Birmingham City’s search for a second manager inside a year is set to be far more fraught than the last time.
When Alex McLeish quit for Aston Villa on June 12, 2011, Blues moved swiftly to bring in new manager Chris Hughton.
It took them 10 days to identify candidates and then plump for Hughton, who impressed Peter Pannu.
As Hughton and his backroom team prepare to take up the reins at Norwich City, Pannu is back on the hunt again.
But 12 months down the line it won’t be as easy.
Hughton took the job knowing star players would have to be sold following Blues’ Premier League relegation, and that finances were tight.
Blues got through the campaign as a going concern and with a competitive team that just fell short in the Championship play-off semi-finals.
This summer the financial situation surrounding Carson Yeung and parent company Birmingham International Holdings has got worse.
And Blues remain under a Football League transfer embargo due to BIHL’s inability to publish accounts for the year ending June, 2011.
It is highly unlikely Blues will be able to pay any significant compensation to prise a manager out of a contract.
So the field will be narrowed down and any candidate approached will undoubtedly have a long, hard think about what they could be getting into.
Hughton had already been told that it was again a case of Bosman free transfers and loans this summer.
He stated that Blues needed to add to their squad, not take away from it.
At the end of the month Stephen Carr and Colin Doyle become free agents when their contracts expire.
And Blues’ five loanees, and two players on short-term deals – Cian Hughton and Caleb Folan – have already left.
Norwich agreed to pay compensation for Hughton and his assistants, and Pannu said he wanted to talk to the Canaries about the job.
So it’s one heck of an opening for someone, notwithstanding the uncertainty over the future intentions of Yeung and BIHL.
Yeung’s empire is crumbling.
His assets remain frozen in the wake of charges relating to alleged £59 million worth of money laundering.
On Monday he was ordered to give up his Hong Kong mansion after defaulting on a loan from Wing Hang Bank.
Yeung was told to pay off the principal debt of around £4 million, as well as the interest which has now accrued to about £3.2 million.
Yeung took out the loan late last year to help support BIHL and Blues.
Chinese property magnate Yang Yuezhou, the second largest individual shareholder in BIHL, has quit as a director and deputy chairman of the firm.
So has former Liverpool and England star Steve McManaman, whose role was inconsequential.
In October last year, bankers HSBC agreed a debenture with Blues whereby they gained a charge against the club’s assets and a £7 million overdraft facility was later withdrawn.
There are all sorts of rumours flying around about new owners and a takeover.
But although there is understood to be one group waiting in the wings – their identity unknown – any changeover could be a drawn out process.
And with such a lack of transparency and information coming out from Hong Kong, the whole issue is confused and confusing for all but the inner sanctum of BIHL.
Many observes believe that Yeung and BIHL simply cannot hang on for much longer and will be forced into a sale.
If that does end up by the case, it’s too late now to halt the exit of Hughton, Colin Calderwood and Paul Trollope.