Sky Sports EFL pundit Don Goodman has suggested that Lee Bowyer has taken a gamble in switching Charlton Athletic for Birmingham City given both clubs lack a bit of stability for different reasons.
Bowyer had to contend with a lot of issues behind the scenes at Charlton with the ownership and the relationship between supporters and those at the top of the football club. Despite that, he was able to guide the Addicks to promotion from League One to the Championship in 2018/19. Although they were relegated last term and have struggled to stay in the top-six in the third tier this season.
The former Birmingham midfielder managed to get off to a winning start against Reading before Saturday’s 3-0 loss at Watford. Bowyer is now the Blues’ seventh permanent manager since 2016 and he will know that he needs to pick up the right results to both guide the club to safety and also give him a chance of lasting longer than his predecessors have in the role.
Speaking on Sky Sports’ latest EFL Podcast, Goodman suggested that it is a gamble to swap a club like Charlton for Birmingham given there is instability at both clubs. However, he believes him taking the jobs demonstrates that the Blues manager has a lot of belief in himself and that the current squad should not be in a relegation battle.
He said: “Am I surprised he took that job? Yes I am, to be honest with you, because he’s been through all these last few years of instability with Charlton and the ownership and the fans hating the owners.
“It was a real mess of a club, wasn’t it, Charlton, until a bit more stability has come in the last few months.
“It’s like he’s jumped out of the frying pan into the fire here, for me, because I think he is their seventh permanent manager since 2016? So it’s a gamble.
“I described when Darren Moore took the Sheffield Wednesday job as a gamble for the same reasons, because it’s not the most stable of clubs. But is shows a huge amount of self-belief from Lee. He’s obviously looked at that squad, he said in his first interview before the Reading game he can’t believe, what are they doing there with the ability in that squad.”
Bowyer has obviously taken a risk in leaving a potential promotion battle with Charlton to join a relegation one with Birmingham in the Championship. However, it does seem like a sort of calculated gamble from him where he feels he can genuinely make a real difference with the squad of players that have been underperforming this campaign.
The fact Bowyer knows how to handle the pressures of working for a club where there is not too much in the way of stability should mean that the pressures of managing Birmingham will not cause him an issue. At times some of the previous seven managers have been unable to handle things when results have turned a bit and they have felt the pressure on them.
He can prove that he has made the right decision swapping Charlton for Birmingham if he manages to guide the Blues to safety between now and the end of the campaign. That would then allow him a summer transfer window to try and build a squad that can compete higher up in the Championship than they have been doing. It would have taken a long time at the Valley to get to that stage.