Birmingham City chief executive Xuandong Ren has insisted that manager Aitor Karanka has the full backing of the Blues hierarchy, and he revealed the Spaniard is working with the smallest squad budget of any of the other managers under their regime.
The Blues have endured a miserable period of form in the Championship and they have managed to secure just one win in their last 11 league matches. That has seen them drop alarmingly down the table in recent weeks. They are now sat inside the relegation zone needing to get back to winning ways to avoid getting cut adrift and to allow themselves to climb the table again.
Karanka’s side suffered a 3-2 defeat at Bournemouth last time out for their 12th loss in the Championship so far this campaign, and they have managed to win just two of their opening 14 league games at St Andrew’s. That has seen pressure start to mount on the former Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough boss who needs his side to start finding consistent results.
Speaking to BBC West Midlands, Ren revealed that Karanka has had to work with the most restricted budget that any manager has had since the club were takeover. While he also insisted that the Blues’ hierarchy have full confidence in the Spaniard to turn things around and be the man to lead them back to the Premier League in the next few years.
He said: “He signed up for a tough job when he came in.
“There are a lot of difficulties that Aitor has had to face up to.
“We are still a club in transition. We are in the very last stage of recovery from the serious mistake we made three years ago.
“Aitor Karanka has the smallest playing budget since we took over this club.”
He continued: “First of all we need to take a lot of things into consideration.
“This has been a uniquely challenging year. And he didn’t have a proper pre-season. Aitor came in through the door on 1 August and our first game was on 12 September with 14 new players.
“But we have a more than capable manager in place and he can take this team a long way.
“He has the experience. He knows the formula of how to get teams out of this league. We share my owner’s vision for this club.
“In terms of progression, I am more than happy. We are playing the sort of football we think will get us out of this league. Not like the football we used to play.”
Often when a manager receives the dreaded vote of confidence from the club’s hierarchy it spells the beginning of the end for their spell in charge of that respective club. Given the past history of Birmingham’s owners, it would not be that surprising to see these comments from Ren signal a similar moment in Karanka’s time in charge at St Andrew’s.
However, it is interesting to see Ren remark back to the decision made to sack Gary Rowett when the owners first took over the club, and that could suggest they believe Karanka could have a similar impact in transforming the fortunes of the club as Rowett had done in his time in charge. The Spaniard then might be handed more time to turn things around.
Simply though Birmingham must start winning matches, and if Karanka can not pull them out of the relegation zone in the next few weeks the pressure will continue to grow until a decision Is forced upon the club’s board. The Spaniard has both the experience and the managerial capability to turn things around, but that needs to translate into results very soon you feel.