Nick Cushing will oversee his last game as Manchester City Women’s manager on Sunday, seeing a six-year reign come to an end.
Cushing’s side will face Arsenal at the Academy Stadium. They sit top of the Women’s Super League table on goal difference, with the Gunners sat second.
During his tenure as manager of City, he has won six trophies – most notably completing a domestic double in 2016 and 2019.
The 35-year-old will be leaving Manchester for New York City FC, taking up the role of assistant manager at the Major League Soccer club.
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The game against Arsenal will be a heartfelt goodbye for Nick:
“It is a bit like being in the congregation at your own funeral. It’s strange. It’s really nice to hear people say nice things, but I just feel like I’ve done my job,” Cushing said.
“I don’t know if I’ll cry but I’ll definitely be emotional. I’ve had emotional times in this job. It’s not all been plain sailing.
“Sunday will be difficult for me in that sense but I have to park that until after the game.”
Before taking the job, the 35-year-old admitted to not watching women’s football, but since taking the reigns, it has led to him being named 2016 WSL Manager of the Year – the same season he guided the Blues to the league title.
He is known for developing young domestic players, fielding an all British starting XI – nine of which were English – on the day they won the title four years ago.
In City’s FA Cup victory over West Ham last season, all three of the club’s scorers were English and under the age of 22 – Keira Walsh, Georgia Stanway and Lauren Hemp.
“When I took this job on I didn’t want to just coach a team, I wanted to do more, that’s why we went with the strategy of having young players, trying to get the best young players in England and Britain, trying to win with a good style of football,” Cushing told BBC Radio Manchester.
“Ultimately, we started this off in 2014 and decided we wanted to challenge the perception everyone had of the women’s game.”
He added: “The big thing I am proud of is how our football club has played a huge part in raising awareness and developing the women’s game.
“The product on the pitch has become better which makes fans want to come in and watch more. I definitely think that has been the biggest change.
“We had an amateur women’s team but they weren’t under the football club’s umbrella. The club wanted a women’s team and saw value in it. They wanted it to be a major arm of the football group.
“[Since then] I’ve led a team out at Wembley twice and I’ve won three league cups and we won a league undefeated – and we’ve only been a team for six seasons.
“Everything the board has offered me, they’ve always delivered. I’m eternally grateful to them.”
Nick admitted he was disappointed not to win the Champions League as a manager, after taking the club to the semi-finals in 2017 and 2018.
With Cushing stepping aside, who will be replacing him?
The 35-year-old’s current assistant and former Republic of Ireland international Alan Mahon will take temporary charge of City.
“Alan hasn’t been a head coach but he’s got an incredible amount of knowledge and experience in the game,” Cushing said.
“He’s good enough to do the job. He’s capable of doing it, he’s just got to let the players go out and play because we’ve got good players.”