Bristol City announced the departure of their long-serving manager Lee Johnson on Saturday evening, around an hour after losing the Severnside Derby to their local rivals Cardiff City. Johnson became Bristol City manager in January 2016 and was the Championship’s longest-serving boss.
It was an exciting four years with plenty of highs, but the fair share of lows were also there in Lee’s tenure. The flying start to the 2017/18 season which saw City top the league and beating Manchester United to reach the Carabao Cup semi-finals is certainly up there.
At the turn of the year, the Bristol City manager’s side went on a poor run without a win and ended up finishing 11th in Johnson’s 2nd full season in charge.
Many more of those spells of good and bad results occurred after the next couple of years with Johnson earning the nickname ‘Streaky Lee’.
There’s no doubt that Lee Johnson could go on to achieve bigger and better things, but the consensus is that he’d taken the club as far as he could. The ex Oldham and Barnsley manager alongside the Championship CEO of the Year, Mark Ashton, has built a strong foundation for an experienced boss to steer the club up into the Premier League.
So who are the main candidates to replace Lee Johnson as Bristol City Manager?
Well, there are a few front runners who fit the bill and have already declared interest in taking over as Bristol City Manager, and then later on there are a couple more candidates I’d consider as ones to watch. Let’s go through the options that the Lansdown Family have to choose from.
Chris Hughton (pictured above)
The man who achieved the exact goal with both Newcastle and Brighton, there’s no man better at getting promoted up from the Championship than Chris Hughton.
Hughton has managed in over 400 games at Premier League and Championship level. He was sacked by his old club Brighton in May 2019 and has been without a job since.
The former Spurs player has been rumored to have rejected other offers from a few clubs in England since his dismissal, reportedly turning down Watford earlier this season. He is however interested in the City Job, according to Sky Sports.
Bristol City are in a very similar position to where Brighton were back when Hughton took over, so there’s no doubt in why he’s interested in the position. There’s a reason why he’s the bookies’ favourite.
Terry is yet to manage a club, but that next step is inevitable. If JT was to become Bristol City Manager, it would be a similar move to manage players with similar ability to the likes of Frank Lampard’s old Derby team and Steven Gerrard’s current Rangers side.
The former Chelsea defender is being tipped to leave his Assistant Manager post at Aston Villa in the near future to pursue a first-team management opportunity.
In an interview with The Coaches Voice, Terry stated that his inspiration behind getting into coaching was Jose Mourinho. He told them, “José’s the best I’ve worked with; the reason I wanted to coach…I remember specifically, a game in training – just a normal five-a-side game that happens every day in football. We lost 3-0, and he went berserk.”
In Mick McCarthy, we’ve got another experienced manager at Championship level, who has thrown his hat in the ring. Just like Chris Hughton, the former Republic of Ireland boss has achieved promotion to the Premier League twice, with Sunderland and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
He left his post in charge of the Irish National Team earlier this year after the playoffs for the 2020 Euros were canceled. In his first spell in charge of his national team, McCarthy led Ireland to the 2002 World Cup Finals. A campaign halted by the 61-year-old’s famous spat with Roy Keane.
McCarthy’s most recent club job was at Ipswich Town, in which his side were more often than not in and around the playoff places. His tenure lasted between November 2012 and April 2018. Could a return to club management be on the cards, we’ll have to wait and see if the Lansdown’s will consider him to be the next Bristol City Manager.
Who else is there?
This is an interesing one, but Stevie G’s name keeps being mentioned in the local press so I guess he’s a candidate. I can’t see why he’d be interested to be completely honest with you. If I was the former Liverpool captain, I’d stay at Rangers and have another go at the SPL title.
I can understand this one, Lowe’s players describe him as a great man manager, which is a quality the BS3 side are after. He pulled off a spectacular promotion with Bury last season, which looks remarkable considering the aftermath. This season, he secured automatic promotion to League 1 with Plymouth Argyle.
Another up and coming manager here, and one that’s done a tremendous job at Charlton, especially when you bear in mind the stuggles the club have faced behind the scenes. If the likes of Hughton or McCarthy lose interest, I’d go after Bowyer for the Bristol City Manager job.
Cook could be looking to leave Wigan at the end of the season, especially if they get relegated due to their impending points deduction. He’s far too talented of a manager to be in League 1, and is enjoying a great run of form with the Latics at the moment. I’d name him my dark horse.
This one doesn’t make as much sense to me as Ryan Lowe. Newport boss Michael Flynn seems to be one of the bookies’ favourites, but I’m not buying that speculation. Under Flynn, Newport County have gone from a struggling side 11 points adrift of survival down the bottom of League 2, to a club that are in and around the playoff places.
Wellens is another one the local press seem to be touting, so he must be on the club’s radar too. The former Manchester United trainee lead his Swindon side to the League 2 title this season. In 72 games, he has a 44 percent win ratio.
I couldn’t do this article properly without mentioning the current caretaker manager Dean Holden. Lee Johnson’s former assistant has managerial experience, having been in charge of Oldham for a brief spell. Dean’s Bristol City side romped away 2-1 winners against Hull City last night at Ashton Gate, a first win in 10 for the Robins.
So there you have it, the initial candidates for the role of Bristol City manager. I personally believe they have to go after Chris Hughton if the club are serious about reaching the Premier League.