April 24, 2024

The latest Birmingham City news from BirminghamLive offers an inside look at Gary Rowett’s press conference before his first game as interim manager against QPR.
When Gary Rowett arrived for his (second) first press conference at Birmingham City on Wednesday afternoon, he was not greeted with the same hoopla as his predecessors this season.

There was no dramatic introduction before a tracksuit-clad Rowett walked in at quarter past two to welcome perhaps ten journalists. Rowett was never going to be unveiled, and he shouldn’t have been, considering that his second spell in charge of the Blues is only supposed to last eight games.

His quiet arrival is a show of respect for Tony Mowbray, whose seat Rowett will keep warm till summer. It was only natural that Rowett began the news conference by disclosing specifics about his meetings with the man he is temporarily replacing.

“It was always in my mind that I wanted to have that conversation,” he told me. “I feel Tony played an important role in that process by suggesting I may be a good fit for that position.

“I believe that tells you all you need to know about Tony Mowbray, which is why he is such a popular character and why everyone wants him to get better, back on his feet, and back on the touchline. That is where everyone wants to see him.

“It was critical that I had the talk and ensured that he was a part of the process, regardless of what his ideas were. He told me his thoughts on the team, its players, and the situation.

“One really important part for me, sometimes when you’re in this situation and you want to try and be respectful and have half a mind on how Tony has tried to do things, when the conversation started, he said, ‘You have just got to do it how you see fit, do it as an eight-game block and however you want to do it.'” I had a good conversation with him, and we all wish him well and a speedy return to full health.

Rowett and Mowbray have mutual respect, but their football ideas have occasionally diverged. For the next eight games, Rowett will call all the decisions to guarantee Mowbray returns without being relegated.

 

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Rowett added: “I’m an experienced manager in my own right, and I’ll keep in touch with Tony, but I don’t think Tony’s going to call me on a Friday and go over the team with me.” It’s more a matter of doing what I see fit and making independent judgments with my staff and the people who are already here. My task is simple: make sure Tony Mowbray is a Championship manager when he returns.

Rowett, who is now 50 and has a decade of Championship managerial experience, has switched from punditry to pressure at the end of the season. Many people would not have bothered to take on a position that could lead to relegation, but Rowett’s affection for the Blues, a club he has previously played for, drew him back.

“It’s good to be back with something for your weekend. I believe this is why most managers return to it. Why do I go from a comfortable Sky Sports studio or sitting at home watching the rain outside thinking about what I’m going to do with my day, to now sitting there possibly getting insulted by loads of fans, hopefully not Birmingham ones? It’ll be fantastic to get outside.

“But it’s not about me enjoying myself, it’s not about me walking out there and the crowd being behind me, it’s about what we can do to help the team win games of football, it’s as simple as that.”

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