Departing Birmingham City co-owner David Sullivan insists the board always supported their managers.
“We have only really sacked two managers in the whole time at the club,” Sullivan told the Birmingham Mail. “Terry Cooper actually wanted to leave.
“He was worn out by it all. He actually said to me he would like to go, subject to a reasonable pay-off because he had to live.
“Barry Fry was probably a premature sacking. In retrospect, he should have got another year. But we were young and naive at the time.
“Trevor Francis, that year (2001) we felt we weren’t going to make the play-offs, so we had to make the change.
“As a board, you have to be strong in your choices and back yourself.
“Occasionally you change the managers because the supporters tell you you have to change. There are odd times you have to stand up to them and give managers a little bit longer. I remember we played Norwich City (Blues lost 1-0 at St Andrew’s in October 2006) and Steve Bruce thought he had got the boot.
“We said we had to give him three or four games. But if you had had a straw poll of supporters, 90 per cent would have sacked him that night. He turned it round. We went to Derby County, fluked a win, and went up that season.
“You need that bit of luck. The one season we didn’t was in 2000-01. We lost the Worthington Cup when we should have had a penalty for that foul on Andrew Johnson and lost the play-off at Preston, when they had an offside goal.”