Fresh Faces: How did the new Championship, League One and League Two managers get on during the opening weekend?

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 14 September 2020, 09:38

It may come as a surprise to learn that the new Premier League season got underway without a single managerial change taking place during the summer, something that hasn’t happened since 2005/06.

However, over in the EFL a multitude of managerial faces, both experienced and rookie, took to the dugout for the first time at their respective new clubs.

In total there were 15 new permanent how did they all get on?


Aitor Karanka kicked-off his Birmingham City tenure with an impressive 1-0 win over last season’s play-off finalists Brentford. It’s early days at St Andrews but in Karanka the Blues have a proven Championship manager who previously led Middlesbrough up to the Premier League. A feat he will be hoping to repeat in the Midlands.

Prior to taking charge of Bournemouth over the weekend Jason Tindall hadn’t overseen a game since 2008 when he was at the helm of fellow south coast side Weymouth. But Eddie Howe’s replacement dusted off the managerial cobwebs to cement an early three points on the board following a 3-2 win at home to Blackburn.

Over the summer Vladimir Ivic (Watford) and Veljko Paunovic (Reading) became two of the division's three new foreign imports, and each enjoyed a successful start over in England with wins to nil. However, the same couldn’t be said for Carlos Corberan who failed to get Huddersfield off the mark. 

Dean Holden may have overseen Bristol City towards the end of last season but his position wasn’t made permanent until last month following a lengthy, almost exhausting search. It was a surprise appointment to many but the rookie boss orchestrated a 2-1 win over new boys Coventry.


He may not have looked it, but deep down Ivic must have been happy with the win

League One

Two managers at opposite ends of their career started new League One jobs in the summer, but each ended the opening weekend empty handed.

Back in May, Burton revealed that club legend Nigel Clough was to be replaced by novice Jake Buxton ahead of the new campaign. He faced a tricky fixture away to last season’s play-off semi-finalists, Joey Barton’s Fleetwood, and it was the home side who edged it 2-1.

John Sheridan became the final managerial appointment of the summer when he was named Wigan manager on Friday. The experienced EFL boss, who left Waterford in order to take up the post, was beaten by Paul Lambert on Sunday and will have to draw on all of his knowledge and nous this term in what could be a long season for Latics fans.

League Two

A total of seven managers voyaged into the 2020/21 season with a new club on their CV, but between them couldn’t carve out a win.

Former Oldham boss David Dunn secured a point in his first league match at new boys Barrow, but his predecessor - Ian Evatt - couldn’t prevent ante-post title favourites Bolton from falling to a defeat in their first fourth-tier match in 32 years.

There was also disappointment for Harry Kewell - Oldham’s seventh manager in two years - after his side sunk to an 89th minute loss to Leyton Orient.

There was more positive news for the trio of Mike Jackson (Tranmere), Steve Ball (Colchester) and Neil Cox (Scunthorpe) who all began life at their respective clubs by adding a point to the board.

Meanwhile, a special shout-out to Simon Weaver who may now be the longest-serving manager in the top-four tiers, but Saturday saw the Harrogate boss oversee both his first, and the club’s first, EFL match which they won 4-0 at Southend! Unfortunately it was Mark Molesley on the other side of that demolition, in a debut he’d rather forget.

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