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Monday, 15 October, 2001, 15:42 GMT 16:42 UK
Francis leaves Blues
Trevor Francis (left) and David Gold
Francis after earlier talks with chairman David Gold
Trevor Francis has left Birmingham City by mutual consent, the club has announced.

The former England striker has come under increasing pressure after a poor start to the season, leading to speculation that his days at St Andrews were numbered.

  Francis' Blues record
297 games in charge
139 wins
81 defeats
77 draws

Birmingham beat Barnsley 3-1 on Saturday - their first win in six league games.

But The Blues are 12th in Division One and crashed out of the Worthington Cup with a 6-0 defeat against Manchester City last week.

Francis led the club to the Division One play-offs in the last three seasons since taking over from Barry Fry in May 1996.

Francis lifted Birmingham to within one place of the play-offs in 1998, but they made the end-of-season event the next three seasons - missing out on each occasion.

It's a volatile club but I thought he would get through the crisis and carry on
Frank Clark, former team-mate at Nottingham Forest

In May they were pipped in the semi-finals by Preston, losing in a penalty shoot-out.

However, last season Francis led Blues to the Worthington Cup final, beating Premiership sides Tottenham, Newcastle and Ipswich along the way - before they lost out in a penalty shoot-out.

They made a poor start to the current campaign, losing the 3-0 at Wimbledon, before embarking on a four-game winning streak which started with a 4-0 defeat of Millwall.

But their promotion challenge has wilted in recent weeks and they were bundled out of the Worthington Cup 6-0 by Manchester City at Maine Road last week.

Francis will be disappointed - I know how passionate he was about the club
Birmingham striker Jon McCarthy

Francis was in charge for 297 games at St Andrews, which saw Blues win 139 times, lose 81 and draw 77.

"Trevor's departure is amicable and he leaves with he best wishes of the board and everybody connected with the football club," said a statement by Birmingham City.

"The search for a new manager will begin immediately and in the meantime Mick Mills and Jim Barron will take temporary charge of first team matters," it added.

Former Derby manager Jim Smith has rejected the suggestion of a return to St Andrews as a replacement for Francis.

Smith, who managed The Blues between 1978 and 1982, told Radio 5 Live that it was not wise to return to the scene of past glories.

"I have been asked about the Birmingham job but it is very difficult to go back sometimes," he said.

He said he was not shocked by exit from the post of his close friend.

"It was no real surprise because I am very close to Trevor and I have been speaking to him over the last 10 days or so and obviously he's not been very happy with events," he said.

BBC Sport's Pat Murphy
"An odd time to bring Trevor Francis' time at Birmingham to an end"
Birmingham chairman David Gold
"It's a sad day for Birmingham City"
Blues striker Tommy Mooney
"I heard about Francis's departure on the radio"
Former Derby boss Jim Smith
"Trevor hadn't been very happy with recent events"
See also:

15 Oct 01 |  Birmingham City
Francis' management blues
11 Oct 01 |  Birmingham City
Birmingham's big decision
15 Oct 01 |  Football
Francis ends City reign
12 Oct 01 |  Eng Div 1
Barnsley 1-3 Birmingham
10 Oct 01 |  Worthington Cup
City rout Blues
Links to more Eng Div 1 stories are at the foot of the page.


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