Pep Clotet: Birmingham City head coach to leave role at end of season

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June 9, 2020
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    Pep Clotet

    Pep Clotet had a spell as manager of Oxford United before joining the coaching staff at Birmingham

    Pep Clotet will leave his position as Birmingham City head coach at the end of the season.

    The Spaniard, 43, has been allowed to leave the Championship club to “explore other coaching opportunities”.

    Clotet had been assisting previous boss Garry Monk before succeeding him as head coach, initially on an interim basis, in June 2019.

    Blues are 16th in the Championship table, with the season expected to resume on 20 June.

    Clotet said: “It’s been a really difficult decision to take because it’s a privilege to be part of the Blues family, but it’s the best step for everyone and it allows the club to continue to move forward with their vision and strategy.”

    Chief executive Dong Ren said: “Pep will depart with our very best wishes.

    “In the meantime, Pep continues to have our full backing and we are all determined to do everything we can to finish the season strongly and give him the fitting send-off he deserves.”

    Blues are eight points clear of the relegation zone with nine matches still to play.

    Clotet’s exit later this summer will leave Birmingham looking for a sixth manager in just three and a half years.

    Since Gary Rowett was sacked in December 2016, Gianfranco Zola (four months), Harry Redknapp (five months), Steve Cotterill (five months), Monk (15 months) and Clotet (12 months) have all had spells in charge of Blues.

    Analysis

    Richard Wilford, BBC WM’s Birmingham City reporter

    Clotet had never expected to find himself as the head coach at St Andrew’s, and only anticipated being a temporary fix when Monk departed.

    Not entirely comfortable with the spotlight, Clotet sought to engineer the change in style desired by the owners without necessarily having the full set of resources required.

    At times, this led to compromise in order to put points on the board. He showed commitment to younger players, most notably creating the perfect platform for the gifted Jude Bellingham to learn and thrive.

    At the time that football was interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, Blues were closer to their target of better football. The acquisition of a second striker, Scott Hogan, to support the ever-willing Lukas Jutkiewicz gave the team considerably more balance.

    But the virus may also have made up Pep’s mind to move on. He returned to Spain to spend time with his young family during the crisis. It would be no surprise if he chose to continue his coaching career nearer home.

    The assistant who became the boss

    Clotet was Monk’s assistant at Swansea and Leeds, but when Monk moved to Middlesbrough in 2017, this time it was without Clotet, who had a brief spell as Oxford manager.

    The pair were reunited again at St Andrew’s in March 2018, however, when Monk was sacked by Blues last summer, this time they parted on bad terms.

    Before his new club Sheffield Wednesday played Blues in November, Monk said he had made an “error of judgement” in working with Clotet.

    After six months as an interim appointment, Clotet’s role with Blues was rubber-stamped on a more permanent basis in December, and the pair shook hands before a February meeting between the two clubs at St Andrew’s in February.

    Blues spent part of the 2019-20 season under an English Football League investigation on a financial misconduct charge, but that was dismissed in March, subject to an EFL appeal against the independent disciplinary commission’s decision.

    They were deducted nine points in the 2018-19 season for breaching the EFL’s profitability and sustainability rules. And, like his predecessor Monk, Clotet has had to perform his job under the same backdrop of concern over what might happen.

    Source

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    June 9, 2020
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