Gardner appointed Technical Director by Birmingham

Gardner has been promoted from assistant manager

Gardner has been promoted from assistant manager

BIRMINGHAM CITY have appointed Craig Gardner as their new Technical Director to “oversee the direction of the club’s football strategy.”

The 34-year-old, who retired from playing in July 2020, is promoted from assistant manager. Birmingham said their former midfielder would report directly to the board and “focus on recruitment, squad development and performance.”

His appointment “forms part of a wider restructuring at the club" that is due to be announced in the coming days. Birmingham said Gardner would give "technical advice across all aspects of the football department" as well as "contributing to the communication and delivery of our football philosophy across all areas of the club."

“His knowledge of the club and the wider footballing landscape will help to deliver a new approach to Blues football operations and will forge an important link between the boardroom and the changing room,” Birmingham added in a statement.

“Working closely with (head coach) Lee Bowyer and his backroom staff, he will be tasked with creating a culture at the club that will help to deliver long-term success both on and off the pitch.

“Further responsibilities will include an overhaul of the recruitment department and the implementation of a philosophy in keeping with the club’s core values to provide stability and consistency in what is a volatile industry.

“He will focus on a co-ordinated approach to player development, helping maintain the crucial link between the Academy and the first team in what will be an important season - the club’s first as a Category One Academy.

“As Technical Director, Gardner will act as an intermediary, liaising with the senior management team, whilst working with a multitude of departments to cultivate a high-performance environment.”

The former England Under-21 international was appointed player-coach at Birmingham in November 2019 and continued his role as a coach after retiring from playing. The lifelong Blues fan, who was born in Solihull, had just over a month on Tony Pulis’ staff at Sheffield Wednesday before returning to St Andrews as assistant manager in January 2021.

He said: “This is an important period for the football club and I’m honoured to take up the role of Technical Director. We have needed a period of stability for some time now and I’m looking forward to working closely with the board to put plans in place to make sure we achieve that.

“This is about steadily building, growing as a club both on and off the pitch, increasing standards and improving in all departments. It’s not going to happen overnight but if we can lay the foundations over the coming months and years, then we’ll hopefully see the impact further down the line.

“We’ll be making a number of changes behind-the-scenes to restructure the club. Everything from the recruitment department, to the Academy pathway, into first team performance. We’ve got to look at it all and rebuild.

“Personally, I’m excited because we have a head coach who gets what it means to represent the club and it’s my job to support him and his staff and get everyone pulling in the same direction. I have to make life as easy as possible for Lee [Bowyer] so he can focus all of his efforts with the players out on the pitch.

“I’ve heard supporters say it feels like the start of a new era and it’s up to us to make sure it’s a successful one. But the most important thing for me, is to give the fans a voice which is what they deserve.”

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