Can’t think of anything that makes this top 10 of absolutely terrible managerial appointments particularly topical, but here they are anyway.
And the fact all their terrible, often inexplicable periods in charge were at least mercifully brief might offer some succour for those who can uncover some real-world link that we’re not mentioning for fear of being called lefty woke snowflakes again when we’re actually very right-wing.
10) Steve Wigley (Southampton)
Wildly unprepared and ill-qualified for the top job at Southampton, but he had at least done a couple of games as caretaker before becoming full-time manager after Paul Sturrock’s also dreadful short time in charge, a period marked by poor results and player disputes. Wigley did manage a win over Portsmouth, which is something. But it was, alas, his only Premier League win in a 14-match reign from August to December, a 3-0 defeat to Manchester United proving the final straw.
9) Pepe Mel (West Brom)
We’re including the Spaniard here in the desperate hope that the country might be as outrageously fortunate as he was. Somehow managed to avoid relegation with West Brom in 2014 despite winning just three of his 17 games in charge. The Baggies survived despite winning just seven games all season and even that outrageous pulling of a Homer was not enough to fool anyone. The end of the season also signalled the end of Mel.
8) Felix Magath (Fulham)
Two Bundesliga titles at Bayern Munich are swiftly forgotten when you start trying to cure Brede Hangeland’s knee knack with cheese curd. His six months at Fulham were pockmarked by such, ahem, unconventional methods and widespread confusion. And above all, defeats. Lots of them, including six in seven Championship games after his February appointment failed to keep Fulham in the top flight.
7) Remi Garde (Aston Villa)
Things started badly for Garde at Villa with just two wins in his first 14 Premier League games. Unfortunately for everyone concerned, this turned out to be a dizzying high point as things contrived to go dramatically downhill from there. Lost six in a row before finally getting the boot, with an aggregate score from those six of 18-2.
6) Egil Olsen (Wimbledon)
A hugely successful and respected coach who had achieved great things with the Norway national team before being appointed manager of Wimbledon, where his authority was immediately undermined by wearing wellies on the touchline. Also some questionable tactics and falling out with players, but mainly the wellies. Ended his one season in England with eight straight defeats and relegation.
5) Jan Siewert (Huddersfield)
Took over an already sinking ship and managed to make things even worse. There are no parallels with anything else here, so don’t be going off trying to find them. Did manage a 1-0 victory over Wolves, but that win came in a 13-game run that alas included 12 defeats. Siewert’s Huddersfield did end the season with a couple of 1-1 draws and Siewert limped on into the following season in the Championship before a draw and two defeats in the first three games confirmed enough was enough.
4) Jacques Santini (Tottenham)
Could put any number of Spurs managers here, frankly, but Juande Ramos did at least win a trophy without which we’d currently have to talk about a 23-year drought and Christian Gross hung around a surprisingly long time. Neither of these roadblocks apply to Santini who combined a glowing reputation with startling incompetence. A deceptively impressive start, at least in terms of results, soon gave way to inevitable defeats before he finally got the push in November and we’ve just realised Nuno Espirito Santo could also have gone on this list. Santini’s Spurs were actually unbeaten after six games, but that run included tame draws at West Brom and at home to Norwich. A run of four straight defeats to Portsmouth, Bolton, Fulham and Charlton was enough to bring the whole sorry experiment to an end as Spurs realised that the actual boss they needed was Santini’s affable assistant Martin Jol.
3) Bob Bradley (Swansea)
Managed to live down to every ludicrous and unfair English stereotype of American SOCCER!!! types and did vast amounts of damage that Jesse Marsch is currently battling valiantly if surely forlornly to repair. English football has long since accepted Americans can make damn fine goalkeepers, but there remains deep reluctance to accept any further ingress into the beautiful game from the States and Bradley did nothing to help that in a confused and confusing reign at Swansea that brought just two wins in 11 games and ended with a Boxing Day battering off West Ham.
2) Les Reed (Charlton)
Still the watchword for baffling and disastrous Premier League appointments. Although his CV included coaching roles at the FA and with England, he had never been a manager at any serious level of football and his promotion from Iain Dowie’s backroom staff after Dowie’s sacking was an act of madness. Reed lasted just seven games before being replaced by Alan Pardew, a record low number of games that would stand until the man top of this list came along. Reed did manage to win one of his seven games in charge and draw with Everton, but the other five league games ended in defeat – including successive spanglings at the hands of Spurs and Liverpool. Most egregiously, Reed’s Charlton lost a League Cup quarter-final to Wycombe. Never managed at the highest level again but did carve out a lucrative consulting career. Again, don’t be looking for any parallels please.
1) Frank De Boer (Crystal Palace)
Described by Jose Mourinho as “the worst manager in the history of the Premier League” and by any reasonable measure it’s hard on this occasion to argue with the great miserable sod. De Boer arrived at Palace determined to instil a new possession-based approach and revolutionise the whole philosophy of the club. He was binned off after losing all four of his Premier League games without scoring a goal. It’s a proud record of incompetence that will take a huge amount of beating.
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