HomeFast & FuriousFAILED LEGENDS


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Footballers representing their clubs with distinction and then going onto manage them is a dream for many. It is not often that you get the chance to lead your former sides to glory and even silverware. Several have done it successfully including the likes of Carlo Ancelotti, Antonio Conte, Zinedine Zidane, Diego Simeone, Johan Cruyff who are revered in these circles. However, on the flip side, there have been notable failures which have certainly damaged some of the credibility they had built as players. FootTheBall runs down 10 managers who returned only to flame out in a short period of time.



The two-time Ballon D’Or winner played for the Magpies from 1982-84 where he was much liked by the fans, even though silverware was missing. Keegan joined Newcastle as manager in 1992, spending five years there. His first full campaign with the club (1992-93), Keegan earned promotion to the Premier League as champions of the second-tier.


The following year was an even greater success as they finished third and earned European football for the first time since the 1970s. The race for the title in the 1995-96 season has gone down as one of the most memorable for the teams involved. Keegan’s team were leading for most of the time but Manchester United were closing down quickly.


Keegan’s famous outburst- “I would love it if we beat them! Love it!” has gone down in infamy as Newcastle withered towards the end of the campaign to lose out. Though he signed Alan Shearer before the start of the 1996-97 season, Newcastle would never reach the same heights again. He left in 1997 under acrimonious circumstances with the board.


Keegan made a shock return in January 2008 and some good results saw him endear himself further to the fans as Newcastle avoided relegation to finish 12th. The start of the next season was also good but untenable problems with the board and owner Mike Ashley in particular led to his departure in very controversial fashion.



Newcastle United’s greatest ever player and the Premier League’s record goalscorer with 260 goals, Shearer has been a regular on matchday programmes since his retirement. However, Shearer did try his hand at management with dismal results back in 2009. With the Magpies perilously close to relegation, he was appointed as caretaker manager in April.


Newcastle’s fortunes did not see a change as Shearer could only pick up one win and two draws from his eight games before getting relegated. He wanted to stay on for their upcoming Championship season but was let go and Shearer has not tried his hand as manager ever since.



One of Liverpool’s finest ever players with whom he won everything on offer during the late ‘70s-mid ‘80s, Dalglish is a rare name on the list given he had found success as a manager as well. With Liverpool in the late ‘80s after retirement and winning the Premier League in 1994-95 with Blackburn Rovers.


Having last managed Celtic in 2000, Dalglish was called back to Anfield 11 years later on an interim basis to take over from Roy Hodgson. His major work for the club included signing Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez in January, before putting together some impressive results to get the job on a full-time basis. However, he was soon caught up in the furore of the racial incident involving Suarez and Patrice Evra, with Dalglish coming in support of his striker.


Though the Reds managed to win the League Cup and reach the final of the FA Cup, an 8th-placed finish was Liverpool’s worst since 1994 and Dalglish was sacked.



The former Crystal Palace player was a key figure for the Eagles as they achieved promotion to the old First Division in 1989. He was also present two years later when Palace finished 3rd in the league, their best position in history. After having a more than decent spell with Newcastle United from 2010-2014, Pardew joined their fellow league rivals in January 2015.


He guided the team to 10th on the table, which remains their best finish in Premier League history after being in the relegation zone when he joined. The good form continued for the early parts of the next season but 2016 would usher in a terrible run of form. Palace endured a 14-game winless streak and only won two games to finish 15th. Palace only won six out of 36 games in 2016 overall before being let go in December with the club in 17th.



One of the most no-nonsense defensive midfielders of all time who formed a part of the fearsome AC Milan side of the early 2000s. Gattuso is a two-time Serie A and Champions League winner but has found little success in terms of managing teams. He was appointed as head coach of the U19s in 2017 before making the transition to the first team after the sacking of Vincenzo Montella in December 2019.


Gattuso guided Milan to 10th before missing out on Champions League qualification the following campaign by one point and he left by mutual consent, winning only 40/83 games in charge.



Arsenal’s record goalscorer, an ‘Invincible’ and technically one of the most brilliant players of his day, Henry is currently serving as an assistant manager with Belgium. He started his playing career with Monaco, scoring 28 goals for the side before becoming their head coach in October 2018. Henry’s lack of experience beforehand was seen as worrisome in some quarters in fears that were eventually proved right.


Monaco lost in his first game in charge and had to wait for their maiden win for more than a month. They were in the relegation zone as 2019 began and though he made some signings in the winter transfer window, he was sacked on January 24 with a record of four wins and 11 defeats from 20 games.



The Blues legend had done quite a tremendous job with Derby County, reaching the 2019 Championship Playoff Final. After the tiring and abrasive style of Maurizio Sarri, the former midfielder started off well in terms of promoting youth and getting some good results. Chelsea managed to finish 4th and reach the FA Cup final which they lost to Arsenal.


A massive summer followed with the influx of Timo Werner, Edouard Mendy, Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech, among others signalling Lampard’s next step. A strong start to the season was followed by a major dip in form with Chelsea languishing in 9th at the start of 2020. Lampard was sacked in late January with reports indicating that there were problems with some players and the board too.



One of the greatest playmakers ever, Pirlo played successfully for Juventus before his quick promotion to the top job. Too quick in fact, with Pirlo just enrolling for his UEFA Pro License in 2019 and being appointed as manager of the U23s in July 2020. Nine days later, he found himself in charge of the senior squad but the most bizarre thing was that his Pro License got approved more than a month later.


The show had to go on nevertheless and it was mostly a wreck for large parts. Juventus stayed out of the top four till the last day of the season where they just about sneaked in with help of results elsewhere. Though they won the Coppa Italia, little confidence was found elsewhere and Pirlo’s tactics were found to be wanting in most matches. No surprise that he was sacked after Juventus’ domination over the Serie A ended.



It has not been a good month for the Manchester United boss. Some last gasp wins and crushing defeats have left Solskjaer hanging on to his job by a thread after a crisis meeting with the board today. So it is easy to forget the real optimism and hope that surrounded his arrival in 2019.


Jose Mourinho’s final days in charge were toxic and insufferable for everyone involved with the Norwegian largely undoing the damage over his first season in charge. He helped oversee a marked upturn in results and consistency from the players, playing the “United way.” However, the inability to win silverware has dogged him for a long time.


An excruciating loss to Villarreal on penalties in the Europa League last season was actually followed by a great start to the season. Those days are long gone and after a great transfer window headlined by the return of Cristiano Ronaldo, results have to change soon.



The former Barcelona defender had always talked about getting the managerial job at Camp Nou which transpired before the start of last season. With Lionel Messi being forced to stay on for the final season of his contract, Barcelona were in the title race up until the final few match days. Two wins from their final five games condemned them to a 3rd-placed finish though they won the Copa del Rey.


The departure of Messi and the messy financial situation has meant that without their greatest ever player in almost two decades, Barcelona have struggled mightily. They currently sit 9th and just lost the El Clasico at home. In Europe, it has been even worse with just one win from three matches.


There have been some differences over president Joan Laporta and injuries have certainly not helped but Koeman knows he has to do better if he is to hold onto his seat till the end of the season at least.

Ratul Ghosh
His name means Red and a fan of devilish food, which equals to his favourite team being Manchester United. Can be found sleeping or in front of the TV otherwise. Hates waking up early but loves staying up late for football.

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