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Former Town coach who nurtured Downes and Dozzell takes first manager job in Manchester City’s global empire

PUBLISHED: 17:00 12 August 2020

Former Ipswich Town player and coach Liam Manning is the new manager of Belgian side Lommel. Picture: LOMMELSK

Former Ipswich Town player and coach Liam Manning is the new manager of Belgian side Lommel. Picture: LOMMELSK

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Former Ipswich Town youngster Liam Manning has taken his first step into senior management after being appointed to oversee the latest club to join Manchester City’s global empire.

Liam Manning is a former Ipswich Town youngster, now working as part of the City Football Group. Picture: WHUFC/ITFCLiam Manning is a former Ipswich Town youngster, now working as part of the City Football Group. Picture: WHUFC/ITFC

Manning, who was released by the Blues in 2005 without making a senior appearance, has been appointed boss of second tier Belgian club Lommel SK, who are the latest side to join the City Football Group under the ownership of Sheikh Mansour.

Manning, who coached in Ipswich’s academy before joining West Ham and becoming the Hammers’ Under 23 boss, has spent the last year as academy director at New York City FC - another of the nine clubs currently part of City Football Group – but is now in Belgium with the intention of taking his new club into the top flight.

“It’s an exciting opportunity,” he said.

MORE: Manning helped nurture the likes of Wickham, Dozzell and Downes at Ipswich... now he’s heading for the bright lights of New York City

“I just can’t wait to get started now after a busy few weeks but it seems like a great club and a really good opportunity for me.

Liam Manning during his time with West Ham. Picture: WHUFCLiam Manning during his time with West Ham. Picture: WHUFC

“I’ve obviously spent all of my coaching career working with young players so there are going to be some differences now, certainly in terms of being judged by the results and the league table, but there are a lot of similarities too.

“A big part of the job will be implementing a playing style and gaining some consistency there and there will be certainly elements of how I was brought up with Bryan Klug and Steve Foley at Ipswich, as well as obviously the way City like to do things.

“I just can’t wait to get started now.”

Manning’s first competitive game in charge is on Monday, August 24 against RFC Seraing at Lommel’s 8,000-seater Soevereinstadion home in the north east of Belgium.

Liam Manning assists Terry Westley in coaching at the West Ham academy. The duo both started out at Ipswich.Liam Manning assists Terry Westley in coaching at the West Ham academy. The duo both started out at Ipswich.

As well as Manchester City, New York City and Lommel, City Football Group is the majority shareholder in Melbourne City (Australia), Yokohama F Marinos (Japan), Montevideo City Torque (Uruguay), Girona (Spain), Sichuan Jiuniu (China) and Mumbai City FC (India).

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MANNING’S CAREER PATH

– Manning was with Ipswich Town between the ages of 13-19 before being released at the end of the 2004/05 season without making a first-team appearance.

– Following his release he spent 10 months in Iceland, playing for Selfoss, where his passion for coaching developed.

– Despite having the option to stay in Iceland for another season, Manning returned to Suffolk and played for Leiston under the management of former Ipswich Town player Jason Dozzell.

– Former Ipswich academy chief Tony Humes brought Manning back to the club during this period, working as a part-time coach alongside new general manager of football operations Lee O’Neill.

– His first group was the Under 13s – a squad including striker Connor Wickham.

– Alongside his work at Ipswich, Manning had a brief stint as manager of SIL side Melton St Audry’s and also worked at Combs Middle School alongside O’Neill.

– Manning eventually became the Blues’ Under 16s coach, working with the likes Andre Dozzell, Luke Woolfenden, Flynn Downes and Tristan Nydam.

– West Ham, after tracking him for some time, recruited Manning to be their assistant academy manager in December 2015. He went on to manage the club’s Under 23 team.

– Following an approach, Manning became academy director at New York City FC in 2019, achieving success as he oversaw a setup that produced a second consecutive U.S. Soccer Development Academy U-19 National Championship.

- He has now joined Lommel, where he will get a first taste of senior management.


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