Bristol City have parted company with manager Nigel Pearson, the former Sheffield Wednesday captain, the club confirmed on Sunday afternoon. The decision comes off the back of a 2-0 defeat to near-neighbours Cardiff City on Saturday - the sixth loss of the campaign so far for the Robins. They urrently sit in 15th place in the table.
Pearson joined City as boss in February 2021, initially until the end of the season before signing a long-term contract. His time at the club has coincided with a more prudent approach to spending, which has limited their ability to push for a finish at the top end of the Championship.
The 60-year-old had been due to take on his old club Wednesday this coming weekend at Ashton Gate, with the Owls now likely to be facing a side led by Curtis Fleming who will take on the role of interim head coach, alongside Ali Hines and Kalifa Cissé, unless a new boss is brought in before the weekend.
In a short statement, issued on the club’s official website, chairman Jon Lansdown said: “This was a difficult decision to make as we recognise and appreciate how much Nigel has done for the club over the past two-and-a-half years on and off the pitch. Nigel is highly respected by the staff and players and has been very supportive of the Academy structure and our Women’s team.
“We all wanted Nigel to achieve our ambition to be promoted but, with our recent results, feel that now is the time to make a change to give the club the best possible chance of success.”
The decision comes just days after Pearson revealed that he had been living with what he described as a ‘neurological situation’ alongside a separate back problem and he has been on crutches since last month.
“I know people know that I need a back op and that hasn’t changed,” he told BBC Radio Bristol. “But that’s not really the main problem for me at the minute. It’s a neurological situation - but I’m still awaiting further tests to find out what the prognosis is. The good news from my perspective is all the sinister possibilities, cancer etc, have been ruled out.”
Pearson had also been critical in recent days of the hierarchy at Bristol City over his future at the club, with his contract due to expire at the end of this season.
He said last week: “My position has not been secure, which irritates me. All I will say is, why don’t you ask someone above me for once, see if you can find somebody who’s going to say something. The last two weeks have been very irritating for me, I’m not exactly in the best situation but I’m fine. I’m fine and I’ll get better and I’ll honour my contract so we’ll see how it goes.”