Time is a sparse commodity for football managers these days.
Unless you deliver instant results, you’re generally hounded out of the door,
with not a second thought given to whether you were ever capable of turning the
tide back in your favour.
But perhaps any bosses feeling the heat can look to history for living proof that, if allowed to, a bad run of form doesn’t always prove terminal for the men in the dugout, as these five examples have showed:
Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United)
You’d think that Ferguson, one of the greatest and most
successful managers in the history of the game would never have had to worry
about losing his job, and certainly during his 26 years at Manchester United,
Wrong. Ferguson’s second full season in charge at Old
Trafford, 1988-89, saw the Red Devils finish in a disappointing 11th,
and the next campaign hardly started much better. Despite hefty signings
including Mike Phelan, Paul Ince and Gary Pallister, United floundered,
suffering an early-season run of six losses and two draws in eight games.
Indeed, a banner stating: “Three years of excuses and
it’s still crap … ta-ra Fergie” was unfurled at Old Trafford, with many calling
for Ferguson to lose his job. He later described December 1989 as “the
darkest period [he] ever suffered in the game”, with United ending the
decade just outside the relegation zone.
But a 1990 FA Cup final replay win over Crystal Palace is
said to have saved Ferguson’s job, and from then on, the trophies kept on
coming; this was the first of the 38 pieces of silverware he would win during
his incredible tenure at the club.
Howard Kendall (Everton)
Widely regarded as one of Everton’s greatest players (as
part of the ‘Holy Trinity’ with Alan Ball and Colin Harvey) and managers, it
wasn’t all plain sailing for Howard Kendall on Merseyside, either.
He returned to Goodison Park in May 1981, initially as
player-manager, before signing the likes of Neville Southall, Trevor Steven and
Peter Reid. Kendall oversaw decent finishes of eighth and seventh in his first
two years, but after a poor start to 1983-84, winning just six of Everton’s
first 21 league games, he was said to be on the brink of the sack with the
Blues verging close to the drop zone.
But he oversaw a remarkable turnaround thereafter, winning the
FA Cup that year thanks to a 2-0 win in the final against Watford, before
winning the league title with a 13-point margin and the European Cup Winner’s
Cup in the following campaign.
In fact, so good was the Everton team he assembled himself,
it is widely regarded as one of the greatest sides to grace the 1980s. He left
in 1987, frustrated by the European ban on English clubs after Heysel, to
manage Athletic Bilbao in Spain, but returned to Goodison in 1990. That was a
far less successful reign for Kendall, though, and he resigned three years
later after a dreadful run of form and reportedly clashing with the board.
Nigel Pearson (Leicester City)
OK, so it was only a temporary reprieve before the axe
eventually fell on him, but Nigel Pearson still presided over an incredible
change in fortunes for Leicester having been walking the managerial tightrope for
much of his Premier League campaign in charge of the Foxes.
Pearson was reportedly sacked by newly-promoted Leicester in
February 2015 after a 1-0 home defeat to Crystal Palace, during which he grabbed
the throat of opposition player James McArthur. That loss left his team bottom,
three points adrift, but the club then denied he had, in fact lost his job and
he remained in charge.
There was no immediate improvement in results; indeed, six
weeks later, a 4-3 defeat at Spurs left them seven points off safety with just
nine games to go. Leicester looked doomed for an immediate return to the
Championship, but then came a spell of title-winning form to clinch survival.
The Foxes took 22 points from the remaining 27 on offer as
Pearson spearheaded one of the most miraculous escapes from relegation in
history, but he would lose his job the following June after an incident during
a close-season trip in Thailand proved one high-profile misdemeanour on his
watch too many.
Leicester, of course, would defy the odds and win the title
under Claudio Ranieri the following year, but Pearson’s escapologists deserve
great credit for that achievement, too; indeed, many laud him for laying the
foundations for their 5000-1 triumph the season later.
Maurizio Sarri (Chelsea)
A wonderful start, an appalling middle and an ultimately
happy ending: Italian Sarri’s only season at Stamford Bridge could be split up
into these three main bulks.
After 11 games, Chelsea were right in the mix for the title;
level on points with Liverpool and only two behind leaders Manchester City, but
it was Pep Guardiola’s side who would eventually leave Sarri on the verge of
the sack the following February.
A 6-0 hammering at the Etihad Stadium, at which point
Chelsea had plummeted to sixth, proved Sarri’s nadir in a dismal mid-season
spell, with disillusioned fans growing tired of him and his dull style of play.
He looked to be the latest Chelsea manager to incur the
wrath of Roman Abramovic, but to his credit, Sarri oversaw a much-improved
final three months; Chelsea were only beaten by City in the EFL Cup final on
penalties, finished third in the league, and thrashed Arsenal 4-1 to win the
He left to return to his native Italy in June, taking over
at Juventus, but Sarri departed Chelsea with far greater credit in the bank
than it looked like he ever would on that dark day at the Etihad.
Lee Johnson (Barnsley & Bristol City)
Finally, a manager who has staved off the sack not once, but
twice already in his fledgling career as a number one; Lee Johnson answered his
credits both during his time as Barnsley boss, and then again at Bristol City.
During his time at the Tykes, Johnson presided over eight
successive League One defeats, equalling the club’s record, as well as being embarrassed
by non-league Altrincham in the FA Cup in November 2015.
But in the space of three months, Johnson took Barnsley from
22nd to 12th, and leading them to Wembley after an EFL
Trophy semi-final win over Fleetwood Town. He would leave for Bristol City in
February, with Barnsley going on to achieve a double of EFL Trophy glory and a
once-improbable promotion back to the Championship via the play-offs.
Then, in his first full season at Bristol City, a club
Johnson’s dad, Gary, led to the Championship play-off final in 2008, his team
started well, and were fifth in the second tier after 11 games. But a torrid
winter run of 13 defeats in 16 matches left many of the Ashton Gate faithful
calling for his head.
Johnson turned it around to keep them up, though, and since then, has constantly had the club on the coat-tails of the play-offs once again.
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⚽ Pratice And Enjoy - Perfect solo soccer trainer with premium quality and adjustable cord stretching up to 18 ft.Also comes with a durable tethered waistband, Enjoy praticing and improving your skills of control ball, shooting, passing, receiving, dribbling, throw-in like without chasing and pressured all around
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AMAZING COUNTING FOOTBALL: Introducing the latest innovation in football, Smart Ball Kick up Counting Football with lights and sounds This amazing counting football allows you to challenge yourself and your friends to see who can achieve more tricks Use your feet, legs, knees, chest and shoulders to keep the Smart Ball from hitting the ground and it will count each time it makes contact with you.
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[Gorgeous sports toy set]: Anpro hovering football set contains a hovering football, an inflatable football, two football goals, a special inflatable pump, a USD charging cable and four suction cups; the ball needle is in the pump Inside the back cover, it will be safer and will not hurt children. Our hovering football has passed ASTM, HR4040, CPC, EN71, MSDS certification.
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VALUABLE PACKAGE: 12 x 9"(22cm) plates, 12 x 7"(18cm) plates, 12 x cups, 24 x table napkins, 12 x invitation cards, 12 x gift bags, 30 x balloons ( green, white, black 10pcs/color ), 1 x tablecloth, 1 x GOAL football banner, 4 x foil balloons.
SAFETY & GOOD MATERIALS: All of the products are 100% food grade, non-toxic and durable. Plates, cups, napkins, banners, gift cards are made of Eco-friendly white paperboard. Gift bags, table covers are BPA free plastics. The balloons are made of foil and latex.
PERFECT SIZE: The plates are 22cm / 9 inches and 18cm / 7 inches in diameter, the cups are 250ml, the napkins are 17 x 17cm, the invitation cards are 14 x 11cm, the gift bags are 25 x 16cm, the table cover is 180 x 110cm, the foil football balloons are 45cm in diameter, the latex balloons can inflate up to 30cm.
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