Oxford United fans have been left gutted with reports confirmed an ‘agreement’ in place for manager Liam Manning to leave for Bristol City.
According to several reports, Bristol City have closed in on the appointment of Manning as new head coach, with 38-year-old now suddenly a clear front-runner to take over as Nigel Pearson’s replacement at Ashton Gate.
Bristol Live reported last week that Manning was being looked at for a good while, being a ‘outstanding candidate in subsequent meetings between the Robins hierarchy’ since Pearson was sacked.
Exclusive: #BristolCity closing in on Liam Manning as new head coach. Hope is that everything can be concluded shortly
— Bristol City Live (@bristolcitylive) November 6, 2023
Bristol Live explains that because the U’s boss has a buy-out clause in his contract, the Robins don’t necessarily have to seek formal permission to speak to Manning, should they meet the amount which is understood to be six figures.
@RobDorsettSky wrote on Monday (6th November): “Liam Manning expected to be confirmed as new #BristolCity head coach in the next 48 hours, I’m told.
“Manning’s Oxford are 2nd in League One, but Bristol City job too tempting for him. Agreement now between the two clubs over compensation.
“Fits Bristol City’s bill of a young, progressive head coach. Manning took charge of Oxford’s 2-0 FA Cup victory over Maidenhead United on Saturday and insisted that he had heard nothing about City’s interest and wanted to focus on the victory.”
Reports go on to say that Bristol City’s first-team squad had a day off on Monday after they won 1-0 at home to Sheffield Wednesday, and are due to return to the High Performance Centre on Tuesday, where they take on QPR next, and will be hoping that Manning takes charge at the weekend.
Manning was appointed at Oxford in March, turned them from relegation battlers to promotion candidates, sitting sit second in League One standings, and three points behind Portsmouth.
He’s previously managed Milton Keynes Dons, guiding them to the playoffs in his first managerial role in English football, only to be sacked the season after with a number of key players sold on.
Manning has also had stints with Lommel SK in the Belgian second division with Lommel SK and in the coaching set-ups at West Ham as well as the City Football Group, spending time in America.
The news comes as a surprise to some, days on from speaking to BBC Radio Oxford after the 2-0 win in the FA Cup First Round against Maidenhead United.
He was in the stands instead of the touchline for that one serving a one-match touchline ban.
“Nothing to be honest,” said Manning, when asked if he had heard directly from Bristol City. “I’ve not heard anything; that’s the biggest bit. I don’t want to detract from today. Today is about the team. I’ve heard no news, I’ve had nothing.”
He was adamant stating that he isn’t actively looking for new work but didn’t rule it out.
“As always I’ve never chased anything,” he added. “It’s keep my head down, do a terrific job at the club here.”
When questioned about the big ‘if’, he was reluctant to comment, as per Bristol Post. “I don’t see the point. It’s like transfer things, I don’t see the point in getting involved in hypothetical conversations.”
Curtis Fleming was in charge as Bristol City interim manager for the weekend win, and while talking about his own future, he indicates that an appointment is likely to be made in the coming week.
As mentioned, Oxford fans are left gutted with reports saying an ‘agreement’ is in place for the manager to leave for Bristol City…
@Tombcfc42_: i’ll take liam manning , can progress us with a young team
@AnalyticsOxford: 😢 never allowed nice things for very long. Hopefully we have a structure in place to immediately work on a replacement.
@MaxPollard92: Find Liam Manning’s decision to leave Oxford United (massively on the rise) mid season and join Bristol City completely baffling. Probably be sacked within a year in the same division of Oxford. #OUFC
@TheSomZons: @OUFCOfficial we haven’t asked for any training pictures in a while. Can we request for specific individuals from today say… Liam Manning #OUFC
@JLongshanks7: Can Bristol City stop coming after our players and now manager? Surely they could go for more Rovers staff, know a manager there is recently out of work. #OUFC
@Joe_Citrone: And there it is. We can’t have nice things. #oufc
@OUFC_: Ffs, surely not 😣
@LucasHarveySmi3: Looks like OUFC Liam Manning is on his way out of our club, another manager we loose to a higher club, guess we’ll be manager hunting again, just hope our form doesn’t drop off….
@ReeceTC99: We can’t have nice things without Bristol City ruining it…
@r0bpars0ns: Liam Manning would be an excellent appointment
@DClarke222: Good appointment, Manning’s style of play will be good for the club.
@r0bpars0ns: Liam Manning, lets goooo
@bcfctom_: Liam Manning’s Cider Army 😍 #BristolCity
@andywilmer: I’d be staggered if Liam Manning to Bristol City is true but if it is then it shows a massive lack of loyalty and respect to the board, fans and club and just proves what a fickle industry the football one is. #OUFC
@SPEZIAL73: Liam Manning is seemingly going to be appointed by #BCFC then. Good appointment for the Robins. I was hoping #SAFC would appointment him once Tony completes his assignment. Fully expect Bristol City to be play off contenders within the next 24 months.
— Lewi (@oufc_lewi) November 6, 2023