Ranking the 12 Most Bizarre Manager Meltdowns

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistApril 24, 2014

Ranking the 12 Most Bizarre Manager Meltdowns

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    The life of a football manager is far from an easy one, and—next to refereeing—probably stands as the least enviable job in all of football.

    Sometimes the pressure can poke its way through from the inner-workings of even the most serene of figures for all to see—whether it be on the pitch, in the dressing room, or even outside normal match parameters.

    Here, we count down the most bizarre of those instances when the cracks have opened up, using video footage where possible.

    Warning: Article and videos contain NSFW language. Swearing throughout.

12. Phil Brown Forgets Where the Dressing Room Is

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    Phil Brown's time as Hull City manager was one of supreme highs and harrowing lows, but the former Tigers boss is perhaps best remembered for the half-time team talk he decided to share with the masses.

    In December 2008, the Yorkshire outfit found themselves 4-0 down against Manchester City at the break, and so incensed was Brown by the performance of his players that he felt a dressing room wasn't the team-talk environment they needed.

    BBC Sport quote Brown as saying of his decision:

    I thought it was nice and cold and I thought I would keep the boys alive because they looked as if they were dead. Our 4,000 travelling fans deserved some kind of explanation for the first-half performance and it was difficult for me to do that from the confines of a changing room.

    Players such as Dean Windass, Paul McShane and ex-Citizen Geovanni will forever hold an association with the finger-wagging Brown, which Jimmy Bullard would later copy after scoring at Eastlands on a later date.

11. Arsene Wenger Takes Frustrations out on a Water Bottle

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    By Arsene Wenger's standards, showing one's frustrations on the top layer isn't a regular occurrence, but even the calmest of football figures can let slip their true colours.

    Early in the 2009-10 campaign, the Gunners lost 2-1 at Old Trafford thanks to an Abou Diaby own goal. After what would have been a late equaliser for Arsenal was ruled out, Wenger was sent to the stands for kicking a plastic bottle in frustration.

    The Frenchman's mini-tantrum was evidently of some amusement to the Manchester United crowd, who took delight in the ridiculous circumstances of Wenger's dismissal, which pundit Gordon Strachan managed to find some comedy value in himself.

10. Paul Ince Threatens to 'Knock Official Out'

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    Paul Ince was known for having something of a hot streak during his playing days, and some habits have been shown to die hard as the former Blackpool boss got aggressive in a 2013 tunnel incident.

    Per BBC Sport, Ince told an official he would "knock him out" during the Tangerines' 2-1 win over Bournemouth, which resulted in a five-match stadium ban and a £4,000 fine.

    Ince would later on be fired by Blackpool via text, showing just how sour the manager's relationship with the club turned, perhaps influenced by his prickly personality.

9. Rafa Benitez's Mind Games with Sir Alex Ferguson Reach Boiling Point

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    Mind games and Rafa Benitez go hand in hand thanks to the Spaniard's infamous relationship with Sir Alex Ferguson and one particular press conference.

    In response to some of the things he felt had unfairly gone Ferguson's way in English football, Benitez insisted he wouldn't play a part in his foe's mind games—completely falling victim to those very mind games in the process.

    Benitez later said of the press conference:

    It will not have an effect on me. If he talks too much and too quickly, I will not understand him. We have our points and we're top of the table and we know there will be a tough race to the end. We are still in a fantastic position.

    I don't regret what I said and I don't think it had an effect on the players today. I can guarantee you that a lot of people have sent messages to my staff saying that at least someone has said what everyone wanted to say. Maybe [the reaction] is because in 20 years nobody could say these things. Maybe a lot of people were thinking these things, but they could not say it.

    That January 2009 presser goes down in history for the long list of reasons Benitez reads out from his appendix of insults.

    The words "hook, line and sinker" spring to mind. Fact.

8. Ron Atkinson Defends His Coventry City Players to the End

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    In March 1996, Coventry City were one of the sides tipped for relegation, but manager Ron Atkinson obviously wasn't of that understanding following his side's outing against Southampton.

    After the match, pundit Richard Keys insinuated Big Ron would be incapable of saving his side from relegation, which visibly and audibly irked Atkinson.

    As the attached video shows, the manager obviously felt some belief in his team just after their Southampton fixture, ending his rant with a familiar "thanks lads, goodnight."

    It's a lesser-known fact that Atkinson hit an off-camera studio technician when he threw off his headphones at the end of the interview.

7. Alan Pardew Headbutts David Meyler

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    The most recent example of manager madness came thanks to the always tense Alan Pardew, whose struggles with Newcastle United bubbled to the top against Hull City this season.

    Or, more specifically, they rose to his head and spilled out in the form of a headbutt on opposition player David Meyler, who was looking to retrieve a ball which had run too close to Pardew.

    The Magpies manager was fined £100,000 by the his club and handed a seven-match ban for his actions, per BBC Sport.

6. Harry Redknapp: 'No Wonder He's in the F***ing Reserves' (Language NSFW)

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    Harry Redknapp is always reliable for a comical reference in modern football, whether intentional or not—be it leaning out his car window on transfer deadline day or taking a ball to the back of the head like a champ.

    'Arry's reacting words to the offending reserve player are funny enough as he attempts to give an interview, but his belated interjection some time after the incident had happened is sheer genius.

    "No wonder he's in the f*****g reserves" is the line that makes this moment a memorable one for Redknapp, who's reddened face and enraged stature are hard not to laugh at.

5. Neil Lennon vs. Ally McCoist

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    Celtic and Rangers is a cold rivalry that will forever go down as one of the most bitter in all of football.

    And the managers of the teams are known to have come together on more than one occasion. Here, Neil Lennon and Ally McCoist clash following an Old Firm matchup in March 2011.

    The tacticians come close to blows upon the final whistle signalling a 1-0 win for Celtic, with technical staff aplenty having to separate the two.

4. Neil Warnock's Infamous Half-Time 'Pep Talk' (Language NSFW)

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    There aren't many more managers out there today who epitomise what many perceive as being the "classic English manager" quite so much as Neil Warnock.

    Huddersfield Town were the side paying the manager's wages in April 1995, and their trip to Shrewsbury Town wasn't going to plan.

    Video footage emerged of Warnock's expletive-ridden idea of a half-time pep talk, in which the boss takes a more aggressive stance against his players' first-half performances.

    Warnock's loyalty to his club's fans comes out as he tells one of his players he "was in Latvia" as the only excuse for his disappointing display, in what will always be cherished as a classic rant.

3. Kevin Keegan Would 'Love to Beat Them'

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    Another example of Ferguson's Manchester United mind games having some impact on their intended target, Kevin Keegan took the bait in May 1996 as his Newcastle United jostled with the Red Devils for first place.

    Speaking in a pre-match interview, the Magpies manager exclaimed the eight words that will always be chronicled in Premier League history: "I would love it if we beat them."

    Keegan crumbles in some emotional respect, struggling to string a two sentences together in what assuredly made for easy viewing as a Manchester United fan.

    The clip has become famously linked with Keegan's name through the ages, but his passionate words weren't enough to earn his team that season's title.

2. Giovanni Trapattoni Gets a Bit Lost in Translation

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    Giovanni Trapattoni has been around as a manager for as long as anybody else currently heading a team, so it's only logical that the Italian firecracker has one entry on our list.

    The tactical journeyman was at Bayern Munich in March 1998, when a dressing room controversy led to some resentment between players and coaching staff.

    Picking out Mehmet Scholl, Mario Basler and Thomas Strunz as particular offenders, Trapattoni's decibel levels reached new heights in a statement aimed at hardening up his own players.

    Big things would appear to indeed come from smaller packages.

1. John Sitton Invites His Players to Dinner (Language NSFW)

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    Warning: Language considered NSFW

    This John Sitton tam talk really can't receive enough warnings of that nature, as in the making for documentary Orient: Club for a Fiver, the Leyton Orient boss let loose.

    With expletives accounting for every second word, Sitton delivered a shocking pep talk in February 1995 with his team 1-0 down at home to Blackpool.

    Appearing to offer his players out for a fight, Sitton suggests: "And you can pair up if you like, and you can f*****g pick someone else to help you, and you can bring your f*****g dinner."

    Do we know what it means? No. Did Sitton? Probably not, no.