With Claudio Ranieri unscrupulously handed his P45 after his heroics with Leicester City, let’s take a look at some other questionable managerial dismissals.
Clough took unheralded Derby County from the old Second Division to 1971-72 First Division champions and a European Cup semi-final. But Old Big ‘Ead was shown the door by chairman Sam Longson for his outspoken views, including attacking football directors on national TV for their lack of knowledge of the game. Derby would never be the same again and Clough went on to manage arch-rivals Nottingham Forest, winning the league title, two European Cups and four League Cups.
Vicente Del Bosque
The managerial merry-go-round at Real Madrid has always been a source of ridicule, but Vicente Del Bosque’s departure from the club in 2003 caused particular shock. The Spaniard had won two La Liga titles, two Champions Leagues, a Spanish Super Cup, a UEFA Super Cup and the Intercontinental Cup, overseeing one of the most successful periods in the club’s history. But with more and more big-name players arriving, at the wishes of club president Florentino Perez rather than the manager, the decision was made not to keep Del Bosque. Los Merengues would have to wait another four years for their next domestic league title and a further 12 for another Champions League. Meanwhile, Del Bosque took up the reigns of the Spanish national team, winning two European Championships and the World Cup with a side heralded as one of the best ever.
Former physio and Geography teacher lookalike Nigel Adkins achieved back-to-back promotions with Southampton, taking them from the relegation zone in League One all the way up to the Premier League. Despite a ropey start to life back in the topflight, an unbeaten run saw the Saints make steady progress away from the drop zone. But after a credible 2-2 draw away at Chelsea in January 2013, Adkins was told to clear his desk. His successor, Mauricio Pochettino, may have been a success but for Adkins’ contribution at the club so quickly cast aside, it left a bad taste in the mouth for many fans.
It may seem a bit harsh to include a whole club on this list, but Chelsea really have been responsible for some eye-raising sackings. Three that spring to mind are Gianluca Vialli after winning five trophies in less than three years, Carlo Ancelotti one year after a League and FA Cup double, and Roberto Di Matteo six months after their first ever Champions League triumph. Clearly the Blues have a penchant for upheaval; they’ve had 12 managers in less than 14 years since owner Roman Abramovich took over the club.
After his first stint with Torquay United, Rosenior returned to the club in May 2007. But, incredibly, 10 minutes after his first press conference confirming his appointment, chairman Mike Bateson revealed he had sold the club and Rosenior was told he had no future under the new owners. The former Fulham and West Ham striker now holds the unenviable record of the shortest managerial reign in English football history. Whether Rosenior would’ve been a success is, of course, debatable. But the nature of his dismissal highlights the unforgiving world of football management.