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The shortest managerial reigns in English football history


Who would be a football manager, eh?

Sitting in the leadership seat means constant pressure and if you don’t get results you may find yourself quickly kicked out. England have a particular penchant for firing managers before they get their feet under the desk, but even by such admirable standards, the entries on this quick-start list are pretty incredible.

Without delay, 90 mins dug into some of the shortest managerial reigns in English football history and took the proper course of action – ranking them. Let’s dive into …

Tony pulis
I hope he kept the receipt for his cap and full tracksuit… | Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA / Getty Images

Sheffield Wednesday has been far from a stronghold of stability lately, but sacking Tony Pulis after just 45 days has still been a shock.

However, with just one win in their first 10 games, you can hardly blame them for pulling the trigger.

Watching a Pulis team that isn’t even capable of delivering results is about as depressing as the next football can be.

The story of Brian Clough’s disastrous 44-day stint at the helm of Leeds is legendary. So legendary in fact that it spawned an award-winning, partly fictional biopic and spin off of the film.

Clough joined defending champion Leeds after their legendary manager Don Revie was offered the England job.

This decision shocked the world, because in the past he had made no secret of his disdain for the dirty tactics of Revie and the Whites. After alienating the club’s senior players, he was sacked and headed straight to Yorkshire Television studios for a heated debate on air with his former rival.

Alex McLeish
It turns out this boost turned out to be somewhat optimistic | Laurence Griffiths / Getty Images

Nottingham Forest has gone through managers like Henry VIII through wives since the early 2010s.

Alex McLeish was one of the Trees’ shorter managerial adventures, spanning just 40 days during the 2012/2013 season. He won only one of his seven games in charge, losing four before leaving by “mutual consent”.

McLeish had the last laugh, securing a cameo role in Stan and Ollie, the 2018 hit biopic retracing the life of double-act comedy Laurel and Hardy.

The Reeds
The Image You See When You Search Dictionary ‘Premier League Manager Under Siege’ | Bryn Lennon / Getty Images

Although he had no gaming or management experience, Les Reed was inexplicably assigned the Charlton job when Iain Dowie was sacked in November 2006.

During a six-week period at the helm, the Addicks managed to win once and were even knocked out of the League Cup by League Two Wycombe Wanderers.

Premier League wrestlers soon grew tired of Reed, replacing him with passionate dance dad Alan Pardew on Christmas Eve. The timing was difficult but the decision was justified.

Steve Coppell, City Manager
The smiles did not last | Ross Kinnaird / Getty Images

Between his four, yes four, stints as Crystal Palace manager Steve Coppell had a brief stint at the head of Manchester City.

After only 33 days in the hot seat, he resigned, revealing that the intense pressure had grown too much.

“I’m not ashamed to admit that I suffered for a while from a huge pressure that I put on myself, and since my appointment it has completely upset me to the point that I can’t exercise. my job as I would like, ”he said at the time (via the BBC).

Paul Scholes
Scholes did not last long as a manager | Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA / Getty Images

Oldham Athletic fan, many people supported Paul Scholes when he took over.

Like many of his 92 ‘class teammates, his managerial exploits turned out to be quite disappointing.

He was only in charge for seven games, winning one, before stepping down citing broken promises by the board. Too bad.

Paul Hart
Hart in one of his only games in charge | Ian Walton / Getty Images

Appointed QPR manager in December 2009, Paul Hart only signed an agreement until the end of the season.

He couldn’t even last that long, leaving Loftus Road after just 28 days in charge. Hart was only in the dugout for five games and three of them were against Sheffield United.

He first steered his side to a 1-1 draw against Blades in the league, before negotiating an FA Cup draw and playing again. Maybe he was bored of facing Kevin Blackwell?

Oscar Garcia
Garcia is one of many managers to take over Watford lately | Justin Setterfield / Getty Images

Oscar Garcia lived through a few turbulent months in 2014.

It all started in May, when he resigned his job as Brighton boss after losing to Derby in the Championship qualifying semi-finals. Then he accepted a job at Maccabi Tel Aviv, only to leave a few weeks later due to rising political tensions in the Middle East.

Finally, he took over at Watford in September, which only lasted 27 days before he had to leave due to health concerns. Since that fear he has recovered well, moving on to four other teams across Europe.

Micky Adams, Garry Monk
In 2015, Adams returned to the scene of his shortest stint as manager while leading Tranmere in the FA Cup | Alex Livesey / Getty Images

Four months after signing a five-year contract, Micky Adams was sacked by Fulham.

Not to be discouraged, he soon agreed to take over from Swansea City’s Division Three.

He won’t last long – 13 days to be precise – claiming that the money he was promised to strengthen his team never materialized.

Shrewsbury Town vs. Swindon Town - Sky Bet League One
Martin Ling is currently director of football for Leyton Orient | Catherine Ivill – AMA / Getty Images

After Gary Brabin left Cambridge United following a disagreement with president George Rolls, Martin Ling was recruited to replace him.

Ling would also be tired of working with Rolls soon after, spending just nine days in his new job before stepping down.

Eight days later he hired us back in one of the great non-league twists of all time. Ling would spend a season and a half at the abbey before leaving – this time against his will.

One of the rare photos of McKinlay in the managerial seat
One of the rare photos of McKinlay in the managerial spot | Bryn Lennon / Getty Images

Do you remember number nine on our list, Oscar Garcia?

Well, after he left Watford, Billy McKinlay was brought in to replace him – and ended up lasting even less time.

Worse yet, McKinlay gave up his post as Northern Ireland assistant to take the reins, before being sacked by the Pozzos after eight days at the helm.

In order to salt the injuries further, his replacement, Slavisa Jovanovic, went on to get a promotion.

Jack crompton
Crompton is a Manchester United legend | Standard Evening / Getty Images

After helping rebuild Manchester United – a club with which he had enjoyed a tremendous career as a goalkeeper as a player – as a coach after the Munich air disaster in 1958, Jack Crompton took over at Luton Town .

Crompton had previously been a first team coach at Kenilworth Road, but only lasted eight days in the top post after being asked to leave by his medics due to a stomach ulcer.


Swansea City v Everton - Premier League
Cullis Remembered As Worst Manager In Swansea History | Athena Pictures / Getty Images

Before taking over at Swansea City, Kevin Cullis’ only other previous job was as Cradley Town’s under-16 coach outside the league.

The only reason he got the role was his connection to Swans’ potential new chairman Michael Thompson, and when their takeover failed, he was out.

It really pleased the players who later admitted they found the whole situation to be ridiculous. What is Cullis doing now? Not much to the appearance of it, although he did find the time to land two fraud convictions in as many years in the early 2000s.

Dave bassett
Bassett would eventually have an extended tenure as Palace head between 1996 and 1997 | Stu Forster / Getty Images

After a few eventful years at the helm of Wimbledon – which included three promotions and one relegation – Dave Bassett accepted an offer to join rivals Crystal Palace.

However, just 72 hours later, he changed his mind.

In scenes resembling a sickly romantic comedy, Bassett returned home, stating that he had unfinished business.

Bill Lambton
Lambton scored one minute in Scunthorpe United history | Fox Photos / Getty Images

After being sacked by Leeds United – despite the arrival of future captain Billy Bremner at the club – Bill Lambton has been shaken at Scunthorpe United.

Barely three days into his tenure he decided to take on a coaching role elsewhere, with Frank Soo taking over shortly after.

Leroy Rosenior
Rosenior has already had a successful stay in Torquay | Stu Forster / Getty Images

Leroy Rosenior lasted just 10 minutes in his second stint as Torquay manager, before a takeover resulted in his dismissal. Well that’s how the story normally go anyway …

In an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live in 2017, Rosenior explained how a little more complex the situation is than that.

First, he never signed a contract and was not paid by Torquay. He simply came to stabilize the ship in favor of his friend and president Mike Bateson, while the takeover took place.

10 minutes after being unveiled as manager, Rosenior received a call from Bateson, saying the deal had been done and his services would no longer be needed. However, he wouldn’t officially empty his office until a few days later.

Still, it’s a pretty good story, isn’t it?