Ranking the 31 managers who played under Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United as Paul Scholes gets started

Telegraph Sport
The Telegraph

It is fair to say that Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United players have been a mixed bag as managers. In fact, there are precious few that could call their careers successful.

Paul Scholes is the latest of Fergie's fledglings to take flight in management, accepting the reins at League Two Oldham Athletic. 

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The former midfielder has a long association with the club and managed United's reserve team between 2011 and 2014.

Where will Scholes fit in to this rundown of former United players as managers? 

If he doesn't beat Clayton Blackmore he'll be extremely disappointed...

31. Mike Phelan 

Managed: Norwich, Hull City

Phelan was Ferguson’s final assistant at Old Trafford. Upon retirement he moved to coach under Neil Adams at Norwich and took up a caretaker role without taking charge of any games. Sacked by Hull after less than three months in charge, although in fairness he was not supported in the transfer market and the club was a red-hot mess. They were eventually relegated under Marco Silva. Now back at United as a first-team coach and has played an important role alongside Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Destined to go down as a 'good No 2' rather than the main man. 

30. Gabriel Heinze 

Managed: Godoy Cruz, Argentinos Juniors, Velez Sarsfield. 

The Argentine defender took a job with Mendoza-based Primera Division side Godoy in June 2015, despite not having the proper coaching qualifications. He was sacked in September after two draws, two wins and six defeats. Resigned after achieving promotion with Argentinos Juniors. Remains at Velez Sarsfield. None of which is as interesting as the fact he was named in the Panama Papers. 

29. Viv Anderson 

Managed: Barnsley

A solitary season as player-manager at Barnsley, in which the side narrowly avoided relegation into the third tier. Went on to assist Bryan Robson at Middlesbrough, but has never returned to management.

28. Neil Webb 

Managed: Weymouth, Reading Town

Midfielder won the FA Cup with United in 1990. Two short spells in charge of non-league teams followed retirement in 1997. Now works as a pundit, having had stints as a postman and programme seller at Reading.

27. Pat McGibbon 

Managed: Lurgan Celtic, Newry, Portadown

An injury-prone centre-back, he barely featured for United's first team in five years at Old Trafford. Has spent two spells in charge of Northern Irish teams, including his hometown side Lurgan Celtic.

26. Paul Parker 

Managed: Chelmsford, Welling

Reliable full-back from Ferguson’s first title-winning team, he spent four years managing non-league teams with little success.

25. Clayton Blackmore 

Managed: Bangor, Porthmadog

Short spells in charge of two Welsh clubs. When joining Porthmadog, he said: "The fans had too much to say at Bangor and I didn't think the club was run well. I'm glad I'm not involved in that again. It's not as ruthless at Port and the fans are a bit more sensible." Lasted there four months.

24. Teddy Sheringham 

Managed: Stevenage, ATK

Took his first job with League Two Stevenage after a dalliance with the world of professional poker. Had previously worked as attacking coach with West Ham. Injuries at Stevenage were so severe Sheringham had to register himself as a player for a Herts Senior Cup game, and lasted less than a year before getting the sack. Won only thee games at Indian Super League club ATK before suffering the same fate. 

23. Peter Davenport

Managed: Macclesfield, Bangor, Colwyn Bay, Southport

Was with Ferguson during his first two seasons at United. Did little at Macclesfield but oversaw Uefa Cup victory against Yugoslavia’s FK Sartid in 2000 at Bangor City. Moved into non-league football but has not managed since 2010.

22. Frank Stapleton 

Managed: Bradford, New England Revolution

The Irishman was sacked after three years as player-manager of fourth-tier Bradford City in 1994. Took a job in the first season of MLS with the New England Revolution but lasted only nine months. Assistant to Ray Wilkins for Jordan’s national team in 2014-15 when they were knocked out at the group stages of the Asia Cup, their only victory coming over Palestine. 

21. Simon Davies 

Managed: Chester

Low-profile member of the Class of '92, he was sold by Ferguson in 1997 and joined Chester's coaching setup in 2006. Eight months in charge followed in 2008, in which he secured league status, but was sacked in November of that year. Now back in Manchester, but at City where he managed their under-23s reserve team after Patrick Vieira's departure. 

20. Gary Neville

Managed: Valencia.

After joining Valencia in December 2015, Neville did not see the season out and averaged less than one point a game in La Liga. He was an England first-team coach at three tournaments under Roy Hodgson, ending after the humiliating Euro 2016 exit to Iceland. 

<span>Gary Neville did not last long in charge of Valencia</span> <span>Credit: Getty Images </span>
Gary Neville did not last long in charge of Valencia Credit: Getty Images

19. Ryan Giggs 

Managed: Manchester United

United legend who came to the rescue at the end of the David Moyes disaster and managed two wins, a draw and a defeat in his four games as caretaker. Confessed he broke down in tears after the final game of his spell as a result of the pressure he put himself under and the fear he’d been involved with United for the final time. Those fears were allayed when he became Louis van Gaal’s assistant.

Departed with the Dutchman, but now has the chance to build a reputation as Wales manager. Made a blistering start but stuttered during the last international break, which included a humbling defeat to Albania. 

18. Andrei Kanchelskis 

Managed: Torpedo-Zil Moscow, Ufa, Jurmala

Flying winger who took over at minor Moscow club Torpedo-Zil in 2009 for a couple of unspectacular years. Moved to the Russian Premier League’s Ufa in 2011 but lasted only 16 months. Relegated Latvians Jurmala in 2014. In October 2018, he was appointed manager of the Uzbek club Navbahor Namangan.

17. Chris Casper 

Managed: Bury

Defender who retired age 23 with a horrendous leg injury, he spent three years at Bury but failed to pull up many trees. Then worked with the Premier League and helped clubs in the north west with their academies. Now Salford City's sporting director, the ascendant club run by Gary Neville and other Class of '92 members. 

16. Chris Turner 

Managed: Leyton Orient, Hartlepool, Sheffield Wednesday, Stockport

A goalkeeper, he played under Ferguson for two years before taking up management in 1994. Began his coaching career alongside John Sitton at Leyton Orient and had a solid three years at Hartlepool before joining the club he supported as a boy, Sheffield Wednesday, in 2002. He was relegated with them, then Stockport the following year. Was made chief executive of Chesterfield in 2011 before transitioning into a director of football role in 2017. Was later made redundant and is now not in football. 

15. David Healy 

Managed: Linfield 

Played just the one game for Ferguson's United, but is three-and-a-half years into a managerial stint with Belfast side Linfield, where he won a domestic treble in 2016-17. 

14. Michael Appleton 

Managed: Portsmouth, Blackpool, Blackburn, Oxford United, Leicester City

Played twice for United under Ferguson before joining Preston. Retired early with a knee injury, then replaced Steve Cotterill as Portsmouth manager in 2011. Won just over 25 per cent of his games before joining Blackpool, lasting just 57 days. Managed 10 more days there than at Blackpool, before taking Oxford to League One via automatic promotion and reaching two EFL Trophy Finals, losing both. Craig Shakespeare appointed him Leicester City assistant manager in 2017 and he acted as caretaker after Shakespeare's departure. Appleton left Leicester after Claude Puel's appointment. 

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13. Roy Keane 

Managed: Sunderland, Ipswich

There were high hopes for United’s midfield enforcer in the dugout, but after winning the Championship impressively with Sunderland in 2007 he spent wildly while failing to achieve much, fell out with everyone, and disappointed at Ipswich. Worked as Martin O'Neill's No 2 with the Republic of Ireland for five years, reaching the knockout stages of Euro 2016, but things turned sour and stale over the next campaign. Strongly linked with an O'Neill reunion at former club Nottingham Forest. 

12. Paul Ince 

Managed: Macclesfield, Milton Keynes Dons, Blackburn, Notts County, Blackpool

Served a promising apprenticeship in the lower leagues before his big break with Blackburn. Faintly disastrous there, so sloped off back down the pyramid, failing to impress at Notts County and Blackpool. Yet to work in management since.

11. Jaap Stam

Managed: Reading, PEZ Zwolle

Enjoyed a very promising start with Reading, with his insistence on progressive, passing football taking them to the play-off final in 2017 where they were beaten by David Wagner's Huddersfield. Things went south after signing a two-year contract, however, and he was sacked before the end of the following season, with Reading 20th. Now back in Holland. 

10. Henning Berg 

Managed: Lyn, Lillestrom, Blackburn, Legia Warsaw, Videton. 

Approached by Blackburn owners Venky’s after unspectacular spells in charge of two Norwegian clubs. Won just one game for Rovers and was sacked after 57 days in the job. Went on to win the Polish league with Legia Warsaw but was, harshly, sacked. Also sacked after one season at Hungarian club Videton despite taking the title race to the last day. 

9. Mark Robins 

Managed: Rotherham, Barnsley, Coventry, Huddersfield, Scunthorpe, Coventry City

He has taken charge of five clubs since retiring as a player in 2005. Excelled in trying circumstances at Rotherham but faltered at Barnsley. Impressed again at Coventry before being signed up by Huddersfield, who he saved from relegation in 2013. Lasted a little more than 15 months at Scunthorpe, but has worked wonders at Coventry - winning the Checkatrade Trophy in his first season and promotion to League One via the play-offs in his second. Coventry are in a top-half position in League One as we stand. 

8. Henrik Larsson 

Managed: Landskrona, Falkenbergs, Helsingborgs

The Celtic legend enjoyed a loan spell at United in 2007 and was managing in Sweden three years later. Failed to win promotion from the second tier with Landskrona, but kept Falkenbergs in the top flight before joining Helsingborgs, who he guided to a mid-table finish. 

7. Bryan Robson 

Managed: Middlesbrough, Bradford, West Brom, Sheffield United, Thailand

Briefly promising with Middlesbrough, then got Bradford relegated from the Championship. Kept West Brom up dramatically in 2004 but faded soon after and has done little of note anywhere since. Now back at United as a club ambassador. 

6. Darren Ferguson 

Managed: Peterborough, Preston, Doncaster

Ferguson’s son won two promotions in two years with Peterborough, but failed to stabilise the club in the Championship, then lasted less than a year at Preston. Returned to Peterborough with mixed results. Now at League One Doncaster.

5. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Managed: Molde, Cardiff, Manchester United

Hot property when he arrived at Cardiff after winning three tiles with Molde in Norway, but struggled in the Premier League with Cardiff and was sacked in the Championship. Excelled after returning to Norway with his former club, before stepping in as United interim manager following Jose Mourinho's sacking. Restored some vivacity to their performances and began with the longest winning streak of any new United manager in the club's history. There is growing noise linking Solskjaer with the job permanently. 

4. Gordon Strachan 

Managed: Coventry, Southampton, Celtic, Middlesbrough, Scotland

Achieved sensible success with Coventry at first before getting them relegated. Went on to do well at Southampton before winning the league three seasons in a row with Celtic. Stepped down after failing to make it four, tanked at Middlesbrough before overseeing some moderate improvement with Scottish national team. Strachan resigned however, after failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. 

3. Steve Bruce 

Managed: Sheffield United, Huddersfield, Wigan, Crystal Palace, Birmingham, Sunderland, Hull, Aston Villa, Sheffield Wednesday

Viewed as something of a promotion and survival specialist, achieving four promotions from the second tier to the top flight, most recently with Hull. Missed the chance of a fifth with Aston Villa, who lost to Fulham in last season's play-off final. Villa fans never really took to Bruce's drab football and rigid tactics, but he has another crack at the Championship with Sheffield Wednesday. A fine management career, but one suspects his best days lie in the past. 

<span>Steve Bruce will resume work in the Championship with Sheffield Wednesday</span> <span>Credit: PA </span>
Steve Bruce will resume work in the Championship with Sheffield Wednesday Credit: PA

2. Mark Hughes 

Managed: Wales, Blackburn, Manchester City, Fulham, QPR, Stoke

Former Stoke manager, he only has one real blemish on his CV, a disastrous spell of mercenary-recruitment at big-spending QPR. Even there he kept the club up against the odds in 2011/12. Has worked well with limited resources at Wales, Blackburn and Fulham. Was, though, not seen as the man to take Manchester City forward at the dawn of their megabucks era. Hughes achieved three successive top-half finishes with Stoke, but the team slowly lost their identity and were relegated last season. Stoke sacked Hughes too late to avoid their fate. 

1. Laurent Blanc 

Managed: Bordeaux, France, Paris Saint-Germain

By dint of the size of his jobs and trophies won (three French league titles, one French Cup and three League Cups) Blanc is comfortably on top of the pile of the players Ferguson coached at United who have gone on to manage themselves. Won the league with Bordeaux and has done well with PSG. Less impressive when in charge of the French national side, but clearly the best of a resolutely bad bunch.

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