Birmingham City have made the decision to sack manager Gary Rowett and appoint Gianfranco Zola as his replacement the Blues being just three points off third place in the Championship.
New Hong-Kong based owners Trillion Trophy Asia (TTA) are ‘determined to lead the Club to a bright and exciting future’ a club statement explained as their reasoning for giving Rowett the chop.
Former Burton Albion boss Rowett took over at St Andrew’s in October 2014 shortly after their 8-0 league defeat at home to Bournemouth.
Languishing in 23rd, Rowett led the charge that not only lifted the club away from the threat of relegation but into a promising mid-table finish in the 2014/15. Achieved on a shoestring budget as the Blues were flawed by a lack of investment.
With the new investment brought to the Midlands club by TTA they complimented the work of Rowett on providing the club with a stable footing at a time when it seemed the only way was backwards.
A statement read: “The board would like to thank Gary and his backroom staff for their efforts and wish them all the best for the future.
“Gary came in and immediately stabilised the team amid difficult circumstances and during his tenure improved the club’s fortunes on the field.
“He has conducted himself professionally on behalf of the club at all times and there is a genuine sadness at this course of action.
In his place Birmingham have handed former Watford and West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola a two-and-a-half year contract.
“The former Italian international, West Ham United and Watford manager, 50, was identified by new owners Trillion Trophy Asia Limited as the ideal man to lead the Blues forward in a new direction,” a club statement confirmed.
“Joining Gianfranco are Pierluigi Casiraghi and Gabriele Cioffi as First Team coaches, Kevin Hitchcock (goalkeeper coach) and Sebastiano Porcu (video analyst).”
Zola’s first game in charge will be against promotion favourites Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday, with the 50-year-old Italian set to take to the home dugout for the first time.