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Welcome to Birmingham City, Lee Clark

By Chris Quinn on Jun 25, 12 11:50 PM in Birmingham City FC


No sooner is the madness of England's EURO2012 campaign over than events closer to home force their way back to the forefront of our minds.

It was a pleasant change watching England - no worries about whether they can sign any new players, not a care in the world as to whether their owner was going to sell or not. Apart from the McLeish tactics, it was a breath of fresh air.

But, like an Ashley Young penalty, Blues are firmly back in our thoughts with a sudden thud.

That is because former Huddersfield boss Lee Clark has agreed to become our new manager. He is the man who believes he can overcome Blues' off-field problems and try and restore the pride of this club that has been so badly damaged in recent years.

Clark will replace Chris Hughton who left for Norwich this summer and Birmingham Mail reporter Colin Tattum reported that the former Irish international defender had recommended Clark as his successor to the board.

No surprise really, as the two are cut from a similar cloth. Having served an apprenticeship at Newcastle whilst still a player, the then first-team coach and reserve team manager moved with Glenn Roeder to Norwich, where Clark took up his first assistant manager job. Never coy about eventually becoming a manager, he was finally given a chance by League One Huddersfield.

A bright start had pundits clamouring over each other to announce he was destined to go far in management, but when the Terriers failed to gain promotion via the play-offs in Clark's second season, fans began to turn on the Geordie boss, believing that his side was too pre-occupied with not losing games rather than pushing for crucial wins.

A second successive play-off failure was the grounding for his eventual sacking in what was his fourth season, dismissed when Town were sitting in fourth position in the league. (Remember the last boss we appointed that was harshly dismissed beforehand?) All this despite setting the longest undefeated streak in English football history as the Terriers went 43 league games, and almost a whole calendar year, without being beaten.

Whilst the fans may have got on his back regarding their alleged conservative ways, although Town did play a brand of football similar to Hughton's Blues last season, a quick glance at his record in charge of the Terriers shows that Clark won more than double the games he lost during his time at the Galpharm Stadium.

His record in all competitions reads: Games - 178; Won - 87; Drawn - 51; Lost - 40. Leaving Clark with an impressive win percentage of 49%.

That stint in Yorkshire has been Clark's only job to date, but vast experience was not deemed crucial when Hughton was appointed so Blues have history in taking a gamble on what they perceive as the right choice.

There is no doubting that Clark has chased this job from the moment Hughton left and the long-term bookies favourite finally has his wish. Two rounds of interviews with Peter Pannu suggests he has made clear his intentions and has also taken a look at Blues' stability (or lack of it dependant on your beliefs).

This is as much a gamble for Clark as it is for Blues, though. With a reputation as a clever, hard-working and enthusiastic manager, Clark could have waited for a job where his career path could have been smoother. But his willingness to step up to a higher level suggests he believes he can steady the Blues ship.

His first task may be to revamp a squad that looks set for further losses following Jordan Mutch's surprise sale to Cardiff. With Ben Foster almost certain to leave and reports linking Hughton with a swoop for Curtis Davies, there may be a need to a bit of transfer business to attend to before Clark can really get begin to mould a team capable of being competitive in the Championship.

It promises to be a tough season ahead, but Clark will soon learn that Blues fans live by our 'Keep Right On' motto. If he does the same he can be sure of full backing from the stands.

Welcome to St. Andrew's, Lee!

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Martin Laurence

Martin Laurence is a lifelong Aston Villa fan, statistical analyst and editor-in-chief at www.WhoScored.com. My Posts

Chris Quinn

Chris Quinn is a journalism graduate who has been a season ticket holder at Birmingham City for 10 years. My Posts

Richard Jefferson

Richard Jefferson is a West Bromwich Albion season ticket holder of more than 30 years and contributes to wbaunofficial
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Graham Large

Graham Large is a Wolverhampton Wanderers season ticket holder and Executive Editor of itsroundanditswhite.co.uk
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