Mark Hughes has been appointed manager of League Two side Bradford City after more than three and a half years out of football.
Former Manchester City, Blackburn and Stoke boss Hughes replaces Derek Adams, who was sacked earlier this month after a run of nine wins in 37 games.
Bradford are 15th in England’s fourth-tier, sitting 11 points clear of the relegation zone, and Hughes’ first game in charge will be the visit of Mansfield on Saturday.
Hughes, who will take training for the first time on Friday, said: “I am really pleased to be here and am looking forward to the role, and the job in hand. It has been an exciting few days.
“It is maybe a little bit of a surprise that I have come in, but do not be put off by that!
“I am here for a reason: to make Bradford City a team people want to come and watch – and are proud to watch.
“The supporters come in their numbers, and that is the thing I have missed since being out of management. I am looking forward to the matchday, getting that adrenaline flowing and interacting with the crowd.
“Certainly, from now until the end of the year, we just want to finish strongly and see where that takes us.
“We want to move the club and everybody with it forward, and hope we can have the success everyone wants.”
It is Hughes’ first job in management since he was sacked by Premier League club Southampton in December 2018, with his last game in charge a 2-2 draw against Manchester United at St Mary’s.
The Welshman took an extended break after his dismissal by Southampton, but has been keen to return to football management for over a year.
‘Hughes expressed interest in becoming Bradford manager’
Bradford’s chief executive officer Ryan Sparks says “this is without doubt one of the most significant appointments in the history” of Bradford.
He also revealed that Hughes approached Bradford about the vacancy.
Sparks said: “We are delighted to have secured Mark’s services, and I am looking forward to working alongside him.
“His record and stature in the game speaks for itself, and he has achieved a great deal. To have him in our dugout is representative of the club’s ambition and desire to be successful.
“Mark expressed an interest in becoming our manager and, following talks between he, myself and Stefan (Rupp), we are today thrilled to be in a position to unveil him.
“This is without doubt one of the most significant appointments in the history of our football club. Mark recognises our true potential – and has the desire to ensure we fulfil it.
“Mark will be provided with the tools he requires in order to achieve our goals – be that in coaching, recruitment, sports science, medicine or any other area.
“He is relishing the challenges ahead and has repeatedly proven himself to thrive at elite levels of the game, in high-pressure situations.