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Football’s most disastrous managerial reigns

Former Spain coach Julen Lopetegui was sacked by Real Madrid over two weeks ago after just four months on the job and earned his place amongst some of the game’s biggest failures on the bench. Here are the others

Julen Lopetegui (Real Madrid)

With the benefit of hindsight, Lopetegui must be thinking that Madrid’s overtures in the middle of Spain’s World Cup preparations should have been answered with a polite ‘no’. A positive start to life at the Bernabeu quickly turned sour, with three defeats in four La Liga matches. There was to be no miracle in the Clasico as Madrid were destroyed 5-1 by Barcelona. After just 10 games of this season’s Liga, four defeats and with Madrid sitting a pathetic ninth in the table, the former Spain coach was sacked on October 29.

David Moyes (Man United)

David Moyes’ predecessor at Manchester United held the job for no less than 27 years. The former Everton man failed to keep his post for 11 months. Moyes had been marked as the natural heir to compatriot Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford, but a catastrophic start to the 2013-14 season saw pressure mount on the Scot even before September. Results refused to improve, with United rooted in a disappointing seventh place for the most of the campaign and the final straw came in April, when Moyes was downed 2-0 by Everton.

Gary Neville (Valencia)

With no previous coaching experience at the top level and not even the most remedial Spanish to use in the dressing room, it was a huge gamble for Valencia when Neville was hired on December 2016. Neville’s performance in the Valencia hotseat did nothing to contradict the naysayers. A 2-0 Champions League defeat at the hands of Lyon in his coaching debut set the tone for a short, unhappy stint which included a run of eight games without a win in La Liga. He was sacked on March 30, 2016 after just four months.

Rafa Benitez (Real Madrid)

Despite winning 17 and losing just three of the 25 games he disputed as Madrid’s boss, the dour Benitez never won the affections of fans or the club’s notoriously demanding president, Florentino Perez. A 4-0 Clasico defeat at the hands of Barcelona early in the season and a farcical elimination from the Copa del Rey due to the selection of an ineligible player caused early optimism to evaporate and Benitez was finally shown the door in January 2016, making way for Zinedine Zidane.

Alan Shearer (Newcastle)

As the likes of Diego Maradona and Lothar Matthaus have proved, being a great footballer does not necessarily guarantee success on the bench. Shearer’s sole managerial role came in April 2009, when he was appointed at St James’ Park in the hope that a club legend would help steer them away from relegation. Things did not quite work out that way as they picked up only five points in eight games, a run that guaranteed a drop to the Championship.

Hristo Stoichkov (Bulgaria)

Another phenomenal talent on the pitch whose abilities did not pass over into coaching. Stoichkov also found that his famous temper might have helped him score goals, but it won him few friends during an awful spell at the head of his national team. Bulgaria failed to qualify for either the 2006 World Cup nor Euro 2008 under the ex-Barcelona idol’s fractious three-year tenure.

Andre Villas-Boas (Chelsea)

Chelsea splashed out a reported £13.3 million with the hope that the Portuguese would repeat the success of compatriot and predecessor Jose Mourinho at Stamford Bridge. Unfortunately for club and manager, lightning does not strike twice in the same place. A string of defeats and curious team selections saw the pressure mount on the 31-year-old’s shoulders, as Chelsea dropped out of the top four and faced elimination from the Champions League thanks to a 3-1 reverse at the hands of Napoli.

John Barnes (Celtic)

Barnes got his break on the bench in June 1999, working under director of football Kenny Dalglish in what had been touted as a ‘dream team’ for Scottish giants Celtic. That dream, however, soon turned into a living nightmare for the Bhoys. The former Liverpool and England star lasted just over eight months in the hotseat, and was sacked with Celtic trailing Rangers by 10 points.

Ciro Ferrara (Juventus)

Ciro Ferrara’s short-lived tenure in particular was a low point for the Old Lady. A favourite at the Delle Alpi as a player, Ferrara oversaw an ambitious attempt to knock dominant Inter off their perch, with stars like Fabio Cannavaro, Diego and Felipe Melo joining the club. But the team failed to click on the pitch, falling down the table and exiting the Champions League group stage with a pitiful 4-1 defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich.

Steve McClaren (England)

The Wally with a Brolly. Steve McClaren’s time in the England job has gone down in national folklore as one of the worst managerial tenures ever, encapsulated by the famous image of the boss sheltering under an oversized umbrella as his team crashed and burned. McClaren took over in 2006 after previously serving as assistant, and had also impressed during a five-year spell with Middlesbrough. But life with England proved rather more difficult and failure to qualify for Euro 2008 was the end.

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