Full Name: Francisco Javier Munoz Llompart
Age: 43
Date Of Birth: September 5, 1980
Height: 5 ft 7
Place Of Birth: Manacor
Nationality: Spanish

Sheffield Wednesday named Xisco Munoz as their first-team manager in July 2023 to replace Darren Moore. The Spaniard took over at Hillsborough after Moore had led the Owls into the Championship.

Dejphon Chansiri, Sheffield Wednesday’s owner, agreed to mutually part company with Moore only 21 days after he oversaw their promotion. The Owls secured their second-tier return with an all-time historic play-off path. After a dramatic semi-final comeback, they won the final in the 123rd minute.

Appointing Xisco to the helm at Hillsborough saw Sheffield Wednesday bring in a manager with past promotion experience. The Spaniard led Watford into the Premier League with automatic promotion from the Championship in 2020/21. He was also the league’s Manager of the Month for March 2021.

Watford v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League
Photo by Jack Thomas – WWFC/Wolves via Getty Images

Sheffield Wednesday manager Xisco Munoz’s past coaching career

Xisco agreed to become the latest manager of Sheffield Wednesday in July 2023 to replace Moore on an undisclosed contract. The Owls sought to keep the terms of the Spaniard’s contract private, as was initially the case with Moore. But Chansiri later clarified that a contract dispute sparked Moore’s exit.

The Thai tycoon released a statement on June 29 stating that Moore had requested a new contract. His previous deal had automatically renewed for the 2023/24 season after securing promotion. But Chansiri claimed Moore sought a fresh three-year contract with a salary four times his earlier wage.

As Chansiri and Moore were unable to agree on the terms of his new contract, Sheffield Wednesday parted with their promotion-winning manager before targeting Xisco. The Spaniard was free to take over in South Yorkshire having been out of work since he left the Cypriot side, Anorthosis Famagusta.

Xisco only oversaw 13 games across all competitions from October 2022 to January 2023 before he left Anorthosis. His tenure further only featured four wins and two draws with 12 goals scored to 15 conceded. It marked an unhappy return to a dugout for the Manacor native after three months out.

SD Huesca had earlier parted company with Xisco in June 2022 after just 32 games in charge. He had taken over the Aragon club in October 2021. But the tactician’s return to his native Spain would only feature 10 wins and 12 draws over 32 games. The Oscenses ended the La Liga 2 season in 13th place.

Xisco led Watford out of the Championship and into the Premier League

Watford v Millwall - Sky Bet Championship
Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

A chance to take charge of Huesca emerged just three weeks after Watford sacked Xisco. The Hornets fired the coach after only 10 months in the job with the Vicarage Road outfit only 14th in the Premier League table. He had overseen a mere seven points from seven games after sealing their promotion.

Xisco started off well at Watford after taking over the club in December 2020. The Hornets secured a runners-up finish behind Norwich City having taken 18 wins and three draws from 26 Championship games with the Spaniard in charge. Watford also scored 40 goals during that run and only let 15 in.

But top-flight football brought about a swift separation after only beating Aston Villa and Norwich in Watford’s opening seven games. Xisco’s final match with the Hornets was a 1-0 defeat away at Leeds United. He had also lost to Brighton & Hove Albion, Tottenham Hotspur and Wolves without scoring.

Xisco only enjoyed brief tenures before taking over Sheffield Wednesday

Yet his time with Watford still marked Xisco’s longest tenure as a manager before replacing Moore at Sheffield Wednesday. His 36 games across all competitions over 10 months at the helm exceeded his average of five-and-a-half months. It was also only his second position yet as a first-team head coach.

Dinamo Tbilisi had afforded Xisco his breakthrough in management in August 2020. But he spent just 11 games at the helm before leaving the Georgian outfit to take over Watford. Xisco had also worked for Dinamo Tbilisi previously having acted as Felix Vicente’s assistant coach at the club through 2019.

Xisco began his coaching career as the assistant manager at Gimnastic de Tarragona in 2016 before a spell as Pobla de Mafumet CF’s caretaker manager. He then returned to Gimnastic in January 2018 as the club’s assistant manager again. But he would leave a year later to join Vicente at Dinamo Tbilisi.

Xisco Munoz’s coaching career

Sheffield Wednesday (July 2023 – present)

Anorthosis Famagusta (October 2022 – January 2023)

SD Huesca (October 2021 – June 2022)

Watford (December 2020 – October 2021)

Dinamo Tbilisi (August 2020 – December 2020)

Dinamo Tbilisi (assistant manager, January 2019 – December 2019)

Gimnastic de Tarragona (assistant manager, January 2018 – December 2018)

Pobla de Mafumet CF (caretaker manager, September 2017 – December 2017)

Gimnastic de Tarragona (assistant manager, July 2016 – August 2017)

Xisco Munoz’s playing career

Valencia's Xisco celebrates after winnin
Photo credit should read ANTONIO RODRIGUEZ/AFP via Getty Images

Before becoming a manager and eventually taking over Sheffield Wednesday in 2023, Xisco enjoyed a lengthy playing career. The Manacor native first turned to football in 1998 when RCD Mallorca signed the striker to their academy. He kept playing until his retirement just shy of his 36th birthday in 2016.

Valencia saw real potential in Xisco’s ability with Mallorca and brought the striker into their academy in 1999. Los Che would nurture his skills before the attacker enjoyed loan spells with Recreativo Huelva and CD Tenerife. Xisco had to wait until 2003 for his chance to enter the first-team fold at Valencia.

Yet his first campaign in the senior side would end with Xisco holding both the La Liga and UEFA Cup titles aloft. He was only a squad player for Rafa Benitez that term and kept a back-up role in 2004/05. Real Betis then broke Xisco’s long-forged connection with Valencia when they moved for him in 2005.

Real Betis initially brought the best out of Xisco

The move to Real Betis saw Xisco flourish as a versatile attacking asset, with his exemplary teamwork shining through. But he fell out of favour before Los Verdiblancos endured relegation in 2008/09 and left for Levante the following summer. While Segunda Division football brought him back into a team.

Xisco would help Levante secure promotion from the Spanish second-tier during his debut season at the club. He would also remain a regular in their squad during the 2010/11 La Liga campaign. Yet the forward moved to Georgia to sign for Dinamo Tbilisi in 2011, where further top-flight titles followed.

Dinamo Tbilisi won the Erovnuli Liga title in 2012/13 and 2013/14 with Xisco ending both seasons as the divisions’ top goalscorer. The club also won the Georgian Cup in 2012/13, 2013/14 and 2014/15 before Xisco returned to Spain. Gimnastic de Tarragona would end their dominant partnership late in 2014.

His transfer to Gimnastic would ultimately be the begging of the end as Xisco retired in 2016 at the end of his 18-month contract. But it also marked the start of his journey in coaching after taking up Vicente Moreno’s offer of the former Spain Under-17, U18 and U21 international becoming an assistant coach.

Xisco Munoz at Sheffield Wednesday

Xisco agreed to become the latest manager of Sheffield Wednesday in July 2023 ahead of the Owls’ return to the Championship. Moore had guided the Hillsborough natives back into the second-tier after a two-year hiatus. The South Yorkshire side had earlier endured relegation under Moore in 2020/21.

Sheffield Wednesday ended the 2020/21 campaign at the bottom of the Championship table with their third manager of the season. Moore arrived in March 2021 to fill the void left when Chansiri fired Tony Pulis in December 2020. Chansiri had also only just sacked Garry Monk during November 2020.