That Nick Cushing made a huge impact at Manchester City is undeniable. Building a women’s team from the ground up and achieving such success in just six years is a remarkable feat. But his time with the team was going to come to an end at some point. Although it came at a rather unexpected time (given the team’s progress in the season), now that he has moved on the show must go on. His former assistant Alan Mahon has been put in charge even if it’s on a temporary basis. The former Northern Ireland international now has a unique opportunity to both extend Cushing’s legacy and make his own mark on the team.
So what can we expect from him?
Well, that’s difficult to say given the fact that not much is known of his background in the women’s game and success prior to joining City. It’s surprising that very little information concerning him can be found on his official page on the club’s website. So we’ll have to wait and see how he performs before fully assessing him. To be fair to him, Cushing himself had little or no experience in women’s football prior to taking over the job back in 2013. But look where he got us. Yet, choosing to experiment with such an important position at this stage in the team’s development could be counter-productive.
However, having worked closely with Cushing for some time, more of the same could be expected. One advantage in his appointment as interim manager is a sense of continuity. Unfortunately, that does not mean he will have the same connection with the players that his former boss had. It remains to be seen how the players will warm up to him and his tactics. That will definitely affect results on the pitch and the team’s progress for the rest of the season.
All the praise the players have lavished on their former manager suggests he was a good man-manager (or woman-manager if you like). Mahon has it all to do to also endear himself to the group. The best-case scenario is that he develops a great working relationship with the players, ends the season with silverware and gets entrusted with the responsibility to lead the team forward for the long term.
The opposite or even a drop in the team’s performance will mean the club has to find a more capable replacement for Cushing in the summer. With the competition getting tougher, City cannot afford to let the standard drop for the women’s team.