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Top six favourites to become new Cheltenham boss as manager quits for Barnsley

The top six favourites to become new Cheltenham Town boss is revealed as manager Michael Duff quits for the role at newly relegated Barnsley.

The Robins have confirmed Duff would be departing the League One club after four years in charge “to pursue a new opportunity”.

Duff led the Robins to the fourth tier title in 2020-21 and the club’s highest-ever league finish last season.

Barnsley were sent back to League One after finishing bottom of the Championship last season.

“Although not entirely unexpected, this is a blow for Cheltenham, who have seen the club stabilise and then grow under Duff’s leadership,” BBC Radio Gloucestershire’s Cheltenham reporter Peter Matthews said.

“Unsurprisingly, Duff was a target for a number of clubs. Cheltenham now will be working very quickly to activate the shortlist they’ve already drawn up to try to find the successor.”


After nearly four years as manager of Cheltenham Town Michael Duff has today informed the Board of Directors that he wishes to depart the club to pursue a new opportunity.

Since the end of the season the club has received two approaches from other clubs for permission to speak to Michael and one of them has now offered him the position of manager.

“Obviously it’s a disappointing day for Cheltenham Town as Michael has done such a tremendous job for us but he leaves with our very best wishes for the future,” said club chairman David Bloxham.

“Michael made it clear to us that it was a very difficult decision for him. We did all we could to try and keep him at the club but ultimately this new opportunity is one that he feels it right for him at this stage of his career.

“I know it would not have been an easy decision to arrive at because Michael has built up a very special bond with our club and his family all live locally so it will be a big wrench for him to leave but as an ambitious young manager, we completely respect his decision.

“The search for a new manager will begin immediately and we are fortunate in having a strong and very capable football staff who will continue preparations for the new season as normal. Our Director of Football Micky Moore continues to work hard to recruiting new players and the squad will return for pre-season training next week.”

Michael Duff took charge of the Robins in September 2018, his first job in management after working as a coach at Burnley where he previously spent 12 years as a player having made his name in eight successful seasons with Cheltenham Town in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He failed to win any of his first eight matches in charge but the Board knew enough of his qualities to maintain absolute faith in him and it paid off handsomely. The following season the team reached the League Two play-offs where they were beaten in the semi-final by Northampton Town but the 2020-21 campaign, much of which was played behind closed doors due to the Covid-19 pandemic, proved to be the most successful in the club’s history as the Sky Bet League Two championship was achieved and a memorable FA Cup run ended with a 3-1 defeat to Manchester City but only after Cheltenham Town had led the Premier League giants 1-0 with less than 10 minutes left. Last season the club achieved the highest finishing position in its history by reaching 15th place in League One.


Michael Appleton – 4/1
Gary Caldwell – 6/1
Darren Ferguson 6/1
Tony Mowbray – 8/1
Chris Beech – 10/1
Simon Grayson – 10/1

Other managers listed by bookies BetVictor include David Artell 10/1, Michael Carrick 10/1, Kenny Jackett 12/1, Paul Tisdale 12/1, Jonathan Woodgate 12/1 and Paul Lambert 14/1.

Fans reacted as the top six favourites to become new Cheltenham boss is revealed while manager Michael Duff quits for Barnsley…

@Jackohotpants: All the very best, Duffo.
You will be missed.
#UptheDuff #UptheRobins

@Ryanlanky90: Brilliant job by Duff shame he wouldn’t stay on one more year all the best… relegation battle now 👀

@luke_kennedy: Good luck. Wouldn’t say Barnsley is the greatest choice of move though

@LorDan247: Neither would most Barnsley fans pal

@danbevan76: Gutted but all good things come to an end. Big decision for the Board. We will be a more attractive proposition than when Duffo took over, that’s for sure!

@lucyhall03: Utterly gutted, but at the same time, properly chuffed for Duffo! Thank you for everything you have done for our club, and you will always be a club legend. Best of luck at Barnsley!

@archieholberton: Fully deserves his chance at a bigger club with a bigger budget. Big rebuilding job for whoever we bring in however. Not many managers get to go out on a high. Hopefully he is given time at Barnsley as didn’t win the first 10 games in charge of us.

@bunterboy15: All the best to Duffo, gutted but we move on. Surprised Barnsley, would have thought he could manage at a higher level with a bigger club?

@daveramagio87: Good luck to him, he’s done a stupidly good job at Cheltenham and will be near impossible to replace 👏

@BSAttwoodUK: Sad for CTFC that Duff is going, but understand it is a good move for him. Timing is good for Barnsley and Cheltenham for new managers to start their seasons off with players they picked.

@caitlindenton01: Hope this is the start of a stable future for us…

@bretonday5: The best Town manager of my lifetime. He will be sorely missed, but now it’s time to move on. Really pleased Micky Moore is staying, hopefully Wade too. COYR

@Belch_CTFC: Would rather it be now then midway through the season. Just hope the board brings the right person in

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