Aitor Karanka steps down as Birmingham boss

Ian Parker, PA
·2-min read

Birmingham have parted company with Aitor Karanka amid reports Lee Bowyer is poised to become the Blues’ new boss.

Karanka was shown the door after a run of only three wins in the last 19 league matches left Birmingham 21st in the Championship, three points clear of 22nd-placed Rotherham who have four games in hand.

The former Middlesbrough and Nottingham Forest boss had stressed on Saturday that he intended to carry on in the job.

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When asked if he would resign, Karanka said: “No chance. In my career I never gave up and here isn’t going to be the first place.”

But the Blues said in a brief statement on Tuesday afternoon: “The club can confirm that Aitor Karanka has stepped down as head coach. Further information will be provided in due course.”

Confirmation of that move came the day after Charlton announced that Bowyer had stepped down.

Bowyer left The Valley with the best wishes of Charlton owner Thomas Sandgaard, and said it had been a difficult decision to leave the club where he began both his playing and managerial careers.

Lee Bowyer has left Charlton
Lee Bowyer has left Charlton (John Walton/PA)

“Everyone knows how I feel about the club,” he said in a statement. “I could have gone before but I felt it was the right thing to do to stay and help the club through the tough times we’ve been through.

“We had some amazing times and some tough times. It has been emotional leaving.

“The club is now in a place with a good owner that cares and wants to improve the place and I hope the club can continue to grow. It will always hold a special place in my heart.”

Bowyer spent two-and-a-half seasons with Birmingham as a player, after initially joining on loan from West Ham in January 2009.

He lifted the League Cup with the club in 2011 but left a few months later following their relegation to the Championship.