Oxford United have confirmed that Liam Manning has agreed to become the club’s new Head Coach to replace Karl Robinson who was sacked in February.
Liam, 37, is best known for taking MK Dons to the 3rd place in 21/22, and oversaw his team lose both games to Oxford United that season, the home game 2-1 (11/12/21) and 1-0 in the reverse fixture (19/04/22) at the Kassam. Ex-Head Coach Robinson of course, also managed Milton Keynes previously.
Manning starts on Monday with his assistant manager Chris Hogg, and will join up with the existing coaching team of Craig Short, Leon Blackmore-Such and Wayne Brown, who will manage the team today against Derby County.
“Liam has a fantastic reputation as a coach and for helping to develop young players. His sides play with a sense of identity and purpose and play attacking football and that is something that Oxford United have always tried to do.
“We had an outstanding list of candidates and as promised we went through a rigorous recruitment process but Liam was our unanimous choice. We would also like to welcome Chris and thank Craig and the staff who have all worked so hard over the last couple of weeks and who I am sure will be a huge help to Liam and Chris as we all try to turn results around this season and then build for the future.”
Chairman Grant Ferguson
Liam Manning had an uninspiring career as a player, being released by Ipswich in 2005 and only playing at non-league level.
As a coach, he started with the West Ham under-23 side, before joining the City Football Group. Here he became Director of Coaching at New York City FC, and then Head Coach at Lommel FC in Belgium. He took the club from bottom of the Challenger Pro League to a third-placed finish.
This success lead to his appointment to head coach at MK Dons, where the 3rd place finish led to a semi-final playoff loss to Wycombe. Manning was sacked in December after a dismal 15 points from 20 games.
“I thank the Board for showing faith in me and I want to repay that, first of all by ensuring the team pull away from any immediate danger and then by being part of a very exciting period in the club’s history. Oxford has amazing fans home and away, there are big plans for the future of the club and I can’t wait to get started.
“Obviously Craig and the staff have worked towards the Derby game all week, know the players and will be in charge today but I will be there to watch and offer advice if asked, and I look forward to meeting the supporters and staff and being part of a big club with even bigger ambitions.”
The U’s fans reaction so far of disappointment, despite his reputation for developing young players like Declan Rice. Some feel the club is not moving forward with the appointment due to the similarities with Robinson with the 21/22 league one performance, the MK Don’s career highlight and subsequent drop and sacking, and their mutual style of high possession, high pressing, and attacking football.
There is a hint of acceptance in some quarters though, that as a club other appointments like Grant McCann and Neil Jones were too far out of reach. The plus side is Manning’s experience at working at Academy level fits with the clubs philosophy of developing young players for a sustainable future.
Whatever happens now, it’s time for the fans to get behind the team. COYY!
Final League One Table 21/22