Birmingham appoint Spurs' Davies as new manager

Birmingham City have appointed Tottenham Hotspur assistant boss Chris Davies as their new manager on a four-year deal.

Davies, 39, who was a coach at Swansea City, Liverpool, Celtic and Leicester City under Brendan Rodgers, succeeds Tony Mowbray at the newly relegated League One club.

Blues have agreed a compensation package with Spurs as Davies still had two years left on his contract.

The club spoke to over 40 candidates - reportedly including Frank Lampard and Alex Neil - for the job, which became vacant on 21 May when Mowbray confirmed he would not be returning to the role for health reasons.

"From our first meeting, it was clear we were aligned on values and shared our ambition for Blues," said owner and chairman Tom Wagner, who was part of the recruitment panel along with co-owner Tom Brady and chief executive Garry Cook.

"He is widely respected in the game and fulfils our goal to appoint an ambitious, progressive coach. He is motivated to help redefine the club, the culture, and the playing identity."

Davies added: "As soon as I spoke with Tom, Garry, Tom Brady, and other board members it was clear to me how passionate and committed the football leadership team are to bringing success to this club.

“I will give everything to build an attacking team that reflects this great city, and most importantly to produce a team that our supporters can be proud of.”

Seven bosses in 10 months

Since taking over at St Andrew's 10 months ago, Blues' American owners Knighthead have appointed seven different bosses.

They began the 2023-24 campaign with John Eustace at the helm, before making the decision to look elsewhere.

After a run of six games without a win, Blues then enjoyed two convincing home wins inside a week just before they opted to sack him and appoint Wayne Rooney in early October.

But Rooney's decision to alter the playing style in a bid to satisfy the owners' demand for "no fear football" backfired.

Blues won just two of his 15 games in charge - and he too was sacked on 2 January.

Academy coach Steve Spooner was placed in caretaker charge before the vastly experienced Mowbray's appointment. But, after four wins in eight matches, Mowbray had to take sick leave, initially on a short term basis, with Mark Venus at the helm.

That then became extended when Blues lost five of their six matches under long-time number two Venus, who also went on leave - and they instead turned to former Blues boss Gary Rowett for the final eight games.

But Blues only won three of those last eight matches, their relegation rivals all picked up results - and the club went down to the third tier for only the third time in their history, on 50 points, a bigger total than on three of the previous occasions when they had stayed up.

'Blues looking for a Kieran McKenna'

Analysis - Richard Wilford, BBC Radio WM sports editor

On the surface this seems to be a forward-thinking appointment from Birmingham City and while Chris Davies does not bring the star quality that the owners craved last season, he certainly brings some coaching prowess with him.

This choice is not entirely inconsistent from Tom Wagner and Knighthead.

They have been keen to stress a desire to see Blues play progressive, attractive, modern football which is a style that is at the heart of his methods working under Brendan Rogers and Ange Postecoglou.

Of course the success enjoyed by Kieran McKenna at Ipswich means that young coaches with a growing reputation are in vogue.

Unearthing another McKenna is not straightforward, but Davies will be well-backed by ambitious owners who must give him the time and support to find his feet in his first number one role.

League One is going to be an unforgiving experience for the club, and there really are no guarantees that they can gain promotion at the first time of asking.

But in choosing Davies over more established options, Blues have given themselves the opportunity to build something fresh that could ultimately live up to their grand off-the-field plans.

A first managerial role for Davies

Chris Davies and Brendan Rodgers
Davies spent four years with Brendan Rodgers at Leicester [Getty Images]

Watford-born Davies was a promising player at Reading, where he first worked under Rodgers, captaining the Royals' youth sides while winning caps up to under-19 level for Wales, for whom he qualified to play through his father.

But he was forced to shelve plans of making it as a professional at the age of 19, when his dream was ended by an arthritic condition and he opted to pursue a career in coaching.

He started out with holiday camps and junior sessions before furthering his experience overseas in the United States and New Zealand but stayed in touch with Rodgers, who gave him the role of performance analyst at Swansea in 2010.

Despite having still to finish his coaching badges, Rodgers took Davies to Liverpool in 2012 as opposition scout before making him his assistant when he moved to Celtic in 2016.

After back-to-back doubles in Scotland, he and Rodgers won the FA Cup with Leicester, but both left the Foxes in April 2023 prior to the club's relegation from the top flight.

He was a target for Swansea City last summer as they first tried to replace Southampton-bound Russell Martin.

Instead Spurs took him to become part of Postecoglou's new backroom team - but Davies is now out on his own.