Managers who stayed beyond their sell-by date

May 11, 2018 by  
Filed under Arsenal FC, Premier League, Transfers

How many times have you thought the manager of your favourite football team has stayed longer than necessary, taking your club backwards rather than forwards?

Many a fan has had this to say about their team’s boss over the years and perhaps none more so than Arsenal fans over a fair few years now, with Arsène Wenger failing to sustain any real title challenge over the past 13 seasons after winning the Premier League three times in his first eight full seasons at the club.

There are also those managers who always seem to get a job that makes you wonder ‘Why? How?’ Here’s a look at five managers who some people think stayed long past their sell-by date:

Arsène Wenger (Arsenal: October 1996-May 2018)

The long-serving Arsenal manager is set to depart at the end of the 2017-18 Premier League season following another disappointing campaign that has seen the Gunners fail to bring home any silverware.

Arsène Wenger was a ray of shining light for Arsenal when he was appointed, as a virtual unknown, on 1st October, 1996. He took over a team that had finished fifth the previous season to guide them into third place in his first season in charge.

The French manager won the Premier League and FA Cup double in his first full season in charge at Highbury, with the solid defence he had inherited: David Seaman, Lee Dixon, Tony Adams, Steve Bould and Nigel Winterburn.
Wenger would continue to be a threat to Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United dominance in England, winning the Premier League for a second time at the end of the 2001-02 season after the Red Devils had won the league three years in a row.

The Gunners boss had his finest campaign during the 2003-04 season when Arsenal won another double and went unbeaten throughout the entire Premier League season – the only club ever to have done so. This Arsenal side played some attractive, counter-attacking football that was simply unstoppable.

However, Wenger has had 13 seasons since then and has not put up a single title challenge. In fact, he’s guided Arsenal to runners-up spot just twice since. Luis Enrique is the current favourite to replace Wenger, according to the Premier League betting at Betfair.

Brian Clough (Nottingham Forest: January 1975-May 1993)

Former Derby County manager, Brian Clough, took charge at rivals Nottingham Forest midway through the 1974-75 season in which his former club would go on to win the top flight title for the second time in their history.

Forest were stuck in the second division at the time before Clough took them into the top flight during his second full season in charge. Alongside his assistant Peter Taylor, he produced a unique feat in English football by winning the top flight in their very first season back in Division One.

Brian Clough wasn’t only keen on bringing domestic success to the City Ground, he then won the European Cup in back-to-back seasons with Nottingham Forest. To this day, they remain the only club in European football to have won this trophy more times than their own domestic title.

Aside from a couple of third-place finishes over the next decade or so, Brian Clough failed to take Nottingham Forest back to their heyday, and ultimately became the first team ever relegated from the Premier League, during the inaugural 1992-93 season.

Mark Hughes

Mark Hughes started off brightly as a Premier League manager, keeping Blackburn Rovers in the top flight during his first campaign and then establishing them as a top half side for the next three seasons.

The former-Manchester United and Barcelona striker made some bargain signings during his time at Ewood Park, such as Christopher Samba and Roque Santa Cruz before he was given the opportunity to manage the newly-wealthy Manchester City.

However, his transfers were less-than-impressive at the City of Manchester Stadium. Tal Ben Haim, Wayne Bridge, Roque Santa Cruz, Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Touré were amongst those he signed. After only a season-and-a-half in charge, and outside the Champions League places, despite the money invested, Hughes was dismissed. Hughes had just one season in charge at Fulham during the 2010-11 season before he fell out with Fulham owner Mohamed Al-Fayed who called him a ’strange man’ and a ’flop’.

The Welsh manager moved just down the road to rivals Queens Park Rangers midway through the following season as they stayed up on the final day of the season despite their dramatic 3-2 loss to Manchester City. After the game, Hughes promised that QPR would never be in this position again. 12 games and four points into the following season he had left the club bottom of the table at the time of his dismissal.

Despite his poor performance with the West London club, Stoke City appointed Mark Hughes the following summer. Despite some big name signings over the years, including Xherdan Shaqiri, Ibrahim Afellay, Bojan and Jesé, he has taken the club backwards.

After three successive, impressive ninth-place finishes, the Potters then finished 13th in 2016-17. He was dismissed after 22 games this season after only five wins and leaving the club in the relegation zone. He was then appointed as Southampton boss where he has the Saints down in 18th with three games to play – two points above his former club.

Mark Hughes is one of only two managers to have been eliminated from the FA Cup with two Premier League teams in the same season – could he also be in charge of two teams relegated in the same season?

Mick McCarthy

Mick McCarthy started his managerial career at the start of the millennium with highs and lows – two relegations and two promotions with Sunderland.

After the Black Cats dismissed the former-Republic of Ireland international in 2006 he soon got a job at second tier promotion hopefuls, Wolverhampton Wanderers. At the third attempt he guided Wolves into the Premier League for the first time in their history.

McCarthy did well in avoiding relegation for the first two seasons before being dismissed after 25 games in 2011-12 with the club headed back to the Championship.

Ipswich Town were the next team to take a gamble on McCarthy. The Tractor Boys had high ambitions of returning for another spell in the Premier League. But McCarthy only guided the club to one unsuccessful playoff campaign before announcing his resignation during a post-match interview a few weeks ago.

Sam Allardyce

Sam Allardyce took the long road into the Premier League, starting in the lower divisions with the likes of Preston North End, Blackpool, Notts County and Bolton Wanderers.

It was the latter that he would guide into the Premier League via the playoffs during his first full season in charge. After relegation battles in their first two seasons under Allardyce in the Premier League, the future England manager would have four successive top half finishes before he was bizarrely dismissed after finishing 7th in 2006-07.

Sam Allardyce has not had much luck picking up trophies during his career despite having opportunities at several Premier League clubs – Newcastle United, Blackburn Rovers, West Ham United, Sunderland, Crystal Palace and currently Everton.

Most fans despise the manager’s style of football, which was highlighted in a poll by Everton fans earlier this season. Big Sam should probably be looking for another job come the end of this season… or perhaps packing up the management game altogether.

Arsene Wenger identifies his potential successor at Arsenal

March 6, 2018 by  
Filed under Arsenal FC, Premier League

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has reportedly earmarked Mikel Arteta as his potential successor at the north London club.

The French tactician has received plenty of criticism following the Gunners’ lean patch in 2018, but he remains adamant that he is the right person for the job. Wenger’s current deal does not conclude until the summer of 2019, and it appears that he could thereafter quit from his head coach position with a successor in the form of Arteta lined up.

According to The Mirror, the 68-year-old has no plans to quit from the Gunners role despite the club succumbing to a 10th Premier League defeat of the season. The Capital outfit put in another dismal defensive display which cost them a 2-1 loss at Brighton & Hove Albion, and this happened to register an unwanted record.

The Gunners have now lost four straight away league games since the turn of the year, and this happens to be the first time since 1925, have they managed to repeat this feat. Moreover, they have accumulated just 13 points in 15 matches on the road this term – their worst tally since the 1989-90 season.

The likes of Joachim Loew and Carlo Ancelotti have been touted as potential contenders to replace Wenger at the helm, but the Frenchman seems to have different plans in mind with Arteta being his preferred choice for the managerial reign.

Arteta has been part of Pep Guardiola’s coaching staff at Manchester City since ending his playing career with the Gunners back in 2016, and Wenger is seemingly interested with a reunion with the Spaniard, whose arrival could permit him to stay on in a potential ambassadorial role.

However, the Gunners may not receive a straight route to the former La Masia graduate with ex-club Everton also deemed to be keen on his services. The Merseyside outfit are considering the position of Toffees boss Sam Allardyce, and they could potentially offer Arteta the managerial post during the summer, 12 months prior to Wenger’s probable departure from the Emirates.