Following the news last week that Nick Cushing will leave his role as manager of Manchester City, we look back on his time in charge and the legacy he will leave behind, cementing himself as one of the best managers in the women’s game.
On Thursday 9 January, Manchester City announced that Cushing will leave his role as manager having accepted a new assistant manager position at New York City FC. We will see Cushing transition from women’s to men’s football where he will be competing in the MLS (Major League Soccer), the highest level of professional football in the United States, coaching alongside also newly announced head coach, Ronny Deila.
The announcement came as somewhat of a surprise not only to fans but media outlets too as the news began to circulate via social media. Here are some of the comments which appeared on Twitter.
“We’d like to wish @nickcushing80 all the very best for this next chapter in his career. Since his appointment & during this @ManCityWomen era he’s established himself as one of the best managers in the women’s game & @BarclaysFAWSL. His loyalty to the City Football Group is unwavering & we wish him to carry all his success forward at his new club @NYCFC.” (@mcwfancast)
“Didn’t see it coming but he’s been at MCWFC for a while and done a great job. Time for him to change and let someone else move the women on. Good luck to him.” (@AndyAppleby)
“Can’t say we are not shocked and saddened to see you leave Nick! We feel though we must place on record our sincere thanks to you for ALL the amazing times, work and success you have brought to us! Wonderful memories that will last forever” – (@MCWFC_OSC)
Cushing joined the City Football Group in 2008 and during his time in Manchester, worked in various coaching roles across various age groups with the City Football Academy.
In 2013, Cushing was appointed first team manager of would be known ‘Manchester City Women’ and work began on renovating the squad in preparation of their first season completing in the FA Women’s Super League the following year.
Despite a fifth place finish in the league out of eight competing teams, Manchester City went on to achieve major trophy success following a 1-0 win against Arsenal in the FA Women’s Continental League Cup final at Adams Park, High Wycombe, creating a memory which will always resonate with the manager, players and fans. Especially with this, their inaugural season competing at the highest level of the women’s game. It is a competition which has since continued to be special for the team, having proceeded to win the trophy on two more occasions in both 2016 & 2018/2019.
City continued to build and despite not having the trophy success in their following season, the makings of what this team could achieve were beginning to show. It was also their first taste of European football having qualified through their runners-up finish in the FA Women’s Super League in their previous season but has been the only trophy that was unobtainable under Cushing despite becoming regular competitors in the UEFA Women’s Champions League since their debut in the tournament 2016.
Manchester City won their first ever FA Women’s Super League championship on 25 September 2016 with a memorable 2–0 win over Chelsea and they also went on to lift the FA Women’s Continental League Cup once more in the same season. Personal accolades for Cushing included being awarded ‘FA Women’s Super League Manager of the Year’ for delivering one of the most successful campaigns on record.
For Cushing, successes carried forward into 2017 to Wembley Stadium for the final of the SSE Women’s FA Cup, City were victorious against Birmingham City after a remarkable 4-1 win. It was a day that he’ll always remember fondly, as his son walked out with captain, Steph Houghton in-front of a then record breaking crowd of 35,271. “There have been a million things I’ve loved.” stated an reminiscent manager. That feat that was achieved again in City’s domestic double winning season in 2018/2019.
“I’ve met a lot of great people and improved and developed a lot of young, English talent.
“I’m proud of that and the games we’ve won; the trophies and the people I’ve met.”
This season, it has been all about competing at the top of table, ensuring City are in contention for keeping on the pressure on the top flight teams around them and as well as putting up a strong fight to retain their FA Women’s Continental League Cup and Women’s FA Cup trophies. All within their capabilities this season, but it’s the timing of Cushing’s decision that leaves you wondering how the departure may impact the squad. If anyone can carry this team forward for the foreseeable future you feel that Manchester City have made a good choice in assistant manager, Alan Mahon. The 41-year-old will take charge as interim manager upon Cushing’s departure after his final game at The Academy Stadium against Arsenal on Sunday 2 February.
Without doubt, Cushing has established Manchester City as one of the most dominating teams in women’s football. Achieving not only six major trophies, but leaving with one of the best win ratios for any manager, recording 135 wins in just 181 games played during his six-and-a-half years at the club. He will leave a high president for his predecessor and will certainly remain a well-respected figure in the women’s game for not just for the successes which he has achieved at Manchester City, but the positive impact he has had on the women’s game which he leaves behind for the next chapter of his career.
Manchester City Women
- FA WSL: 2016
- FA Women’s Cup: 2016–17, 2018–19
- FA WSL Cup: 2014, 2016, 2018–19
- FA WSL Manager of the Year: 2016