huddersfield, I know he has the capability to do exactly that. The shortlist of four, out of the 22 applicants, that we put together meant that the appointment of Lee Clark was carefully studied and was a thorough and informed decision by the board. I now expect the fans to give him their full support."

Newcastle-born Clark succeeds former Magpies boss Chris Hughton, who resigned earlier this month to take charge of Premier League side Norwich City. He will be officially unveiled in a media press conference on Wednesday (27th June) at St Andrews at 12:30pm.

The length of the contract has not yet been revealed, however it means a fairly swift return to football for Clark four months after his surprise sacking from Huddersfield Town. The former Newcastle United, Sunderland and Fulham midfielder was seen as a bright young managerial talent during his three years in charge at the Galpharm Stadium.

After plying his trade in coaching under Glenn Roeder during his time as head coaches of Newcastle and Norwich, Clark brought in experienced duo McDermott and Fazackerley as his backroom team when he took over at Huddersfield.

Clark guided the Terriers to third place in League One in the 2010-11 season and, although they were heavily beaten 3-0 by Peterborough United in the play-off final, he was rewarded with a new rolling contract on a year-by-year basis.  

Last season, the club's excellent form continued with their unbeaten league run reaching 43 matches between January and November 2011- a Football League record. However, this came to an abrupt end following a 2-0 defeat by league leaders Charlton Athletic at the Valley at the beginning of December. With the team still fourth in League One, the club came under huge criticism as fans were left reeling when his sacking was revealed in February following a 1-0 home defeat by Sheffield United. Although, the Terriers ultimately achieved their season goal when they went on to clinch promotion to the Championship in May under new boss Simon Grayson when overcoming Sheffield United in the play-off final after an 8-7 penalty shoot-out win at Wembley.

But Grayson afterwards paid enormous tribute to his predecessor: "Credit goes to Lee Clark, because he put most of that team together."

Clark's new club Birmingham City were not able to enjoy similar success in the play-offs as Hughton's side were eliminated at the semi-final stage by Blackpool following a long season that included an impressive run in the UEFA Europa League reaching the group stages of the tournament.

He told the club's official website: "This is a big, big club as I know from whenever I've been fortunate enough to be here as a player or as a member of the opposition coaching staff. The passion and drive of the fans is superb and when you walk around and see the facilities and the stadium then you know that this is a Premier League club in waiting. It will be a big test but that's just the expectation of myself and my staff. Looking at the basis of the squad, there's a great mixture of experienced players who are still hungry to be successful and young players who are still learning the game but are exciting. One thing that I'll be bringing with me is the work ethic, the desire, the passion that I have for the game and I will strive every day to make the club better."

 

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