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Liam Manning named Head Coach of MK Dons

Manning becomes Club's first ever Head Coach...

13 August 2021

Milton Keynes Dons are delighted to announce the appointment of Liam Manning as Head Coach.

Manning, who has spent the last year in charge of Belgian side Lommel SK, becomes the Football Club’s first ever Head Coach.

The 35-year-old arrives with an excellent reputation within the game for developing young players as well as coaching an attractive and entertaining brand of football.

During his only season with Belgian First Division B side Lommel SK, Manning led his team to a third-place finish with 14 wins and 49 goals scored – a stark improvement from a 2019/20 campaign in which they concluded with only six wins and 21 goals to their name

He begins his role as Head Coach with immediate effect and will be in the Stadium MK dugout this weekend when MK Dons take on Sunderland in their first Sky Bet League One home match of the season.

Speaking to iFollow MK Dons, Manning said: “Firstly, it’s a privilege to be named Head Coach of MK Dons. I am thankful to the Chairman and Liam Sweeting for providing me with this exciting opportunity.

“CFG (City Football Group) were terrific for me and provided me a chance to go to New York and then to become Head Coach at Lommel - ultimately, though, this was too good of an opportunity for me.

“This is an ambitious Football Club that believes in playing a certain way - a way that the fans are used to and demand and one that I believe in too. We also have a squad full of quality and exciting players, who I can’t wait to get to work with.

“Me and my family are going to move here to live within half an hour of the area so that we can integrate ourselves into the community. That is important to me because, as we learnt last season, football is for the fans.”

He added: “I am delighted to be your Head Coach – I am looking forward to getting started.”

Manning, who played for Ipswich Town and Icelandic side Selfoss during his playing career, began coaching in 2006 with the Tractor Boys where he progressed from head coach of the Under-13s to the club’s Lead Youth Development Coach.

In December 2015, he joined West Ham United, initially as their assistant Academy manager before serving as Head of Coaching and, later, taking charge of their Under-23s.

Manning was part of the Hammers setup that won the 2016 Premier League Cup as well as promotion to Premier League 2 Division One. What’s more, players such as Grady Diangana and Declan Rice emerged from the West Ham Academy during his four years in the capital.

In April 2019, Manning joined the City Football Group and was named Director of Coaching for the New York City Academy although he was quickly promoted to Academy Director. During his short time in the US, Manning led NYCFC to a second consecutive U.S. Soccer Development Academy Under-19 National Championship.

The following summer, Manning was appointed Head Coach of Lommel SK, where he was tasked with rebuilding a team who had won just six games during the 2019/20 season. As well as implementing a new style of play, he also guided them to a third-place finish, one spot shy of a promotion play-off place.

Chairman Pete Winkelman said of the appointment: “We are really excited to welcome Liam Manning to the Football Club. It has been a hectic couple of weeks but we are delighted to now be in a position to introduce him as our new Head Coach and be able to look forward to what the future can bring.

“We will give Liam and his coaching team all the support they need as they navigate their way through the frantic nature of EFL football and I am sure our supporters will do just the same, starting Saturday.”

Sporting Director Liam Sweeting added: “I am delighted to welcome Liam Manning to MK Dons as our new Head Coach.

“Liam is someone we have known about for a while. He is an excellent coach with a really strong reputation for working with and developing young players and, as soon as we were granted permission to talk to him, it became evidently clear that he was the right man to take us forward.

“Liam’s work, not only in overhauling Lommel’s style of play but also finishing third in his first season, was extremely impressive and we look forward to seeing what he can achieve with our talented group this campaign and in the future.”

Sweeting added: “I’d like to thank City Football Group and the staff at Lommel for their cooperation and professionalism. We do appreciate the challenge of replacing a manager at this time of the season and we wish them well with their process.”


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