Football managers’ shortest reigns: Five fleeting appointments
Alan Pardew’s Dutch adventure is no more. With the news that Pards has parted company with Netherlands side Den Haag after just eight games in charge, it’s time to cast an eye over some of the other shortest stints in football management.
From golden greats to the also rans, here are the unfortunate coaches who’d barely got their feet under the table before they were being given the old heave-ho…
Frank de Boer
Team: Crystal Palace
Time in charge: 10 weeks
De Boer came to Crystal Palace with something to prove – the previous year he’d been sacked by Inter Milan. Still, prior to his Italian ordeal, the Dutchman had steered Ajax to Eredivise glory four times on the bounce. Total Football at Selhurst Park? What’s not to like?
Unfortunately, Frank floundered in South London, Palace losing their first four games under the new coach without even mustering a single goal. After just one more league game the manager was sacked, and that catastrophic sequence has cast such a pall over his career that De Boer was forced to move to the USA to re-establish himself; he currently manages Atlanta United.
Something of a climbdown from the Premier League, perhaps. But at least in MLS, he presumably doesn’t have to listen to Jose Mourinho’s jibes; in 2018, after De Boer criticised the then Manchester United manager, Mou responded by calling De Boer “the worst manager in the history of the Premier League”, which has to sting a little.
Team: Leeds United
Time in charge: 44 days
A coaching King Midas who enjoyed outstanding achievements at Midlands rivals Derby County and then Nottingham Forest, Clough’s brilliance momentarily deserted him when he joined Leeds United.
In the early 1970s, Leeds were one of the English top flight’s dominant teams – but the club’s unapologetically robust style under former boss Don Revie had been heavily criticised by Clough in the past.
When the new man rocked up at Elland Road he was, perhaps unsurprisingly, not well received by the team he sought to reinvent. Even for a personality as imposing as Clough’s, getting the players on side proved impossible – on reflection, perhaps he shouldn’t have told them “you can throw your medals in a bin as far as I’m concerned, because they were not won fairly”. After six games in charge and just one victory, Clough was dismissed.
Time in charge: two days
From one Leeds manager to another, though Bielsa is currently rather better liked in Yorkshire than Clough ever has been. Small wonder – with coaches of the quality of Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino hailing Bielsa, the Argentine is one of the most well-regarded tactical minds in the footballing world.
Still, he’s not without his quirks. One such quirk revealed itself in 2016, when Bielsa agreed to manage Serie A side Lazio. The new role was announced on the 6th of July – and two days later, Bielsa decided to quit his new club, claiming they had already broken promises regarding transfers.
All of which sounds less like “El Loco”, and more like Bielsa is not a bloke to be mucked about…
Team: Torquay United
Time in charge: 10 minutes
Compared to Rosenior’s notorious “stint” with the Gulls, though, Bielsa looks like Arsene Wenger at Arsenal. Rosenior had managed Torquay United twice before, but his final “spell” with the club came in May 2007, when he was hired as head coach to replace Keith Curle.
Alas, just minutes after the deal had been struck between Rosenior and the club, lead shareholder Mike Bateson then decided to sell his majority share in the club to a new consortium – who wanted to bring in their own new manager.
Rosenior said: “I did the press conference on Thursday, I did all the interviews, and within 10 minutes, Mike called me to let me know he had actually sold the club.” Leroy Rosenior? Leroy Ro-see-ya!, more like…
Time in charge: 1 match
Big Sam made a balls-up of things just one match into his run as England manager – but at least it had nothing to do with results on the field. Indeed, football’s answer to Les Dawson now enjoys the rare distinction of a perfect record with the Three Lions, having won all his games. Well, game.
Allardyce was the target of a (fairly shabby) undercover newspaper exposé, with the former Bolton boss captured on video agreeing to help some supposed businessmen he’d been introduced to “get around” rules relating to player transfers.
Video footage of the sting – which also contained the unforgettable image of Sam supping from what looked like a pint glass of wine – led to the manager’s dismissal before his time with England had really got started. And whatever your feelings about a manager associated with a somewhat one-dimensional playing style, this was a pretty sad way to lose a gig that presumably meant a lot to the daft bugger. Still, Allardyce’s loss was Gareth Southgate’s gain, for which we can all be grateful. Cheers Sam…
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