Lee Clark: Birmingham City sack manager and his assistant

Lee Clark
Clark's only other spell in management came at Huddersfield

Birmingham City have sacked manager Lee Clark and his assistant Steve Watson.

Blues, 21st in the Championship, have placed first-team coach Richard Beale and chief scout Malcolm Crosby in temporary charge at St Andrew's.

Former Huddersfield boss Clark, 41, was appointed in June 2012 and led Birmingham to 12th in his first season in charge, before they avoided relegation on the final day last term.

"The search for a successor has already begun," a club statement confirmed.external-link

"The board will look to make an appointment in the very near future."

Clark - along with his Huddersfield backroom staff of Terry McDermott and Derek Fazackerley - steered the club to mid-table in their first season, despite off-field difficulties with the club up for sale.

With funds continuing to remain tight, however, City struggled last season.

BBC WM's Richard Wilford
"Lee Clark's departure can hardly be viewed as a major surprise. They have won only one home game in the Championship since 1 October 2013 - that is 24 games and counting. It was their away form that saved them on the final day of last season, and it is also points on their travels that holds them a point above the drop-zone now. The only question now is who fancies taking on a tough job? Given the delicate ownership situation at St Andrew's it is a task that should not be considered lightly."

McDermott and Fazackerley left in February when Clark promoted his old Newcastle United team-mate Watson to be his number two.

And Blues only stayed up on the final day of the season thanks to an injury-time Paul Caddis equaliser at Bolton.

It was following a defeat by Bolton - 1-0 at home on Saturday - that the St Andrew's board, now led by Panos Pavlakis after the departure of Peter Pannu three weeks ago, chose to act.

Lee Clark's management record
Dec 2008-Feb 2012 Huddersfield Town P 178 W 87 D 51 L 40
June 2012-Oct 2014 Birmingham City P 116 W 33 D 35 L 48

Clark's sacking came just hours after he had attended a Monday morning news conference to preview Blues' trip to Blackburn on Tuesday evening.

Instead, Beale and former Sunderland manager Crosby will have the immediate task of maintaining Blues' recent away form.

Although Blues' poor home record from last season has stretched into this season, their last three away games have brought draws at Norwich and Charlton and a victory at Millwall.