- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 14, 2016

BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) - Former Italy forward Gianfranco Zola has taken charge of his third English club after being hired as manager of second-tier Birmingham.

Zola was previously manager at West Ham and Watford, and played for Chelsea from 1996-2003.

Birmingham’s new Chinese owners have opted for a high-profile name to lead the team’s bid for promotion to the Premier League, announcing the hiring of 50-year-old Zola on Wednesday - hours after firing Gary Rowett.

Birmingham is seventh in the League Championship standings.

Zola’s last job was at Qatari side Al-Arabi, where he was fired in June.

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