The 20 Shortest Managerial Stints in World Football History

Ryan Bailey@ryanjaybaileyFeatured ColumnistApril 22, 2014

The 20 Shortest Managerial Stints in World Football History

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    In any normal profession, boasting several recent sackings on your CV would make you extraordinarily unemployable. Not so in the world of professional football management, where terminations and exits by "mutual consent" are par for the course.

    According to the League Managers' Association, more than half of all English managers have been in their job less than a year and the average tenure of a Premier League manager is 1.7 years—a figure positively skewed by the 18-season reign of Arsene Wenger.

    On Tuesday, David Moyes joined the ranks of managers who have been shown the exit door in quick time as Manchester United called time on his tenure. 

    His is certainly not the shortest stint of all time, and here are 20 of the very briefest tenures from the beautiful game... 

20. Colin Todd

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    Duration: 17 games (98 days)

    After six years at the helm of Derby County, Jim Smith resigned on 7 October 2001, leaving the Rams in the relegation zone with five points. 

    Colin Todd—who won two league titles with the club as a player in the 1970s—was given the gig, but a shock FA Cup defeat to fourth-tier Bristol Rovers in January proved to be the end of his tenure.

    John Gregory then stepped in but was unable to save Derby from the drop. 

19. Henning Berg

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    Duration: 10 games (57 days)

    Blackburn Rovers have been a bit of a mess over the past few years, an opinion recognised by former defender Henning Berg while working a pundit on Norwegian TV. "No real managers with credibility would accept a job like that," he said.

    Not long after, Berg himself accepted the ill-fated position. He lasted around eight weeks after winning just one match out of 10. He probably should have heeded his own advice.   

18. Steve Bruce

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    Duration: 8 games (55 days)

    In April 2001, Steve Bruce took on his third managerial job in as many years at Wigan. He picked up 11 points from the final eight games of the season, which was enough to secure a Second Division play-off place for the Latics.

    Soon after they were eliminated from the play-offs by Reading, however, Bruce packed his bags and headed off to Crystal Palace.

    He lasted less than three months of the 2001-02 season at Selhurst Park before heading back to Birmingham. 

17. Alan Shearer

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    Duration: 8 games (51 days)

    On 1 April 2009, it was announced that Alan Shearer would step in and take the reins at Newcastle for the final eight games of the 2008-09 season. The employment of the legendary striker and Match of the Day pundit—who had no managerial experience—was not an April Fool's joke. 

    The Toon Army were in 18th place when Shearer filled the boots of interim boss Chris Hughton, who had taken over when Joe Kinnear was taken ill.

    Eight games later, Shearer had helped his side pick up five points from a possible 24, leaving them in the same relegation spot that he started in. 

16. Brian Clough

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    Duration: 7 games (44 days)

    After transforming Derby County from a mid-table Second Division side to First Division title winners in just a few seasons, Brian Clough caught the attention of high-flying Leeds United.

    Cloughie took over from Don Revie, who went to manage the England team, but failed to gel with star players like of Johnny Giles and Billy Bremner.

    He won just one of seven games in charge before being given his marching orders, but he restored his reputation as one of the finest managers England has ever produced by subsequently leading Nottingham Forest to domestic and European glory.

    Clough's disastrous spell at Leeds is detailed in David Peace's book The Damned Utd

15. Les Reed

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    Duration: 7 games (41 days)

    When Alan Curbishley left Charlton in 2006 after a decade in charge, Iain Dowie was brought in to try and keep the Addicks in the Premier League. However, when they lost their first five games, Dowie was pushed out and his assistant Les Reed earned a promotion.

    Under Reed's guidance, Charlton crashed out of both cups to lower-league sides and stayed firmly rooted in the relegation zone, where they ended up on the final day of the season.

    Reed lasted just seven games and was sacked on Christmas Eve 2006. 

14. Alex McLeish

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    Duration: 7 games (40 days)

    After crossing the controversial midlands divide between Birmingham and Aston Villa, Alex McLeish joined Nottingham Forest in December 2012.

    The Scotsman left after just five weeks in charge when the club's Kuwaiti owners pulled out of a deal to sign George Boyd in the January window. 

    McLeish's record of one win in seven games may also have had something to do with his departure. 

13. Paul Gascoigne

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    Duration: 6 games (39 days)

    Paul Gascoigne had entertained us with his mercurial talents on the field for many years before he decided to step into management in 2005.

    After a brief stint coaching in Portugal, non-league side Kettering Town gave him a job, but he lasted just six games and 39 days before getting the sack.

    Kettering's owner blamed his alcoholism, claiming he drank every day of his tenure.

    In his six matches, Gazza earned two wins and two draws, but he never actually signed a contract and was never paid for his work.  

12. Steve Coppell

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    Duration: 6 games (33 days)

    Steve Coppell managed Crystal Palace on four different occasions and was able to sandwich a very short stint at Manchester City in the middle of his on/off relationship with the Eagles.

    Coppell lasted only 33 days at Maine Road in 1996, citing the stress of the job as his reason for leaving. He told the BBC:

    I'm not ashamed to admit that I have suffered for some time from huge pressure I have imposed upon myself, and since my appointment this has completely overwhelmed me to such an extent that I cannot function in the job the way I would like to. 

    Coppell won two and drew one of his stressful six games in charge and waited a full three months before taking the Crystal Palace job again. 

11. Gian Piero Gasperini

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    Duration: 5 games (3 months)

    Gian Piero Gasperini spent four seasons at Genoa before being appointed as Leonardo's replacement at Internazionale in June 2011. 

    However, he lost four of his first five games in charge, including an Italian Super Cup meeting with Milan, a Champions League game with Trabzonspor and an embarrassing 3-1 loss to newly promoted Novara. 

    Massimo Moratti sacked him with a zero percent win rate and it was nearly a year until he found new employment at Palermo.  

10. Paul Hart

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    Duration: 5 games (28 days)

    When Jim Magilton was sacked by QPR in December 2009, Paul Hart was offered his first managerial role in two-and-a-half years. 

    The former Leeds defender fell out with Adel Taarabt and won only one of his five games in charge before Flavio Briatore cut him loose. 

    He was last seen managing Swindon but hasn't worked since he was sacked in April 2011. 

9. Serse Cosmi

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    Duration: 4 games (34 days)

    There are few jobs with less security than that of Palermo manager.

    Eccentric club president Maurizio Zamparini has made no fewer than 18 managerial changes since 2007, and Serse Cosmi was a victim of his fickleness in 2011.

    The hat-loving coach was given only four games in charge, during which he managed to beat Milan. Yet a 4-0 loss to Sicilian rivals Catania earned him the Italian equivalent of a P45.

    Upon his departure, Delio Rossi—the man whom Cosmi replaced—was rehired, but he only made it until the end of the season.  

8. Micky Adams

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    Duration: 3 games (13 days)

    Micky Adams managed no less than three different clubs in the 1997-98 season.

    After getting sacked by Fulham in September, he joined Swansea, where he spent a whopping 13 days before deciding to leave Wales. In that period, he oversaw three matches, all of which ended in defeat.

    In 1999, Adams bettered his short tenure record by becoming Nottingham Forest manager for a single match. It was, however, a caretaker position, so it doesn't count.  

7. Kevin Cullis

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    Duration: 1.5 games (7 days)

    A few seasons before the aforementioned Micky Adams made his cameo appearance at Swansea, the relatively unknown Kevin Cullis was given the job. (He is so unknown that we don't even have a picture!)

    Cullis lasted two games in the 1995-96 season before he was ousted, with the second match being a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Blackpool.

    A book written about Blackpool actually claims Cullis only lasted half of that second game as his players ignored him and took control of things themselves.

    Cullis has not managed again and has since been to prison twice on separate counts of fraud.

6. John Toshack

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    Duration: 1 game (41 days)

    John Toshack scored 13 goals for Wales in 40 appearances, so his appointment as national team boss in 1994 was welcomed.

    However, the former Liverpool star spent only 41 days in the hot seat, in which he presided over one game: a 3-1 loss to Norway that saw him booed off the field.

    Despite this hiccup, Toshack was reappointed 10 years later and managed to stay in the role for six years. 

5. Jorg Berger

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    Duration: 1 game (5 days)

    Jorg Berger held 21 different managerial positions in Germany in a 39-year career.

    His final contract was given by Arminia Bielefeld, who brought him in on 18 May 2009 to try to help the club avoid relegation from the Bundesliga with only one game left to play.

    The final game in which he had to prove himself was against Hannover. It was a 2-2 draw, Bielefeld were sent down and he was subsequently shown the door.

    Sadly, it was his final game in management, as he died a year later.  

4. Luigi Del Neri

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    PAULO DUARTE/Associated Press

    Duration: 0 games (36 days)

    Luigi Del Neri earned a solid reputation in European football for bringing Chievo from Serie B obscurity to Serie A contention. In July 2004, he was announced as Jose Mourinho's replacement at Porto

    But Del Neri was sacked before the season began, with club president Jorge Pinto da Costa blaming his poor "time-keeping" after he missed a training session.  

    This wasn't the Italian coach's first instance of being sacked before the season started: In 1998, Empoli let him go under similar circumstances.  

3. Martin Ling

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    Duration: 0 games (9 days)

    Martin Ling was given the manager's job at non-league Cambridge in July 2009, but before a ball had even been kicked that season, he resigned due to "irreconcilable differences" with club chairman George Rolls.

    However, Rolls left his role at the club shortly after, at which point Ling agreed to come back. He became manager once again just 16 days after his initial appointment and stayed for one-and-a-half seasons. 

2. Dave Bassett

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    Duration: 0 games (4 days)

    Dave "Harry" Bassett will forever be admired by Wimbledon fans for bringing the tiny South London side from the fourth tier all the way up to the top flight in the 1980s.

    But midway through his stint with the Dons, in June 1984, Harry left to join Crystal Palace.

    After four days, however, he changed his mind and came back to Wimbledon. "I gave it some serious thought, but in the end it just did not feel right. We have unfinished business, and I didn't really want to leave here," he said

1. Leroy Rosenior

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    Duration: 0 games (10 minutes!)

    The record for the shortest ever managerial tenure is going to take some beating.

    Leroy Rosenior managed Torquay United between 2002 and 2006, leading them to a League One promotion. On 17 May 2007, the former West Ham striker was reappointed following the dismissal of Keith Curle.

    However, just 10 minutes after the announcement of his rehiring was made, the club were taken over by a consortium who sacked him and appointed former Torquay player Paul Buckle instead.

    At the time, Rosenior was a very good sport about it, telling the Mirror: "It was a shock but we had a good laugh about it. Obviously, they thought I'd done a fantastic job after 10 minutes and let me go. They are going to sort me out a little bit of a compensation."

     

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