When footballers retire, they come to a crossroads: leave the game behind, go into management or try and attempt to be the next Alan Hansen on Match of the Day. Numerous great players have attempted careers in management, some have succeeded (think Pep Guardiola, Johan Cruyff, Carlo Ancelotti and Fabio Capello), whereas others have tried and failed… miserably. Here are the top ten great players, in no particular order, who have failed in the managerial hot-seat.
As a player: Was an Arsenal legend, spending 22 years at the club and was part of the infamous back four that also included Lee Dixon, Nigel Winterburn and Steve Bould/Martin Keown. Battled alcohol demons throughout his career but won a host of trophies, including four league titles and three FA Cups at Arsenal, and played for England 66 times.
As a manager: Transformed Wycombe Wanderers from promotion candidates to relegation in just one season at the club. Had some success at Portsmouth as Harry Redknapp’s no.2, but when ‘Arry left for Spurs, Adams took over the reigns at Fratton Park. He lasted four months as manager for Pompey, only getting 10 points from 16 games whilst in charge.
As a player: A highly decorated and dominating defender, Ferrara won seven Serie A titles in a career with Napoli and Juventus. Capped 49 times by Italy, Ferrara was part of an era of great Italian defenders, which includes Paolo Maldini, Franco Baresi, Alessandro Costacurta and Pietro Vierchowod.
As a manager: Appointed as manager of Juventus last summer, Ferrara started off well, winning his first four games in charge for the Bianconeri. But after elimination in the group stages of the Champions League and woeful league form that left Juventus in sixth place in Serie A, Ciro was sacked last month and replaced by Alberto Zaccheroni.
As a player: Blessed with incredible strength, speed and technical ability, Gullit epitomised “Total Football”, with the ability to play in numerous positions. The Dutchman played for Feyenoord, AC Milan, Sampdoria and Chelsea in a career where he won three Serie A titles and 2 Champions League medals, amongst others.
As a manager: Gullit had a successful start as Chelsea manager, becoming the first non-British manager to win the FA Cup in 1997 and finishing sixth in the Premiership in his first season in charge. After being sacked by Chelsea, Gullit went to Newcastle, where his reign saw a fall-out with fan favourites Alan Shearer and Rob Lee. Unsuccessful at Newcastle, Gullit has also had forgettable spells in charge of Feyenoord and LA Galaxy.
As a player: One of the greatest strikers in the history of the game, Van Basten was a goalscoring machine for both Ajax and AC Milan. Blessed with excellent strength on the balll, great tactical awareness and known for his spectacular volleys, the Dutchman scored 277 goals in his career, before injuries forced him to retire from football aged 28.
As a manager: His first job as manager was with the Dutch national team, where Van Basten dropped regulars like Edgar Davids, Clarence Seedorf and Patrick Kluivert. He led Holland to the last 16 at the 2006 World Cup and left just after Euro 2008. It was at Ajax that Van Basten struggled, failing to qualify for the Champions League and resigning after one season.
As a player: Arguably the greatest footballer ever. Played for the likes of Boca Juniors, Barcelona and Napoli in his illustrious career. Maradona will be forever remembered for the Hand of God against England in Mexico 1986, but his second goal in that game will go down as one of the best in history.
As a manager: Has had a short managerial career in charge of the Argentinean national team, and if they perform well at the World Cup in June, it is likely that Maradona will not remain on this list. But the qualification campaign where Argentina only scraped through by the skin of their teeth means, for now, Maradona has a place here.
As a player: A defender that played for Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and Middlesbrough in his career, Southgate is best known for that penalty miss at Euro 1996 that broke the hearts of a nation.
As a manager: Southgate is on this list because he managed to get Middlesbrough relegated from the Premiership for the first time in 11 seasons. Sacked as Boro boss last October and replaced by Gordon Strachan, Southgate is yet to be given another attempt at management.
As a player: Starred for Liverpool and Watford in his career, as well as earning 79 caps for England. The winger was part of a Liverpool team that consisted of Ian Rush, Peter Beardsley and John Aldridge, at a time when Liverpool dominated the league.
As a manager: Barnes has worked with Kenny Dalglish at Celtic, and was sacked after a shock loss to Inverness in the Scottish Cup. A dreadful spell at Tranmere Rovers followed, where Barnes only won 2 games out of a possible 11 and was sacked after just five months in charge. Maybe you should stick to rapping John…
As a player: Extremely talented, Gazza played for the likes of Newcastle, Spurs, Lazio, and Rangers in his career. Although injuries and alcohol abuse meant that Gascoigne never became the world-beater he could have been.
As a manager: Catastrophic would be an adequate word to describe Gazza’s managerial career. He became manager of Kettering in 2005, but only lasted 39 days, amid claims that he was drunk every day he was at the club. Someone should tell Gazza that being sober is a good idea when you are managing a football club.
As a player: Blessed with extraordinary skills but an even bigger temper, Stoichkov was a cult hero at Barcelona as a member of Johan Cruyff’s “Dream Team”.
As a manager: The Bulgarian took his short fuse with him to the dugout in a spell in charge of the Bulgarian national team in 2004. Failing to get on with some players, as well as being sent off for insulting the referee, Stoichkov resigned in 2007 after poor results and constant questioning of his abilities as a coach. An ill-fated spell in Spain with Celta Vigo followed, and the former Barcelona great now is in charge of South African club Mamelodi Sundowns.
As a player: “Captain Marvel” spent most of his career at Manchester United and was one of the players that wore the famous number 7 shirt at United, following in the footsteps of George Best, and followed by Eric Cantona and David Beckham to wear that number for the club. Constantly injury-prone, Robson left United just as they entered their period of dominance in the Premiership, leaving the club to join Middlesbrough in 1994..
As a manager: Robson was relatively successful at Middlesbrough, amassing a side that consisted of Juninho, Emerson and Fabrizio Ravanelli at the Riverside. He failed to win any silverware at the club and never finished higher than ninth place in the league. Robson then relegated Bradford City and saved and then relegated West Brom in successive seasons. A recent spell at Sheffield United also proved to be unsuccessful and Robson is now in charge of the Thailand national team.
What do you think? Is there anyone else that deserves a place on this list?
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