Sport

John Eustace replaces Lee Bowyer at Birmingham amid takeover uncertainty

Birmingham have appointed John Eustace as their new head coach, one day after announcing Lee Bowyer’s departure.

The 42-year-old Eustace, who was assistant manager with QPR and, since March, the Republic of Ireland, has agreed a three-year deal with the Championship club. The change of manager at St Andrew’s comes amid uncertainty over a proposed takeover.

Eustace told the club’s official website: “I am very proud to be here. Obviously I am a Birmingham lad, and I know the potential of the club and how important it is to the fans. We have underachieved in the past few seasons and a club of this size, with the support that this club has, we need to be aiming higher.

“I can’t wait to get going, meet the staff and get my ideas across to the players out on the pitches as soon as we can,” added Eustace, who will join up with his players at a pre-season training camp in Portugal. “The big picture is to get us as competitive as we can, to build a team that the fans are proud of, to play exciting football and win as many games as we can.”

Eustace made more than 400 appearances during a playing career which included spells at Coventry, Stoke, Watford and Derby, and began his managerial career at non-league Kidderminster. His coaching staff will be confirmed in the coming days, but Paul Harsley will continue in his role of first team development coach.

Bowyer was dismissed on Saturday after 16 months in charge, after the Blues finished their league campaign in 20th place. The decision comes with the club’s owners looking to sell up. Laurence Bassini, the former Watford owner, had been in talks over a deal, but missed a number of deadlines.

Neither statement gave any mention of the club’s ownership status, with Bowyer sacked as a result of last season’s on-pitch performances. “Despite a promising start to the campaign, results fell below expectations as the season progressed, and the board feel that a change in management is in the best interests of the football club,” a statement said.

“As a player and as a head coach, Lee’s commitment and dedication was never in question and we will always be thankful for his contribution both on the pitch and in the dugout. He will always be welcomed back to St Andrew’s.”