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48 times football managers made you question their sanity

Kevin Keegan (left) gets to grips with Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson. 1996 - Credit: PA WIRE

In the wake of the Sam Allardyce scandal, we take a look back at 48 moments of football manager madness

1) Christoph Daum – Germany (almost) 2000. Daum was tipped to become manager of the German national team – until press reports he had engaged in cocaine-fuelled 48 times football managers made you question their sanity orgies surfaced. He offered up hair samples to prove his innocence but they instead proved he was a drug user.

2) Sorin Cartu – CFR Cluj, Romania, 2010. With his team losing in the Champions League, Cartu lost his temper and began attacking the dug-out, shattering the Perspex. After he was restrained the club dismissed him.

3) Leroy Rosenoir – Torquay, 2007. Appointed in the midst of a take over bid, the journeyman striker was sacked by his new bosses after just 10 minutes in the hotseat.

4) Tommy Docherty – Manchester United, 1973-77. The Doc’s reign at Old Trafford ended after an affair with the physiotherapist’s wife, Mary Brown, was made public. His wife left him, but 40 years later he is still with Mary.

5) Franck Sauzée – Hibernian, 2001-02.When the Hibs midfield legend hung up his boots to take charge he joked: ‘I may be the worst manager you’ve ever seen.’ One win and 69 days later he was fired.

6) Paul Hart – QPR, 2009-10. His predecessor quit after a row with a player and after just 28 days – and a another spat – Hart was given the boot as well.

7) Brian Clough – Leeds United, 1974. It should have been the perfect fit – England’s best manager and England’s best team. Shame then that both parties hated each other. It was done in 44 days.

8) Norbert Meier – MSV Duisberg, 2005. After getting into a spat with a rival player on the sideline Meier collapsed in a heap claiming he had been headbutted. The player was sent off but TV replays quickly proved the manager was acting. He was sacked and banned for three months.

9) John Toshack – Wales, 1994. In his first stint with Wales the Liverpool legend lasted just 90 minutes and a defeat to Norway. He returned a decade later and spent five years in charge.

10) David Bassett – Crystal Palace, 1984. When the manager of Wimbledon’s Crazy Gang was offered the job at rivals Palace fans in south London were surprised. But that turned to shock 72 hours later when he quit and went back to SW19. ‘It just didn’t feel right,’ he said. .

11) Claude Anelka – Raith Rovers, 2004. Being his brother Nicolas’ agent was not enough for Claude – he wanted to be the boss. He offered £300,000 to Rovers to appoint him and they agreed. Eight games later, with only one point, he quit.

12) Steve McClaren – FC Twente, 2007-10 and 2012-13. From zero with England, McClaren went to hero winning the Dutch title. But his time in Europe will be remembered for the outlandish Dutch accent he adopted in press conferences. He quit in 2013 (during a second stint) after criticism as the team struggled.

13) Johnny Cochrane – Reading, 1939. When successful Scottish manager Cochrane applied for the job Reading couldn’t believe their luck. But his glory days were behind him. One player recalled: ‘Just before a game this man, smoking a cigar and drinking a whisky would pop his head around the dressing room door and ask: ‘Who are we playing today?” He lasted just two weeks.

14) Hristo Stoichkov – Celta Vigo, 2007. On his appointment the Bulgarian legend declared ‘I don’t believe in tactics’ – he wasn’t kidding. His stint lasted six weeks

15) Nikolay Mitov – Botev Plovdiv, Bulgaria, 2016. During his first training session fans were far from welcoming. A mob chanted ‘you’re not welcome here’ because they believed he supported their bitter rivals. He took the hint and quit.

16) Giovanni Trapattoni – Bayern Munich, 1996-98. During a second spell with the Bundesliga giants the Italian lost his temper with his players after a poor performance shouting in broken German: ‘These players were weak like a bottle empty.’ He left soon after.

17) John Sitton – Leyton Orient, 1995. The furious manager was captured on film delivering perhaps the greatest ever half-time rant in which he offered the whole team outside for a fight. He won just one of the next fifteen games and was fired.

18) Raymond Domenech – France, 2006-10. The national manager lost the dressing room spectacularly during the World Cup in South Africa amid rows and even a player boycott. The boss – who used astrology to help him pick his team – was removed after the tournament.

19) Beppe Iachini – Palermo, 2015-16. When asked on November 2 about the club president Maurizio Zamparini publicly floating a plan to sack him he answered: ‘The president was making a joke.’ Eight days later he was sacked. But by February he was back in charge. A month later he was sacked again.

20) Malky MacKay – Crystal Palace (almost), 2014. Days away from becoming the new Palace manager, his former boss at Cardiff released text messages McKay had sent which many considered racist, sexist and homophobic. Job offer withdrawn.

21) Paolo Di Canio – Sunderland, 2013-14. The Italian took a hardline with his players when he arrived banning mobile phones, tomato ketchup, mayonnaise and ice in Coca-Cola at the training ground. The club took just one point from the first five games of the season and Di Canio was asked to leave.

22) Marcelo Bielsa – Marseille, 2014-15. Just a year into the job and after losing only the first game of the new season the Argentinian quit on Twitter claiming: ‘I have completed my work here.’

23) Martin Ling – Cambridge United, 2009. The Conference side appointed Ling after his predecessor said he could not get on with the chairman. Nine days later the new man also quit citing differences with the chairman.

24) Eddie McCreadie – Chelsea, 1977. The former fans’ favourite on the pitch quit on a point of principle after his request for a company car was rejected. The chairman later relented but the damage was done.

25) David Stride – Bashley, 2015. After a couple of pre-season defeats chairman Tim Allan let Stride go with the warm words: ‘David’s been a pleasure to deal with – I’d like to thank David for his short, brief spell with us and wish him well.’ His former manager responded: ‘It’s absolute codswallop.’

26) Glenn Hoddle – England, 1996-99. The former midfield maestro was quoted in The Times saying: ‘You and I have been physically given two hands and two legs and half-decent brains. Some people have not been born like that for a reason. The karma is working from another lifetime. What you reap, you have to sow.’ The FA terminated his contract three days later.

27) Saban Yildirim – Sakaryaspor, Turkey 2011. Perhaps the only manager to discover he had been sacked during a live TV phone-in. Board member Cihan Yildiran rang in to say: ‘Saban humiliated the club, so he is removed.’

28) Alex McLeish – Nottingham Forest, 2012-13. The former Scotland international left Forest after just five weeks in charge supposedly after a dispute with the club’s Kuwaiti owners over transfer policy.

29) Kevin Keegan – England, 2000. After losing the final game at the old Wembley Stadium to rivals Germany a distraught Keegan announced from the toilets that he simply wasn’t up to the job. Game over.

30) Joe Kinnear – Newcastle, 2008-09. Kinnear broke all press-conference records with a bile-spewing, 52-swear-word rant after a particularly bad day at the office. A few months later he steps down to undergo heart surgery.

31) Delio Rossi – Fiorentina, 2012. With his team 2-0 down Rossi substituted his striker Adem Ljaji?. Sarcastically applauding the decision the player gave an ironic thumbs up. Rossi responded by attempting to punch him. Not surprisingly he was dismissed.

32) Henning Berg – Blackburn Rovers, 2012. Having stated that ‘no real managers with credibility would accept a job like that’ before taking the role at Ewood Park, Berg lasted just 53 days.

33) Vladica Petrovic – Drina Zvornik, Bosnia, 2015. Possibly the first manager to discover he had been sacked on a Facebook post. He responded with deep sarcasm by both liking the post and replying ‘thanks for the notice’.

34) Bernard Challandes – Neuchatel Xamax, Switzerland, 2011. The Swiss coach was dismissed in just 18 days after owner Bulat Chagaev burst into the changing room at half-time and shouted: ‘I will kill you all.’ Challandes said afterwards: ‘I slept very little that night.’

35) Leo Grozavu – FC Botosani, Romania, 2015. A week after Grozavu pledged to ‘beat and kill’ his ‘cretin’ players during a heated half-time team talk the owner said: ‘I don’t have anything personal against Leo. But we can’t go on like this.’ Seven months later he was rehired.

36) John Hughes – Hibernian, 2010. On September 24 Hughes told the press: ‘You need to stand up to adversity and, in all honesty, laugh at it. Resign? Jesus Christ, we’re only six games into the season, behave yourselves.’ On October 4 he resigned.

37) Marin Barbu – Astra, Romania, 2013. Announcing his new manager, owner Ioan Niculae said of the team’s players: ‘They are shaking in their panties, and that’s the truth.’ Yet just a week after the comments, Barbu was fired.

39) Gennaro Gattuso – OFI Crete, 2014. After shouting at journalists who questioned his job ‘leave what? No, me stay here’ the former midfielder promptly quit. A day later though he changed his mind telling the same journalists: ‘I’m loved here. How can I leave?’ Within three months he had left again.

40) Gennaro Gattuso (again) – Pisa, 2016. The former AC Milan star shocked fans by resigning as Pisa manager due to ‘serious and relentless issues’. He added: ‘This decision is irrevocable.’ Days later he was back as head coach.

41) Mike Newell – Luton, 2007. After a defeat to Hull City Newell said: ‘It takes three or four years to build a reputation as a decent manager and three months to lose that reputation. But if you take the four best players out of any team it will hurt them. Someone should investigate what is going on at this club.’ He was sacked immediately.

42) Juan Carlos Ríos Vidal – Xerez CD, Spain, 2013. Asked how he would handle the pressure of their grudge-match game against Elche the manager declared confidently: ‘We will never lose our dignity.’ But during the game he had to be forcibly restrained by police after running on the pitch shouting at the referee. He was banned for five games.

43) Josip Gaspar – Precko Zagreb, Croatia, 2013. The manager was sacked for stealing a credit card from one of his players and spending £440 in a liquor store on 36 litres of Jägermeister. ‘This has hurt my image,’ he said in mitigation. ‘Yes, I did buy the Jägermeister, but I never knew the card was stolen.’

44) Les Reed – Charlton Athletic, 2006. For just 41 days Reed took charge at The Valley. They were knocked out of both cups and when he was finally sacked on Christmas Eve the team were fighting for Premier League survival.

45) Graeme Souness – Galatasaray, 1995-96. The former hard-hitting midfielder almost sparked a riot after planting his team’s flag in the centre circle of bitter rivals Fenerbahçe’s pitch. He was hailed a hero by the fans but soon returned to England taking up the manager’s role at Southampton.

46) Phil Brown – Hull City, 2006-10.

Following a poor first half performance against Manchester City, Brown conducted his half-time team talk on the pitch, in full view of the crowd. Although he battled on as manager the lasting image of his tenure would be his player sat at his feet getting told off.

47) Steve Coppell – Bristol City, 2010.

After just four months and two league games the former Manchester United ace quit. When he faced the press to explain his reasons he was brutally honest saying he had lost passion for the job.

48) Jorge Jesus – Benfica, 2009-15. Following a hard-fought league win the boss took to the pitch to fight off police officers who were attacking a pitch-invading Benfica fan. ‘I was just trying to calm things down,’ he said. Despite being one of the club’s most decorated managers, and breaking up fights, he was released last year.

Can you think of any we missed? Tweet us @TheNewEuropean

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