Nigel Clough has agreed to leave Burton Albion as the League One club adjust to the financial uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Clough’s second spell as manager will end next month and he will be replaced by the club captain, Jake Buxton.
Clough’s assistant, Gary Crosby, and brother Simon, the chief scout, will also depart as part of the cost-cutting. Clough returned five years ago after a two-year spell at Sheffield United, helping Burton into the Championship for the first time. The 54-year-old previously led the club to the brink of the Football League before departing for Derby. Buxton, a 35-year-old former Derby defender, is expected to take over as player-manager.
“Nigel Clough has achieved phenomenal success with the club during two spells going back 22 years,” said Burton’s chairman, Ben Robinson. “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 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 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.”
Discussions between League One clubs regarding the interrupted season are ongoing, with at least six teams, most of whom are in the mix for promotion, determined to resume playing. Conversations continued on Monday but there remains a swell of clubs that wish for the season to be curtailed on the grounds that it is too expensive to continue.
On Friday League Two clubs made it clear they opposed relegation, a consideration the EFL board will debate on Wednesday. Such a standpoint is likely to be met with firm resistance from the National League, and any decision would require a sign-off from the Football Association.