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Championship Manager Changes
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Championship manager changes: Latest appointments at Birmingham, Plymouth and Swansea

We're over halfway through the 2023/24 season and the Championship has already witnessed a number of managerial departures and appointments.

It will take a monumental effort from all second tier clubs to eclipse the 21 managerial changes that occurred last campaign but with the average reign of a Football League manager in the last decade now halved, more movement seems inevitable.

There have been changes at 11 clubs so far, with Wayne Rooney the latest managerial casualty following his dismissal at Birmingham City.

We’ve looked at the names that have taken Championship positions so far this term.
 

Darren Moore - Huddersfield Town

Appointed: 21st September 2023

After saving the club from relegation the season prior, Neil Warnock decided the time was right to bid an emotional farewell to Huddersfield Town.

The 74-year-old departed the Terriers just seven games into the season and as Warnock closed the door on another fascinating chapter in his storied career, Darren Moore walked through the door at the John Smith's Stadium as his successor.

Moore had been without a job since his acrimonious exit at Sheffield Wednesday in June and the former West Brom gaffer faced the unenviable task of filling the shoes of a local hero.

The priority for Huddersfield this season is survival and Moore can consider it to be a job well done if they steer comfortably clear of the bottom three.

Wayne Rooney - Birmingham City

Appointed: 9th October 2023

The decision to remove John Eustace and install Rooney was met with shock from Birmingham supporters and neutrals alike. 

The club’s CEO Garry Cook, who’s been in the role since Knighthead Capital completed their acquisition of Birmingham in July, stated the alteration was necessary in the club’s pursuit of a ‘no fear’, attacking style of football.

It was a bold risk that totally backfired.

A 3-0 defeat at the hands of Leeds United on New Year's Day was the final straw for the Birmingham board with Rooney's tenure returning a measly two wins from 15 matches.

Manchester United's record goalscorer had failed to win over the players and fans with a catalogue of sub-par performances. The Blues plummeted from 6th to 20th in the standings, the biggest indicator of Rooney's failings at St Andrew's.

Danny Rohl - Sheffield Wednesday

Appointed: 12th October 2023

You just never quite know what to expect with Sheffield Wednesday, so it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to see them take the plunge on a relatively unknown 34-year-old German football coach who was formerly an assistant manager at Bayern Munich and Germany’s national team.

Danny Rohl’s primary objective at Hillsborough is to preserve the club’s Championship status.

Similarly to the managers mentioned above, Rohl specialises in the implementation of a high-press, attacking system. He’s detailed methods and analysis were a vital feature in Hansi Flick’s set-up as Bayern Munich triumphed in the Champions League three years ago. 

And it’s that level of precision and intellect that Sheffield Wednesday require to have any chance of remaining in this division.
 

Marti Cifuentes - QPR

Appointed: 28th October 2023

Fitting the trend of Championship clubs appointing a new head coach with an attacking philosophy, Marti Cifuentes is the man tasked with leading QPR’s escape from relegation.

Honing his managerial craft in Scandinavia, Cifuentes has enjoyed spells with Sandefjord, Aalborg and Hammarby IF.

QPR’s record since Michael Beale departed is staggering. Before Cifuentes they’d won just six of 40 league matches, endured a torrid spell under Neil Critchley and while many had hoped for a fairytale return with Ainsworth, the former Wycombe manager failed to arrest their decline and was sacked after a sixth straight defeat.

Cifuentes’ style is of a stark contrast to Ainsworth’s. A student of the Johan Cruyff Institute, the Spaniard’s teachings are heavily influenced by the Dutch legend.

Cifuentes played his part in revolutionising the tactical blueprint in the Allsvenskan by instilling a possession-based system at Hammarby. He will look to replicate that system while cultivating a winning environment at Loftus Road, which is no easy task.
 

Joe Edwards - Millwall

Appointed: 5th November 2023

Times are changing at Millwall.

In a division where parachute payments and gross overspending have been a consistent method for success, the Lions have frequently managed to punch above their weight in a sustainable manner.

Gary Rowett embodied stability, an element the club yearned. His pragmatic style yielded competitive results, with Millwall finishing in the top-half of the Championship in four consecutive seasons.

They’ve made improvements to their recruitment department, identifying talents in the form of Zian Flemming - a player with significant sell-on value who can help the club to grow domestically and financially.

After Rowett and the club mutually decided to end their four-and-a-half year association, Millwall made the bold decision to appoint Joe Edwards as their new manager; a gamble with major potential.

Edwards arrives in Bermondsey with no prior managerial experience but has glowing references from a coaching career that’s spanned nearly two decades.

Working under Thomas Tuchel and Frank Lampard at Chelsea, he is expected to transform Millwall’s playing style. Gone are the days of conservative, route one football. In line with Edwards’ ideology, the Lions should be attacking, fearless and on the front-foot. It’s what the supporters have been craving.
 

Liam Manning - Bristol City

Liam Manning

Appointed: 6th November 2023

It had been a whirlwind 18 months for Manning before Bristol City came knocking.

Under his stewardship, MK Dons were transformed into promotion contenders. Missing out on an automatic berth by a point and losing in the play-offs in the 2021/22 campaign, their fortunes spiralled the following season and Manning was sacked with the club 23rd in League One.

It was a tumultuous period that had tainted Manning’s managerial reputation; one that he had carefully constructed through coaching roles at Ipswich, West Ham and under the City Football Group, where he earned his first managerial role with Belgian outfit Lommel SK.

Oxford United provided an opportunity to showcase his credentials as one of the Football League’s most talented coaches. Steering the U’s clear of relegation trouble last season, he began to plot their ascent up the League One table and had guided the club to second when Bristol City came knocking.

So 11 months after his MK Dons dismissal, and only eight months after his Oxford appointment, the 38-year-old unearthed a route into the Championship following Nigel Pearson's surprise dismissal as Bristol City boss.

Calculated and methodical in his approach, Manning’s brand is progressive and attacking. It’s a style that Bristol City have bought into and intend to implement across the entire club.

He prides himself on player development and now finds himself at a club with excellent academy facilities and a proven pathway to the first-team.

Expectations at Ashton Gate may be minimal but Manning has the tools to get the club kicking in the right direction.

Leam Richardson - Rotherham United

Appointed: 11th December 2023

Rotherham United had taken the definition of 'yo-yo club' to new heights over recent years with three relegations and three promotions since the 2016/17 campaign.

The Millers finally managed to break the chain as they finished 19th under Matt Taylor last season but repeating that feat is proving a challenge, with Taylor sacked after just two wins from the opening 16 matches.

Tasked with reinvigorating Rotherham's survival quest is Leam Richardson, who will be desperate to prove himself in the second tier following his controversial exit from Wigan Athletic in November 2022.

Richardson had performed the miraculous at the DW Stadium, sparing Wigan of relegation to League Two just months after they were placed into administration. The subsequent season he orchestrated their promotion from League One and Richardson signed a three-year deal, only to be sacked a week later.

With a wage bill that's 10x smaller than that of Leicester City's, Rotherham and Richardson require a significant overperformance to prolong their stay in the Championship.

Michael Beale - Sunderland

Appointed: 18th December 2023

Steering the club to the play-offs last term, Tony Mowbray fell short of the expectations set by the ambitious Sunderland board and was made to pack his bags after a run of two wins from nine matches.

A somewhat bewildering decision to the neutral, those of a red and white persuasion were less surprised by Mowbray's exit. His successor, on the other hand, caused great shock.

After his ill-fated spell as Rangers manager, Michael Beale's appointment was greeted with apprehension from Sunderland supporters. The former QPR chief endured a torrid run by Rangers' lofty standards and a disastrous recruitment drive was the catalyst for his downfall at Ibrox.

The upside for Beale is that his role as Sunderland head coach means transfers are not within his remit; the 43-year-old can focus entirely on team performance.

He's inherited an exuberant squad packed full of exciting talents and if he can start to get the fans on side, Beale has all the tools at his disposal to continue Sunderland's impressive progression.

Steven Schumacher - Stoke City

Appointed: 19th December 2023

Despite a significant makeover in the summer transfer window, Alex Neil was unable to play a tune with his revamped Stoke City squad and after a string of disappointing results that left them in 20th, the club opted to part ways.

The Potters needed to acquire a manager with impressive tactical acumen, had achieved recent success and a personality that could invigorate a fanbase. Their search led them down the path of Plymouth Argyle manager Steven Schumacher.

The former Bradford and Crewe midfielder earned a number of plaudits for his work in Devon. Succeeding Ryan Lowe, Schumacher masterminded Plymouth's promotion from League One, finishing the season as champions with 101 points before fortifying Home Park on their Championship return.

Stoke will be hoping he can replicate his Pilgrims success at the bet365 stadium after several stagnant years.

Luke Williams - Swansea City

Appointed: 4th January 2024

From Brendan Rodgers to Graham Potter, Steve Cooper to Russell Martin, Swansea have become a hub for ambitious, innovative managers looking to enhance their managerial reputation and progress up the ladder.

Unfortunately for Michael Duff, his decision to join the Swans from Barnsley in the summer proved to be an unsuccessful one, with results and playing style leaving plenty to be desired.

Sacked in early December, Alan Sheehan deputised in the midst of an extensive managerial search and the result was the appointment of highly-rated tactician Luke Williams.

Even though Notts County's incredible tally of 107 points failed to secure automatic promotion from the National League, Williams oversaw the Magpies return to the Football League via the play-offs and had the club competing for back-to-back promotions in the current campaign.

His Notts County side were the possession kings of League Two and his ball-retention style fits perfectly with Swansea's identity.

Ian Foster - Plymouth Argyle

6th January 2024

Reeling from the departure of Schumacher's departure, Plymouth turned to an unproven figure to build on the foundations set by their former manager.

Argyle's chairman Steve Hallett labelled Ian Foster as the "perfect candidate" following the appointment of the 47-year-old as the club's new head coach.

Foster's CV consists of experiences through the England ranks and the nurturing of young talent is a key facet in his coaching style, having oversaw the development of Phil Foden, Bukayo Saka and Conor Gallagher during his stint with the Under-20s.

He will lean upon all his years of experience to make a success of his stint at Home Park, with his primary objective being the preservation of Plymouth's Championship status for this season and beyond.

Tony Mowbray - Birmingham City

7th January 2024

After several tumultuous years in which Birmingham have not finished any higher than 17th, it was hoped that the club's new owners would put an end to the consistent disappointment.

A promising start under Eustace's guidance felt like an auspicious sign of what's to come but the appointment of Rooney had needlessly tainted the feel-good factor around the club.

The Blues were in need of a man to steady the ship and who better than Tony Mowbray.

Making a fairly quick return to work following his Sunderland dismissal, Mowbray has a track record of leaving clubs in a far more prosperous position than he inherited and Birmingham supporters will be optimistic he can have the same impact at St Andrew's.

His possession-orientated playing style fits what the club's owners are trying to implement and his previous success at enhancing attacking talents is good news if you're the likes of Siriki Dembele and Koji Miyoshi.

Football

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