Former West Ham boss Beard takes over at Bristol City
- Credit: PA
Former West Ham United Women's manager Matt Beard has taken temporary charge of fellow Women's Super League team Bristol City until the end of the season.
He takes over from Tanya Oxtoby who is stepping away from her post temporarily on maternity leave as she is expecting a baby boy in March.
Beard left West Ham in November after being appointed as head coach of the Hammers in 2019.
Beard guided the East London club to the FA Cup final in 2019 where they were runners-up after a 3-0 defeat to Manchester City at Wembley Stadium.
Bristol City are currently bottom of the table with two points however they reached the semi-final of the Continental Cup on Wednesday with a 2-1 win over Aston Villa as Ebony Salmon hit a brace.
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He will take charge of his first match this weekend Sunday January, 17 away to Everton who are 5th in the table.
During his time as manager in the WSL he has also had spells with Chelsea and Liverpool leading the Reds to the title in the process in 2013 and 2014.
The 43-year-old has also managed in the US, where he took charge at National Women’s Soccer League franchise Boston Breakers in 2016. Beard guided the Breakers to their highest ever NWSL finish (5th) in the 2016/17 campaign.
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On his appointment Beard said: “I’m really excited and looking forward to the challenge.
“I want to come in and make an impact straight away with the players, the staff and hopefully that impact can turn into results.
“I’ve got a great relationship with Tanya. She’s done a good job over the years here and it’s exciting for her to have her first baby.
“It gives me an opportunity to come in to hopefully turn things around in the league. I’m sure we’ll keep in contact over the course of the season.”
Oxtoby then went to add: “Given the circumstances and where we are with the pandemic, I think it makes sense for the transition to begin and I’m fully supportive.
“The board have decided Matt is the right person to come in and I’ll support him 100% in whatever he needs, the players as well because I want them to reach their potential. I want us to stay in the Barclays FAWSL and I’ll support the team however I can to make that happen.
"Everyone at Bristol City wishes Tanya all the best as she and her partner look forward to the birth of their baby boy," City Women Board Chairman Mark Ashton said in a statement.
“It has been a challenging season so far and credit to Tanya, who despite contracting COVID-19, has remained focused and determined to drive the team forward.
"Allowing her to take a step back now will allow a significant handover period for Matt and we are delighted to have secured his services for the rest of the season during Tanya’s maternity leave.”