Monday, 23 September 2013

The Top 10 Crazy Managerial Reigns in English Football (EPL).

Paolo Di Canio's dismissal as Sunderland manager brings to a close one of the most colourful chapters in both the history of the club and the Premier League.

But the fiery Italian is by no means the first boss to bring madness to a football club.

Sportsmail has picked nine other crazy, crazy reigns from the English game, the perfect examples of how not to be a football manager.

10) Steve Coppell (Manchester City)

October 1996-November 1996

After Manchester City dropped out of the Premier League in the summer of 1996, Alan Ball was shown the door.

It took the Maine Road club six weeks to appoint Steve Coppell as his replacement - and then 33 days to lose him.

After his first match in charge, Coppell uttered what was thought to be a throwaway remark: 'They call Manchester Madchester... and now I know why.'

Just over a month later, with City languishing 17th in Division One, he resigned from the post, having been overwhelmed by the stress of his responsibilities.

His voice creaking, Coppell said: 'I am not ashamed to admit I have suffered for some time from the huge pressure I have imposed on myself.'

His six-match reign included two wins, a draw and three defeats before it all got too much.

9) Andre Villas-Boas (Chelsea)

June 2011-March 2012

Ushered in by Roman Abramovich in the summer of 2011, this suave protégé of Jose Mourinho was billed as the man who would deliver Chelsea their holy grail of the European Cup.

By the club's impossibly high standards, the start of his reign was stuttering and defeats to Manchester United, QPR, Arsenal and Liverpool left the Blues well off the title pace.

The pressure of the job gradually consumed Villas-Boas, who would spend interminable hours at the club's Cobham training ground, pouring over print-outs of technical data in a desperate attempt to work out where he was going wrong. By the end of his reign, he had even taken to sleeping at the training ground as there were seemingly not enough hours in the day.

Young and inexperienced at just 33, he never gained a firm grip over a notoriously difficult dressing room, with senior players undermining his authority.

When Chelsea lost at Everton in February and dropped out of the top four, Villas-Boas called the squad in on their day off for a summit.

In front of Abramovich, several senior players ripped into his methods and tactics.

Civil war broke out and Villas-Boas left Frank Lampard, Michael Essien and Ashley Cole on the bench for a Champions League match away to Napoli.

After the move backfired and Chelsea lost 3-1, Abramovich asked for an explanation. Within a week, he was history.

8) Christian Gross (Tottenham)

November 1997-September 1998

There were immediate question marks when it emerged that Christian Gross was to succeed Gerry Francis in November 1997, mainly 'who the hell is he?'

With Spurs struggling in the Premier League relegation zone, perhaps it wasn't the best idea to appoint a totally unknown Swiss bloke who had won a couple of titles with Grasshopper Zurich.

Gross immediately became a figure of ridicule when, in broken English, he waved a London Underground travelcard and shouted: 'I want this to become my ticket to the dreams!'

Unfortunately, like his ticket, hope soon expired as Spurs were whipped 6-1 at home by Chelsea.

Unable to grasp neither the language nor the tactical demands of the Premier League, Gross was ruthlessly belittled by the tabloid press and departed back to Switzerland the following summer.

7) Ruud Gullit (Newcastle)

August 1998-August 1999

Promising to replicate the 'sexy football' of Chelsea in Geordieland, Gullit arrived with high expectations in 1998.

However, in a textbook example of how to lose friends and alienate people, the Dutchman soon clashed with local hero Alan Shearer and club captain Rob Lee, with the gory details dragged through the sports pages.

He dropped Shearer, the club's leading marksman, and gave Lee's shirt number to youngster Kieron Dyer.

If the results were going his way, Gullit might have been justified but a 4-1 loss to Liverpool in his opening game set an ominous tone.

Although he guided Newcastle to the 1999 FA Cup final, which they lost to Treble-bound Manchester United, he was shown the door after a 2-1 home defeat to local rivals Sunderland, for which he had once again dropped Shearer and Duncan Ferguson.

6) Graham Westley (Preston)

January 2012-February 2013

After his league and Cup exploits with Stevenage, Westley inevitably started attracting attention from higher powers, including Preston North End.

Reluctantly, he was allowed to leave for Deepdale in January 2012, leaving a 1-0 win at Reading in the FA Cup third round as a parting gift.

There the unfolded a bizarre sequence of mutinous events. Prior to his first game in charge, Westley revealed the starting line-up to his players by way of a 2am text message.

If Westley was trying a 21st-century approach to certain aspects of management, it didn't rub off well with his players.

Following a 2-0 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday, it emerged that four members of the Preston squad had leaked tactics to opposition players before the game.

Westley didn't exactly express surprise at the mutiny when questioned on it, adding the club had ' not got a clue what it takes to get success.'

That summer, he cut 21 players from the squad as an act of retribution. A bright start to the 2012-2013 season was deceptive, and a winter of discontent that saw them win just twice in the league between October and February resulted in his return to Stevenage.

5) Steve Kean (Blackburn)

December 2010-September 2012

Given the shambolic way Blackburn was being run at the time, it will surprise many that Steve Kean, seemingly the most loathed man at any club in the football world, lasted a grand total of 74 games.

Promoted from within following the sacking of Sam Allardyce in December 2010, Kean was given a chance to prove himself by Venky's, the Indian chicken-handlers who couldn't tell a football from a giblet.

Incredibly, despite the team anchored to the foot of the Premier League and outright rebellion in the Ewood Park stands, the owners continued to stand by him. In fact, at one point, they wanted to improve the terms of his contract.

Miserable defeat followed miserable defeat and Blackburn's relegation to the Championship became inevitable. He had the second-worst record of any Blackburn manager in the Premier League era and lost 37 of 74 games.

Ironically, when results started to improve in the Championship and Blackburn were sitting third, Kean was forced to resign.

4) Joe Kinnear (Newcastle)

September 2008-April 2009

After four years away from management, Newcastle's appointment of Joe Kinnear as interim manager in September 2008 came as a surprise to say the least.

And his tenure at St James' Park got off to the best possible start when he launched an expletive-laden tyrade at journalists. Nothing like convincing people you are a worthy appointment.

Although Kinnear did lift Newcastle off the bottom of the table, it was events away from the pitch that stole the headlines.

He was sent to the stands after a contretemps with referee Mike Riley and then showed epic ineptitude by mispronouncing Charles N'Zogbia's name as 'insomnia' in a press conference.

Unsurprisingly, N'Zogbia said he no longer wanted to play for Kinnear.

He needn't have worried, a health scare meant Kinnear was replaced by Alan Shearer a few weeks later.

3) Graham Taylor (England)

July 1990-November 1993

Having never won a major trophy, the appointment of Graham Taylor to the country's top management job in 1990 wasn't popular with everyone.

But the former Aston Villa and Watford boss nonetheless guided England through the qualification phase for the 1992 European Championships, despite not knowing his best eleven nor how to handle stars like Paul Gascoigne.

Sadly for a nation with sky-high expectations following the drama of Italia '90, this proved the high water mark of Taylor's reign.

England lost to Sweden and failed to get out the group, with Taylor's baffling decision to hook off Gary Lineker with half-an-hour to play leading to The Sun's merciless 'Turnip' headline.

Worse was to follow as England stumbled through their qualifying group for the 1994 World Cup in the States. They lurched from one poor result to another, including losses to Norway and Holland, with Taylor's every wrong move being caught on camera for posterity by Channel Four.

Their documentary gave us the immortal line 'Do I not like that' as Poland scored at Wembley, a quip which went down in history as Taylor's personal catchphrase and neatly summed up the thoughts of a nation.

2) Brian Clough (Leeds)

July 1974-September 1974

Clough's 44-day tenure at Elland Road in 1974 has been amply told and re-told in books and on film as a match forged in hell, the pricking of a colossal ego.

Announcing his arrival, Clough told Johnny Giles, Norman Hunter, Billy Bremner and the like to chuck all their trophies and medals in the bin as they'd been won through cheating.

It was obviously a sore point as Clough had previously called for Don Revie's Leeds to be demoted to the second division on account of their disciplinary record.

Still, they were the defending champions and results had to be as striking on the field as remarks off it.

That was the trouble - as Clough failed to gain the respect of the dressing room, he won just one in six, leaving Leeds fourth from bottom.

It was reason enough to bring to a close one of the most disastrous and ill-advised managerial spells in history.

1) Paolo Di Canio (Sunderland)

March 2013-September 2013

Bringing us bang up to date, maybe the maddest manager of them all.

Paolo Di Canio's appointment on March 31 this year was bound to be controversial, but nobody expected it to be so brief.

As a self-proclaimed fascist, Di Canio was never going to be popular in the coal-mining heartland of Wearside but he won many fans over through his passion as Sunderland avoided relegation from the Premier League.

His wild touchline celebrations as fierce rivals Newcastle were beaten 3-0 on their own patch the abiding memory of his time at the club.

Brash, opinionated and volatile, Di Canio's first full season in charge was going to go one of two ways.

Having staked his reputation on an entirely new team, a dreadful start to the season culminated in a dressing room bust-up and his marching orders following a dismal 3-0 loss at West Brom.

Quite who would take a gamble on such an unpredictable man and manager now remains to be seen.


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