The Top Ten Players who made the Worst Managers

The most troubling thing on a footballer’s mind, (apart from which car to buy next) is what to do after they’ve finished their careers. After all, a footballer has a short shelf-life, with most players, unless you’re Edwin Van Der Sar, washed up and finished by 35. Some go into punditry, like Gary Neville. Some go into business, like Robbie Fowler’s property empire or some do much stranger things, like Belgium midfielder Jonathan de Falco, who entered the porn industry. For some bizarre reason, plenty of ex-pros try their hand at management with varying success. After all Sir Alex was a top striker in the Scottish Leagues. Some though, are just as bad with the boots off as they are with them on. Here are ten former players that transformed into awful managers:

  1. Glenn Hoddle – Talented footballer, baffling manager, weird bloke. Hoddle made a decent start to his managerial career, earning promotion with Swindon Town to the Premiership, before taking the Chelsea job and getting to the FA Cup Final. Glenn then took the England job, where in fact, he actually achieved a 60% win rate. However, a second round exit to Argentina on penalties in the 1998 World Cup raised questions over Hoddle’s ability, and he became a laughing-stock in the Press after introducing the faith healer Eileen Drewery into his coaching staff, a decision that certainly raised a few eyebrows amongst the England team. Hoddle produced his biggest faux pas after the tournament after revealing in an interview he believed the disabled and others were being punished for sins in a previous life, something that funnily enough, didn’t go down too well with the British public. Hoddle lost the England job, and subsequently managed just Southampton, Tottenham and Wolves since, hardly the benchmark for a quality manager. Having not coached a team since 2006, he now works on his Glenn Hoddle academy that gives youth players another chance after they’ve been released by their clubs. Shame Hoddle can’t attend one for managers…
  1. Paul Ince – The Guv’nor enjoyed an illustrious career at the top of the English game, making 53 appearances for his country in the centre of midfield. His managerial career hasn’t been met with quite as much success. In fact, there hasn’t been any success. His CV features Macclesfield Town, MK Dons and Notts County. Wow. From this list, it is clear Ince’s big time Charlie reputation as a player has hindered his ability to run a club, with many chairmen fearing Paul would just steal the show. Blackburn did give him a shot at Premiership management in 2008, though fired him after just 177 days in charge. More people liked Gordon Brown as Prime Minster for longer than that. There were even rumours Ince didn’t bother turning up to training. Leading figures in the game often bemoan the lack of black managers active in England. Why, people wonder? The answer is usually returned in just two words. Paul Ince.
  1. Gareth Southgate– Although Gareth’s career is tarred by his infamous penalty miss, he was a solid centre back, making 504 career appearances. His managerial career started and finished at Middlesbrough, who appointed him controversially since he didn’t have the correct coaching badges. How they must wish the FA had blocked his appointment. He took a side, whose Premiership status had been solid for a number of years, to relegation, before shortly into the new campaign; he somehow got fired by Steve Gibson, the most patient chairman in the history of football, making his managerial career as much of a joke as the Pizza Hut advert he once starred in. He has since featured regularly as an analyst for ITV, rivalling Lee Dixon for the most boring pundit on television.
  1. Stuart Pearce – Maybe there’s a connection with missing a penalty in the semi final of a major tournament and being a terrible manager. As Stuart ‘Psycho’ Pearce is certainly one of those. After all, anyone who relies on a small toy horse to help him win games (Pearce used to bring ‘Beanie’, a present from his daughter, into the dugout on match days for good luck) is struggling from the start. Inspiring terrible form at Manchester City was clearly one of the qualities the FA were looking for in a manager, as they appointed Pearce in 2007 as the boss of the under 21’s, before he became Capello’s assistant, when the FA realised they actually needed a man in the dressing room who could speak English. Either way, neither the under 21’s or the senior side have exactly excelled during Pearce’s tenure, indeed the under 21 European Championship ended in embarrassment for England after a talented squad was outclassed in the pool stage. Rumour has it Psycho is being groomed to put the ‘England’ back into England Manager after Capello’s contract runs out. Really? No, really? Do you fancy 4 more years Fabio?
  1. Paulo Di Canio – It may seem a little premature to include the volatile Italian in this list after just 11 games in management, but some things just aren’t meant to be from the word go. Hardly a stranger to controversy, Di Canio made the headlines more than most during his playing career, most famously for pushing over a referee playing for Sheffield Wednesday, as well his sympathy for Fascism, resulting in the Nazi salute he produced playing for Lazio, as well his declaring his love for Mussolini. It appears this trend has continued in management, I can’t log onto the BBC website without seeing a new video of Di Canio’s antics, the on-field altercation with Leon Clarke the other week proving he is just as hot-headed in management as during his playing days. Very entertaining, please continue Paulo.
  1. Alan Shearer – Enticed into management early when Newcastle faced the danger of relegation in 08/09, after Joe Kinnear couldn’t continue for health reasons. I can see why being employed by Mike Ashley would have that effect on you. On his appointment, Shearer stated, “It’s a club I love and I don’t want them to go down. I’ll do everything I can to stop that.” You could have fooled me. Newcastle weren’t even in the drop zone when he took over. Still, 8 hapless performances later and the Toon Army’s long Premiership stay, along with Shearer’s managerial career, was over. Although linked with Cardiff this summer, talks broke down as Shearer chose the cosy Match of the Day sofas over an actual challenge. At least his reputation won’t be harmed any further that way.
  1. Tony Adams – Oh deary me. How has it all gone so wrong for the former England captain? His first foray into management, at lowly Wycombe Wanderers was a disaster, resulted in their relegation in 2004. Yet Portsmouth offered him the chance to succeed Harry Redknapp in 2008, resulting in a 16 game spell that yielded just 10 points, leaving Adams looking more depressed than during his alcoholism days. In 2010, Adams took over at Gabala FC in Azerbaijan, a country more famous for its oil resources than its football teams. Adams justified this move as an opportunity to “start from zero to build a successful football club.” Well I’m fairly confident he can achieve the zero part.
  1. Roy Keane – Keano was an unpopular player, take his barely legal challenge on Alfie Inge-Haaland or his walk out on the Irish World Cup squad in 2002 for proof. However, he has proved to be an even more unpopular manager. Despite an early promotion with Sunderland, as his reign went on, his cluelessness became more obvious. The same cluelessness increased even more during Keane’s time at charge of Ipswich. Take his transfer activity. Keane spent a fortune at both clubs, with many signings proving more useless than a John Terry marriage counsellor. He’s also a miserable sod. I’d rather listen to the Wolves’ fans rendition of ‘Hi, Ho, Silver Lining’ than one of Roy’s press conferences. Next time a job comes up, please please stick to walking your dogs Roy.
  1. Paul Gascoigne – This was never going to happen was it. After picking up coaching tips in China, (no-one knows whether this was football or table-tennis) Gazza decided it was time to take on the English Leagues. The clubs on his CV, Boston United and Kettering Town, suggests Paul chose his first positions in a similar fashion to the ‘random’ team selection button on Fifa. Given that Gazza can’t even control himself, what chance did he had with a bunch of rank amateurs. Sure enough, his spell at Kettering ended after he turned up everyday for training drunk, but his time at Boston was cut short after just 11 games over Gascoigne’s disappointment that the club refused to let him compete in ‘I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here.’ Now that’s one reality TV show I would have watched!
  1. Bryan Robson – Captain Marvel, Coach Terrible. If ever there is an advertisement for not picking your manager on his playing pedigree Robson is it. His 90 caps has convinced no less than 4 chairmen to give him a shot at management, his most successful effort being 4 years at Middlesbrough, and even that involved his side swapping between the Premiership and the First Division more often than a schizophrenic changes personalities. After taking just 22 points from 27 games at Bradford, he then failed miserably at West Brom and Sheffield United too, as well as missing out on the England under 21’s job to Stuart Pearce. Nuff said. However, most recently, he has enjoyed a spell in charge of Thailand, failing to qualify, well, for any tournament, losing out to fellow Asian heavyweights Laos, Malaysia and Indonesia, results that have made him a less successful tourist in Bangkok than the protagonists of the Hangover 2.

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