David Moyes and 20 Managers Who Failed to Replace Legendary Predecessors
Ten months was all the time David Moyes was given to emerge from Sir Alex Ferguson’s shadow at Manchester United.
Less than a year after the Red Devils won a record-extending 20th English title, Moyes—styled "The Chosen One" by some of the club’s supporters following his appointment—was sacked on Tuesday, as per the BBC, with United sitting seventh in the Premier League and outside the Europa League places.
Moyes never seemed comfortable in his role at Old Trafford—which was nothing less than to take over from a living legend.
But in his failure to succeed his famous forerunner adequately, he is hardly alone.
Following are 20 club managers who never properly replaced their legendary predecessors.
20. Colin Harvey, Everton
Everton had won a pair of First Division titles and the FA Cup under Howard Kendall, whose first stint at Goodison Park lasted from 1981 until 1987.
For much of that period, Colin Harvey sat beside him as an assistant, and it seemed appropriate that he took over the top job when Kendall joined Athletic Bilbao.
Harvey lasted two full seasons at Everton before he was sacked in October 1990—with the Toffees sitting 18th in the table—although in his ensuing role as a youth coach, he helped bring along a young Wayne Rooney.
19. Leonardo, AC Milan
Leonardo had yet to complete his coaching badges when he succeeded Carlo Ancelotti at AC Milan in 2009, and his tenure at the club ended after a single, disappointing campaign.
Where Ancelotti had claimed a Scudetto and a pair of European Cups with the Rossoneri, Leonardo struggled to implement his philosophy of attacking football in the tradition of idol Tele Santana and was replaced by the rather more practical Massimiliano Allegri.
18. Roy Hodgson, Liverpool
Rafael Benitez had worn out his welcome by the time he left Liverpool in June 2010, but he still managed to leave his mark on the club by winning the Champions League and the FA Cup.
The Spaniard’s successor, Roy Hodgson, lasted only 31 matches (all competitions) before getting the sack just six months after his appointment and was replaced by another Anfield icon—Kenny Dalglish.
17. Carlos Queiroz, Real Madrid
When Carlos Queiroz took the reins at Real Madrid in 2003, he was succeeding a manager in Vicente del Bosque who had been at the helm of the Spanish giants for four years—an eternity at the Bernabeu.
But Queiroz, who had worked under Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, lasted only a single season at Los Blancos and failed to win a single, major honour.
He was sacked in May 2004 and replaced by Jose Antonio Camacho, whose tenure lasted only six matches.
16. Claudio Ranieri, Valencia
Rafael Benitez also left his mark at Valencia where he won a pair of Spanish titles and a UEFA Cup between 2001 and 2004.
But upon joining Liverpool, Benitez was succeeded by Claudio Ranieri at the Mestalla, and the Italian lasted only until the following February before Antonio Lopez replaced him.
15. Cesare Prandelli, AS Roma
Fabio Capello took AS Roma to their most recent Scudetto in 2001, and after departing the Stadio Olimpico in 2004, he was replaced by current Italy boss Cesare Prandelli.
This story is tinged with tragedy, as Prandelli had to step aside mid-season to care for his wife, who was seriously ill.
Upon his exit, the Giallorossi foundered from one manager to the next, appointing each of Rudi Voller, Luigi Delneri and Bruno Conti in a matter of months before finding Capello’s long-term successor in Luciano Spalletti.
14. Juande Ramos, Real Madrid
Bernd Schuster lasted just over a year at Real Madrid despite delivering the title in 2008.
The following December, the Madrid merry-go-round was back in top gear, and Juande Ramos—who had made a name for himself at Sevilla—was appointed to succeed the German.
Ramos lasted until June when he was replaced by Manuel Pellegrini, who also lasted just a single season.
13. Graeme Souness, Liverpool
Liverpool icon Kenny Dalglish delivered a trio of First Division titles to Anfield between 1985 and 1991, and there was little reason to doubt the success wouldn’t continue under Graeme Souness, another former player, when he was appointed at the end of the 1990-91 campaign.
Souness, to his credit, did guide the Reds to the FA Cup that spring, but he’d win nothing else before his sacking in January 1994.
12. Jurgen Klinsmann, Bayern Munich
Between 1996 and 2008, each manager in charge of Bayern Munich won at least one Bundesliga title.
But the streak ended with Jurgen Klinsmann, who had turned his success with the German national team into a high-profile appointment at the Allianz-Arena ahead of the 2008-09 season.
He lasted only 302 days in the job before Louis Van Gaal was called upon to clean up his mess.
11. Llorenc Serra Ferrer, Barcelona
Louis van Gaal’s first stint at Barcelona manager (between 1997 and 2000) yielded a pair of Primera Division titles and the Copa del Rey.
But upon his exit, he was succeeded by Llorenc Serra Ferrer, who lasted until April before being replaced by Carles Rexach.
By 2002, the Catalan giants were calling out for van Gaal once again.
10. Soren Lerby, Bayern Munich
Long before Jupp Heynckes was winning the treble with Bayern Munich, he was coaching the Bavarian giants to a pair of Bundesliga titles between 1987 and 1991.
Soren Lerby replaced him early in the 1991-92 season, but by March he had failed to deliver results and was himself replaced by Erich Ribbeck.
His tenure lasted a mere 155 days.
9. Nevio Scala, Borussia Dortmund
Ottmar Hitzfeld became a legend at Borussia Dortmund after winning a pair of Bundesliga titles and the Champions League during an illustrious six seasons at the Westfalenstadion.
His was always going to be a tough act to follow, and Nevio Scala seemed destined to fail from the outset.
Appointed in July 1997, the Italian lasted just a single season before being replaced by Michael Skibbe.
8. Wilf McGuinness, Manchester United
Poor Wilf McGuinness.
Handpicked to succeed the legendary Sir Matt Busby at Manchester United, the former wide-man managed only 87 matches (and delivered just 32 wins) before Busby returned at the end of December 1970.
United would go through four more managers before appointing Sir Alex Ferguson in 1986.
7. Rafael Benitez, Inter Milan
He may have been a tough act to follow at Valencia and even Liverpool, but Rafael Benitez couldn’t emerge from Jose Mourinho’s shadow at Inter Milan.
Although the Nerazzurri had won the treble the previous spring, they were sixth in Serie A in December 2010, and Benitez was sacked two days before Christmas.
6. Brian Clough, Leeds United
One of club management’s most famous failures took place in the late summer of 1974 when Brian Clough’s attempt at succeeding Don Revie at Leeds United proved an unmitigated disaster.
Leeds were First Division champions when Revie left the club to assume the top job with England, but Clough clashed with anything and everyone associated with the Whites and was sacked after just 44 days in charge.
5. Gyula Lorant, Bayern Munich
He was manager of Bayern Munich for parts of two seasons, but in that time Dettmar Cramer led the Bavarian giants to a pair of European Cups and the Intercontinental Cup.
His successor wasn’t quite as illustrious.
Gyula Lorant, a former Hungary international, lasted only 454 days in the top job and didn’t deliver a single piece of silverware.
4. Miguel Munoz, Real Madrid
Luis Carniglia departed Real Madrid in February 1959, having won a Spanish title and the European Cup the previous spring.
But his replacement, Miguel Munoz, was given only nine matches (he won five of them) in which to prove his worth before Carniglia returned after a two-month absence.
He proceeded to win another European Cup.
3. Luis Carniglia, AC Milan
Carniglia himself struggled to emerge from a looming shadow when he was sacked as AC Milan manager in March 1964.
His predecessor had been none other than the legendary Nereo Rocco, who had guided the Rossoneri to European Cup glory the previous spring.
Rocco would later return to the San Siro and win another European Cup in 1969.
2. Alfredo Foni, Inter Milan
During the 1960s, Helenio Herrera’s Grande Inter were among the most formidable clubs in Europe, winning back-to-back European Cups and a trio of Serie A titles.
In 1968, former Inter and Italy defender Alfredo Foni replaced Herrera (he had previously managed Switzerland at the 1966 World Cup) but was sacked the following year.
1. David Moyes, Manchester United
Until David Moyes was relieved of his duties on Tuesday, the last sacking at Manchester United had occurred while Margaret Thatcher was prime minister, Germany was partitioned and Nelson Mandela was imprisoned on Robben Island.
Not that Moyes had ever stood much of a chance at filling the shoes of Sir Alex Ferguson.
The long-time United boss won 13 titles, five FA Cups and two Champions League crowns during one of the most illustrious tenures in football history, and the team he handed Moyes was reigning Premier League champions.
At Moyes' departure, the Red Devils sat seventh in the table—13 points back of the Champions League places and a whopping 23 points adrift of leaders Liverpool.
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