Wayne Rooney believed he would be given the January transfer window to turn around the dire form that led Birmingham to sack him on Tuesday.
The former England captain was shown the door after just 83 days at the helm following a wretched run of 10 points from 15 games, which saw Blues slip from sixth to 20th in the Championship on his watch.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Rooney said: ‘Football is a results business – and I recognise they have not been at the level I wanted them to be.
‘However, time is the most precious commodity a manager requires and I do not believe 13 weeks was sufficient to oversee the changes that were needed.
‘Personally, it will take me some time to get over this setback. I have been involved in professional football, as either a player or manager, since I was 16.’
Wayne Rooney presided over a woeful run of nine defeats in his 15 games in charge of the club
John Eustace, who was sacked in October, is thought to be open to returning to St Andrew’s
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John Eustace, who was dismissed in October to make way for Rooney, is thought to be open to returning to St Andrew’s though it would take a spectacular climbdown from US owners Knighthead, led by chairman Tom Wagner, to bring him back.
Former Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper is being monitored by at least two Premier League clubs and is unlikely to consider a return to the Championship under such circumstances.
England Under-21 boss Lee Carsley and Tony Mowbray, who was sacked by Sunderland in December, are also likely to be considered along with Jesse Marsch, who has not had a club since he was dismissed by Leeds last February.
It is unclear whether Blues would consider a left-field appoint like the highly-rated German Matthias Kohler, with the 32-year-old available after leaving Dutch club Volendam in December.
Rooney’s fate is thought to have been sealed late on Monday night, hours after the 3-0 defeat at Leeds which saw Birmingham fans turn decisively against their manager. CEO Garry Cook is not believed to have been at Elland Road but technical director Craig Gardner was there to watch the ninth loss under Rooney.
understands Rooney had started to plan for January by lining up players he believed would adapt better to attacking football. Yet ultimately results and performances were so poor that the board felt they had no alternative but to act.
Knighthead believe Birmingham must play a possession-based game to reach the Premier League though with only six points separating them from the relegation zone, the priority now is to escape League One.
Birmingham City chairman Tom Wagner (far left) CEO Garry Cook (left) and co-owner Tom Brady (right) watch the side’s Championship win over Leeds in August
Blues players were called to a meeting at the club’s training ground near Stratford-upon-Avon on Tuesday morning and informed of Rooney’s departure.
First-team coach Carl Robinson left with Rooney but Ashley Cole, John O’Shea and Pete Shuttleworth will stay on at least initially, to assist development chief Steve Spooner, who has been placed in temporary charge. Birmingham’s next match is at Hull in the FA Cup on Saturday before they resume league action against Swansea at St Andrew’s on January 13.
Cook added: ‘We are committed to doing what is necessary to bring success to St Andrew’s. Unfortunately Wayne’s time with us did not go as planned and we have decided to move in a different direction. The search for a successor begins with immediate effect.’