Francis returns to St Andrew's

Trevor Francis has been confirmed as the new manager at Birmingham City. The former Queen's Park Rangers and Sheffield Wednesday manager has signed a three-year contract with the First Division club.

David Sullivan, the club's owner, said: "The boy wonder is back at Birmingham - someone with a passion and feeling for the club and an affinity with the city and supporters. It was a unanimous decision by the board of directors to appoint him and I hope he brings back the fans who watched him 20 years ago."

Francis, who started his career at St Andrew's, said: "I always felt I'd like to be a boss again, as long as it was with an ambitious club, who matched my desire to achieve things. Birmingham fit the bill perfectly." Sullivan indicated that Francis would be given at least pounds 2m to spend on new players.

Bristol Rovers are not renewing the contract of their manager, John Ward. "I was sacked at a six-minute meeting with the vice-chairman, Geoff Dunford," said Ward, whose contract was due to run out at the end of next month. "I offered to sign a fresh contract, which had been put to me some time ago, but was told the board had now decided to look elsewhere," Ward added.

Graham Rix has been drafted in to coach the England Under-21 squad for the Toulon tournament from 24 May to 3 June. Dave Sexton, the Under- 21 manager, chose the Chelsea coach because Ray Wilkins, the Queen's Park Rangers player-manager, is unavailable.

Clive Berlin has taken over as chairman at relegated QPR following Paul Thompson's decision to put the club up for sale. Berlin, the club's football administration manager, is in his second spell at the club after previously being general manager. He is joined on the board by Alan Hedges, who is appointed managing director.

The future of the GM Vauxhall Conference champions, Stevenage Borough, will be clearer on Thursday when the Conference and the Football League have management committee meetings. Stevenage have issued writs against the Football League and the Third Division's bottom club, Torquay, in an attempt to win promotion - despite failing to meet stadium criteria by the 31 December deadline.

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