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CLOUGH STEPS DOWN AND BUXTON IS NAMED AS PLAYER/MANAGER

18 May 2020

NIGEL Clough is to step down as Burton Albion manager and will be replaced by club skipper Jake Buxton.

It ends a second spell with the Brewers for Clough, who first joined Burton Albion in 1998 in the second tier of non-league and who returned in 2015 to guide the club to the Championship.

Assistant manager Gary Crosby and Chief Scout Simon Clough will also be leaving the club.

Buxton originally joined the Brewers in 2008-2009 and was Player of the Season as Burton Albion gained promotion to the Football League. He moved with Clough to Derby County before returning to the Pirelli Stadium. Like Clough he will begin his managerial career at Burton Albion while carrying on as a player.

Clough will step away in the coming weeks with Buxton taking up the role when his current playing contract expires.

Chairman Ben Robinson said: “Nigel Clough has achieved phenomenal success with the club during two spells going back 22 years. During this time, the club has enjoyed the greatest period in its history including two years in the Championship, which for a club of our stature is a remarkable achievement.

“Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic is having a dramatic impact on all football clubs, meaning we have to make difficult financial decisions going forward in order to safeguard the club and ensure it still exists for the supporters and the benefit of the community for generations to come. At present we have no idea when football will be safe to re-start and whether we will be able to play in front of crowds or behind closed doors, which brings a high degree of financial uncertainty.

“It’s therefore with a heavy heart that after talks with Nigel, Gary and Simon we have agreed that their departure will help us meet these challenges. I want to thank them for all their hard work and dedication over their long association with the club.

“Jake Buxton is the natural choice to take over as player/manager as he knows the club inside and out. He continues our long tradition of giving young managers an opportunity and I’m sure he will go on to be as successful as he has been on the field.”

Nigel Clough said: “It has been an incredible two decades for Burton Albion and it has been a pleasure to share those times with everyone and I want to say a big thank you to all the players, coaches, staff and supporters for being a massive part of that.

“From winning the Unibond, to gaining promotion to the Championship and then against all the odds surviving for another year was beyond all our wildest dreams.

"I have worked with the Chairman since 1998 and we have enjoyed a very long and successful working relationship and I want to thank him for all his support and to wish him and the football club all the best for the future.

“It’s therefore with great sadness that Gary, Simon and I have decided to step away. We are now looking forward to our next challenge in football wherever and whenever that is.

“We couldn’t leave the club in better hands than with Jake, who as captain has shown himself to be a respected leader on and off the pitch. It’s a great opportunity for him and there is no better club at which to make your start in management.

“We hope that by stepping away it helps the club with the financial pressures in these unprecedented times, and that it will also help the club secure the jobs of as many of the staff as possible going forward. We are sure Jake will benefit from the experience and continuity of having as many of the current backroom staff as possible supporting him.”

Jake Buxton said: “I want to thank the Chairman for giving me this tremendous opportunity. It’s an immense honour to follow in the footsteps of Nigel Clough who has achieved so much in the game, especially here at Burton Albion, and who has helped me progress throughout my career.

“I hope that I can now help bring more memorable moments to Burton Albion in the seasons to come.”

Nigel Clough was appointed Burton Albion manager for the first time on October 23, 1998. Having left Manchester City after spells with Liverpool and, famously, Nottingham Forest, Clough was appointed by chairman Ben Robinson as the new Brewers boss following the departure of John Barton.

Initially coming in as player-manager, Clough's first game saw Albion draw against Grantham in the FA Trophy at Eton Park. After winning the Unibond (Northern Premier) League, Clough guided the Brewers to the top of the Blue Square Premier (Conference) before moving to Derby County in 2009.

Following a spell in charge at Sheffield United he would return to the Pirelli Stadium in December 2015 following the departure of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.  The Brewers finished second in League One that season earning promotion to the Championship, where they stayed for two years.

Jake Buxton returned to the Pirelli Stadium in the summer of 2017, eight years after playing his part in helping the Brewers achieve Football League status as Conference champions in 2009.

Originally with Mansfield Town, Jake worked his way through the Academy at Field Mill and soon became a regular with the Stags, becoming one of the youngest captains in the League during his time at the club.

While at Derby County, he played a key part in the Rams run to the Championship Play-Off Final in 2014, where they narrowly missed out on a Premier League place to QPR at Wembley. In 2016 Wigan Athletic moved to make Buxton a part of their defence upon their return to the Championship and after a year with the Latics, Jake returned to Burton Albion being handed the captaincy.

Gary Crosby was appointed player-assistant manager at Burton Albion after Nigel Clough took over at the Brewers in 1998.

He has since followed Clough to Derby County and Sheffield United before returning with him to again be assistant manager at Burton Albion from December 2015. He and Simon Clough have travelled far and wide searching for talent to bring to the Brewers, especially Scotland from where they have brought the likes of Jackson Irvine and Scott Fraser to the Pirelli Stadium.

- Please note that the picture with this story was taken before social distancing measures were introduced.


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