QPR, Millwall and Sheff Weds relegation rivals rocked by heartbreaking manager news

Birmingham City manager Tony Mowbray will temporarily step away from his role at the Championship outfit.
The Championship club has had a tricky season.The Championship club has had a tricky season.
The Championship club has had a tricky season.

QPR and Millwall Championship relegation rivals Birmingham City have today been rocked by the news that manager Tony Mowbray is temporarily stepping down from his role due to a serious illness.

The Blues' boss informed players and staff on Monday morning at a private meeting at its Henley-in-Arden training base. The news comes in a tumultuous season for Birmingham City, who had already sacked John Eustace and Wayne Rooney during the campaign but had improved under Mowbray.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Midlands side sit 15th in the Championship, six points above the Rs in 22nd and five points above the Lions in 21st. When Eustace was sacked in October, the club had been in the play-off places but cited a 'misalignment with leadership'.

Mowbray oversaw a 2-1 victory against former side Sunderland on Saturday and a 1-0 victory over Blackburn Rovers in midweek, showing signs of resurgence having been in freefall down the table. Birmingham City travel to Millwall on March 9 and to QPR on March 29.

Mowbray's prognosis is unknown but the club has confirmed the 60-year-old will be out of action for six to eight weeks, although it seems unlikely the veteran will return to the dugout before the end of the season on May 4.

Mowbray said: “Following my recent LMA Health Assessment I have received a medical diagnosis that will require me to receive treatment. Undergoing treatment will necessitate that I temporarily step away from the Technical Area as Manager of Birmingham City Football Club. Until I return, my Assistant Manager, Mark Venus, will take temporary charge of the team, supported by coaches Ashley Cole, Pete Shuttleworth and Maik Taylor. I will continue to provide advice and counsel while undergoing treatment.

Tony Mowbray had rejuvenated a struggling Birmingham City side.Tony Mowbray had rejuvenated a struggling Birmingham City side.
Tony Mowbray had rejuvenated a struggling Birmingham City side.
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“The Club has been incredibly supportive of me and my family and we are very grateful. I know that everyone will be respectful of our privacy at this time.”

Birmingham City Chief Executive Officer, Garry Cook, said: “Our thoughts are with Tony, his wife Amber, and family. We wish him a speedy recovery and look forward to welcoming Tony back to the Club to continue the excellent work that he has started. In the meantime, Mark Venus, Ashley Cole, Pete Shuttleworth and Maik Taylor, will be given all the support they need to lead the Club forward.”

Assistant manager Mark Venus is set to step up to the plate in Mowbray's absence but there are murmurs that an interim boss could come in with such an important part of the season still to play. Former Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper and ex Birmingham City midfielder Lee Carsley, who won the European Championship with the England under-21s, have both been touted as options.

Birmingham City are next in action against high-flying Southampton at St Andrew's on March 2 before facing Hull City at the MKM Stadium on March 5.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.