Carson Yeung may be safely locked away in a Hong Kong prison after being convicted of money laundering, but the Birmingham owner’s icy hand could still be felt on Lee Clark’s shoulder as the former Newcastle and Sunderland midfielder was dismissed from the St Andrews’ hot seat.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s former number two at Manchester United Mike Phelan heads the market at 3/5 to replace the 41-year-old, with ex-Birmingham centre-half Gary Rowett, currently manager of Burton Albion, also prominent at 7/5.
Further back in bwin’s market for next permanent Blues manager, former Celtic boss Tony Mowbray must be of interest at 14/1, after the ex-Middlesbrough stalwart’s return to the north-east side as manager ended in failure and his departure this time last year.
Mowbray had previously worked wonders with West Brom, adding current Albion stars James Morrison and Chris Brunt to the Hawthorns roster and gaining promotion to the Premier League, and the semi-finals of the FA Cup, with the Baggies during the 2007/08 campaign.
Another candidate with renowned Championship smarts who could be coaxed back into managing in the Midlands is former Reading and Leeds boss Brian McDermott, priced up at 16/1.
The folically-challenged former Arsenal midfielder was treated dreadfully by new Whites owner Massimo Cellino, who effectively sacked McDermott twice, in January before bringing him back due to fans’ uproar, and then finally at the end of last term.
McDermott had the Championship worked out during his only two full seasons with the Royals, who missed out in the play-off final against Swansea in 2010/11, before taking the top tier title ahead of Southampton and West Ham in the following campaign.
The 53-year-old is surely worth another try after being sidelined by Cellino, but Birmingham will need to convince any new manager that they’re prepared to do things differently, or face being rudderless for some time.
Clark may have few complaints, with the Blues claiming just one St Andrews win over the past 12 months, but having seen experienced backroom team Derek Fazackerley and Terry McDermott sacked midway through last season, the writing seems to have been on the wall for some time.
Yeung also needs to get a message west to open the purse strings again, after a summer when eight of Birmingham’s ten transfers were brought in on frees.