Rafa Benitez and the 10 Most Unpopular Managers of All Time

Ryan Bailey@ryanjaybaileyFeatured ColumnistMarch 12, 2013

Rafa Benitez and the 10 Most Unpopular Managers of All Time

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    Since his appointment as interim Chelsea manager, Rafa Benitez has incurred the wrath of The Blues' faithful, based mainly upon some disparaging remarks he made about the club while at Liverpool.

    His double substitution of Eden Hazard and John Obi Mikel for Frank Lampard and Victor Moses at Old Trafford on Sunday was met with jeers of "you don't know what you're doing" by traveling fans, even though the subs had a huge impact in the closing stages of the game.

    Chelsea's dislike of Benitez may seem irrational from an impartial perspective, but the Spaniard isn't the first coach to incur the wrath of his own fans—and players.

    Based on hatred from within their own organisation, and not rival teams, here are B/R's 10 most unpopular managers of all time...

Raymond Domenech

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    Raymond Domenech may have guided France to the 2006 World Cup Final, but Les Bleus' longest serving manager was hated by players and fans alike.

    After failing to get Les Bleus past the group stage at Euro 2008, Domenech proposed to his girlfriend live on TV. It was cringe-worthy and she said no.

    After failing to progress past the group at the 2010 World Cup—and overseeing a humiliating revolt within the squad that was nothing short of scandalous, Domenech was relieved of his duties and hasn't worked in the game since.

Harry Redknapp

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    Harry Redknapp may be known as a great escape artist—hence his current appointment at rock-bottom QPR—but he has relegated two teams: Bournemouth and Southampton.

    The latter expressed seething hate when he was appointed in 2005, mainly because he had come straight from fierce rivals Portsmouth.

    The hate only intensified when he failed to keep the Saints up in 2004-05, before eventually rejoining Portsmouth. His welcome at St Mary's Stadium for QPR's recent visit was less than ceremonious. 

George Graham

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    Tottenham have had several hated coaches in the Premier League (Christian Gross, anyone?) but few Lilywhites fans remember the reign of George Graham fondly.

    The Scot had spent the majority of his playing and managerial career with Arsenal, so he was less popular than indigestion in an elevator when given the Spurs role in 1998.

    Despite guiding Tottenham to a League Cup victory—their first silverware in eight seasons—Graham lasted only five months. He was controversially sacked for a mysterious "breach of contract."

Egil Olsen

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    With his Christmas tree formations, wellington boots and overt Marxism, Norway manager Egil Olsen is revered in his home country.

    In England, however, "Drillo" is despised for ending Wimbledon's 13-year fairytale in the top flight in 1999-2000 with his obtuse tactics.

    It was the start of an unpleasant road for the London club that eventually saw them wiped off the map and replaced with English football's least-respected outfit, MK Dons.

Hristo Stoichkov

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    Popular at Barcelona and the Golden Boot winner at the 1994 World Cup, Hristo Stoichkov's reputation in Spain took a dive when he took charge of Celta Vigo in 2007.

    The bad-tempered Bulgarian was heavily criticised for his stint managing his home nation, and came to Galicia having been quoted saying "I don't believe in tactics."

    That statement became quite clear when he guided the team towards the depths of the Spanish second division.

Steve Evans

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    Generally viewed as ungracious and unsavory by fans of lower-league English football, Steve Evans' reputation took a blow at Boston United when he was successfully convicted of tax evasion, and suspended from the game for 20 months after a 2002 FA inquiry found him guilty of "contract irregularities" with player salary details.

    When Boston were relegated from the Football League in his second stint at the club, he vowed to bring back their league status. He quit a few weeks later.

Steve Kean

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    Few men have been less popular in Lancashire than former Blackburn manager Steve Kean.

    Loathed from the outset at Ewood Park, Kean spent 21 months reading "Kean Out" banners (which were replaced by a plane flying a banner when protests at the stadium were banned) and he even needed a bodyguard.

    After easing Blackburn into the Championship, Kean claimed he was "forced" to resign in September.

Jim Fallon

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    Jim Fallon probably isn't welcome at Dumbarton FC's Bet Butler Stadium after his disastrous two-season spell that began in 1995.

    Dumbarton won their first two matches of the 1995-96 season but ended up earning more points in those opening games than the rest of the entire season. To make it worse, Fallon was appointed just before their third game!

    He lost 39 of 46 games in charge, leading the Scottish side to two successive relegations. He hasn't managed since.

John Toshack

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    Former Liverpool striker John Toshack has a lengthy managerial resume that includes Swansea, Real Madrid and Besiktas. However, the Welshman is unpopular in his home country for two spells in charge of the national team.

    The first spell in 1994 lasted just 41 days and one match, a defeat to Norway that did nothing for his popularity.

    His six-year reign as Wales manager from 2004 reaped few highlights, and he faced heavy criticism for a dismal run of defeats in their 2010 World Cup Qualification campaign.

    He resigned in 2010 and now manages a team in the Azerbaijan Premier League.

David Platt

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    David Platt was such a hit playing at Sampdoria that he was invited to manage the team in 1998 in a lucrative deal. The appointment enraged Azeglio Vicini, president of the Italian Coaches' Association, who said "he's not even qualified to coach the reserve side."

    Vicini wasn't exaggerating: the current Manchester City coach had so few qualifications he wasn't even allowed to sit on the bench according to Italian regulations.

    He resigned after six games, shortly before Sampdoria were relegated. 

    Platt is also hated at his next club Nottingham Forest, where he spent £12 million on failed signings, alienated popular players and triggered a debt-ridden decline at the club in the 2000s.