With an average tenure of just 1.6 years in charge of a club, managers are under more pressure than ever, but which managers took the most stick?
Football is a fickle game, and its fans are, too. One day, a manager is the best thing since sliced bread; the next, they are on the rubbish pile with the rest of the unemployed.
The most recent case is the Spanish Champions League winner Rafael Benitez. After six years at Liverpool, Benitez had a six-month spell at Internazionale. But since then, he’s been unemployed; creating his own website, an expensive app for iPads and appearing on television shows as a pundit. Until November 2012, when he replaced Roberto Di Matteo at Chelsea where he is not the most revered of characters. To put it simply: the fans hate him.
During his time in charge of Liverpool, he said many things to upset the Chelsea fans, mainly about their lack of support for the team. So when he was given the job of replacing the man who won the club’s one and only European Cup, there was outrage. Banners galore at Stamford Bridge; vile chants and loud boos chorus Benitez at every home game. Luckily for everyone involved, he is only in charge on a temporary basis until the summer when Roman Abramovich will hire another manager.
Next up on the list is Steve Kean, whose only managerial job was at Blackburn Rovers. In December 2010, Kean was given the job as caretaker manager at Ewood Park after the unusual sacking of Sam Allardyce. Soon after, he was given the job full-time to prove his managerial skills. Oh, how badly it turned out to be. Under Allardyce Blackburn were safe from relegation, but not troubling mid-table. It was okay. Then everything was flipped on its head when Kean was appointed. The club plummeted down the league table, surviving relegation by the skin of their teeth. The fans were livid, displaying their anger at every match - home and away. Banners and chants of ‘Kean out’ were the main theme. It was chaos, and it got the media in support of Kean. They felt the abuse was unfair.
However, their Premier League stay was not to last much longer as they were sent crashing down to the Championship the following summer - with Steve Kean still in charge (and with a new, improved contract).
In the second tier of English football, Blackburn fans had become tired of protesting every week against the board and the manager so didn’t turn up to the games too often. Rovers were doing well - it looked like Kean had cracked it. But then he was fired by Blackburn’s strange owners and has been unemployed since.
Sam Allardyce had a troubled spell at Newcastle United from May 2007 to January 2008. There were high hopes for him in the North East after a successful eight years with Bolton Wanderers. Allardyce started well at Newcastle, signing some decent players in Joey Barton, Jose Enrique and Mark Viduka, and had a good run of results early in the Premier League season. Things were looking up until the poor form kicked in and results steadily got worse. The fans started to turn on Allardyce but there was no way back when they lost to bottom of the table, Derby County, in December (Derby went on the pick up the lowest points tally in Premier League history).
There were no banners like Kean and Benitez, but there were chants of ‘You don’t know what you’re doing’. He left the club by mutual consent in January.
Steve McClaren spent five years at Middlesbrough, taking charge of 250 games, winning their first ever trophy - the League Cup - and taking them to the UEFA Cup Final. All this led to his appointment as England manager in 2006, replacing Sven-Goran Eriksson. The fans headed straight to radio phone-ins and internet forums to display their anger at the appointment. McClaren was labeled ‘Second Choice Steve’ as the Brazilian Luiz Felipe Scolari had already turned down the job offer, so the Football Association turned to McClaren as their second choice.
His reign started well with three straight victories but performances and results soon turned sour. From October 2006 to March 2007, England managed to score only one goal in five matches. In a relatively easy European Championship qualifying group to advance from, McClaren was making hard work of it. England sat in fourth at one point with qualification out of their hands. The boo boys were out in force every time McClaren stepped out onto the sidelines as it seemed certain that England would not qualify.
A defeat at Wembley to Croatia in the final group game sealed McClaren’s fate as England failed to qualify for a major tournament for the first time in 14 years. He was sacked the following day and has since been labeled the ‘Wally with the Brolly’ by the national press as he stood and watched the defeat to Croatia holding an umbrella aloft.
Finally, we have the current England manager, Roy Hodgson. After managing across the globe and taking control of 16 teams throughout his managerial career, Hodgson was tasked with the job of replacing Rafael Benitez at Liverpool in the summer of 2010. He was not the favoured the appointment amongst fans, but they were still patient and gave him time to imprint his system and ideas on the team.
Unfortunately for Hodgson, his Liverpool career never looked right at all. From day one, it went wrong. A poor pre-season led to a terrible start to the Premier League season that saw Liverpool meandering in the relegation places. Things picked up as the club moved to 12th but the fans had had enough. His peculiar comments before and after every match angered the fans - he claimed a terrible 2-0 defeat at Goodison to Everton was their ‘best performance of the season’.
His reign came to an end when he lost 3-2 at Ewood Park to Steve Kean’s Blackburn Rovers.
For each of these five men, their jobs were never going to work. Rarely do managers leave on glowing terms but none left with such anger and resentment towards them than this group of managers. Let’s hope they can find some love and adoration in their next jobs.
Rafael Benitez - abuse rating 10
Benitez and Chelsea was a match made in hell. He was never going to be admired by the Blues faithful after his time at Anfield and the comment made while there.
Steve Kean - abuse rating 9
His appointment was a strange one that was destined for failure. The fans hated him from day one and made their distaste well known.
Steve McClaren - abuse rating 8
No one wanted 'Second Choice Steve' as England manager, so it was unfortunate for him that it went badly. He really should have qualified for the Euros, though.
Roy Hodgson - abuse rating 7
He was a terrible appointment by the Liverpool board. He was given support at first by the fans but it soon turned sour. The Kop were chanting Kenn Dalglish's name several weeks before Hodgson's departure.
Sam Allardyce - abuse rating 6
In terms of abuse, Allardyce's wasn't too bad. There were no banners aimed at him specifically, just chants ridiculing his ability as manager.
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