Birmingham City gain mixed response amid Alex Neil and Paul Heckingbottom speculation

Paul Heckingbottom (left) seems to be a more popular choice than Alex Neil (right).Paul Heckingbottom (left) seems to be a more popular choice than Alex Neil (right).
Paul Heckingbottom (left) seems to be a more popular choice than Alex Neil (right). | Getty Images
Birmingham City have received a mixed response as talks begin with Alex Neil and Paul Heckingbottom over the vacant manager’s job.

Many Blues supporters are understandably a little tetchy and fretful over who may step into the dugout next after a disastrous 2023/24 campaign ended in relegation from the Championship.

It was hoped Tony Mowbray would return following a lengthy period of illness but the 60-year-old has confirmed he will be stepping away from Birmingham permanently. A deep search for a new head coach has commenced as a result, with Neil and Heckingbottom both emerging as early candidates.

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The two names mentioned have prompted contrasting reactions from the St Andrew’s @ Knighthead Park faithful. Heckingbottom, who led Sheffield United to the Premier League with a second-placed finish in 2022/23, would be welcomed with open arms by many.

“Yes, that’s more like it,” one fan responded to a Birmingham World post on Facebook. “Heckingbottom is a solid option, experienced,” another added.

“Dour and unexciting but probably what we need for League One. Absolutely take him over Alex Neil,” an optimistic Bluenose posted to X, formerly Twitter. “Would be a solid appointment, can’t see him dropping to League One though,” a more pessimistic fan responded.

Paul Heckingbottom (left) seems to be a more popular choice than Alex Neil (right).Paul Heckingbottom (left) seems to be a more popular choice than Alex Neil (right).
Paul Heckingbottom (left) seems to be a more popular choice than Alex Neil (right). | Getty Images

“Paul Heckingbottom fits the bill for sure. Decent football. Promotion on his CV in League One and the Championship. Just managed in the Premiership, some decent contacts from bigger clubs. Would be completely on board if he gets the job,” a different Blues fan said.

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Neil response differs from Heckingbottom’s

But there’s been a rather brutal reception to the Neil news, with most Bluenoses not keen on the appointment at all despite his impressive track record of three promotions.

“Seriously, haven’t we learned from our mistakes? Just shows a lack of ambition for me,” one fan said.

One supporter, analysing in greater detail, said: “Absolutely not. Sacked from his last two jobs inside a combined two-year period, left Stoke 20th in the Championship. Comes across as dour with no charisma and I would imagine his management style is not popular.”

“No way, keep clear of St Andrew’s, we don’t want you,” another added. “These owners sure know how to turn the fans against them, another disaster pending,” one disappointed commenter wrote.

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