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Football Managers - It's a Hard Enough Life For Us...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

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Managers have a tough job sometimes.

Dealing with egos within the squad, developing team unity and unity towards the goals of the club and all this to do with club owners breathing down their necks. With Steve McClaren and Roberto Di Matteo being axed from Vfl Wolfsburg and West Bromwich Albion respectively, here is a look at some (of many) of the more odd/controversial managerial sackings of years gone by:

1) Leroy Rosenior – Torquay United (2007)
A former striker for variety of clubs including West Ham United, Fulham FC and Queens Park Rangers, Rosenior has the perhaps most dubious record of the shortest managerial position ever held. In 2007 he returned to Torquay United for whom he coached for between 2002 – 2006, when after being in charge for a whole 10 minutes, he was let go by the club. This was due to a new consortium taking over at Torquay, something that Rosenior was aware of but not thinking that it would happen only 10 minutes after he was unveiled as the then League Two’s new manager.

2) Jose Peseiro/Nasser Al-Johar – Saudia Arabia National Football Team (2011)
The Arabian powerhouse Saudi Arabia entered the 2011 AFC Asian Cup as perennial pre-tournament favourites to lift the coveted trophy with expectations running high for the Green Falcons. But after losing 2 – 1 to a lowly but determined Syria in the groups opening game, Portuguese coach Peseiro was told to pack his bags by the Saudi FA. Replacing him for the remainder of the tournament was technical advisor Al-Johar, but his fate was soon sealed just under a week later. The Saudis failed to pick up any points in the group stages (losing 1 – 0 to Jordan and being destroyed by Japan 5 – 0), exiting the Asian Cup in disappointing fashion and Al-Johar not even having the highest position in Saudi football for a week.

3) Chris Hughton– Newcastle United FC (2010)
After taking charge a dominant Newcastle United from the Championship in 2009 back to the promised land of the Premier League, things were looking good for Hughton. The Magpies were exceeding everyone’s expectations in the league and managed to put on some great attacking performances, including a 4 – 0 hammering of a sorry Aston Villa on the opening round of 2010/2011.

Owner Mike Ashley who had overseen many a sacking during a turbulent time at St James’ Park, decided to let go of the popular Hughton (seemingly out of nowhere) citing “an individual with more managerial experience was needed to take the club further”. Many of the St James’ Park faithful were in disillusion at such a decision, but yet came as little surprise if one looks back at the recent managerial merry-go-round for Newcastle United. Former Southampton and West Ham manager Alan Pardew was chosen to replace Hughton, but the Toon Army will never let down the importance that Hughton had in his short spell at the top.

4) Pierre Littbarski (2005/2006)
The Australian footballing scene had died a terrible, terrible death in 2004 due to the financial fumblings of those in charge at the former Soccer Australia and the dissolution of a national league (known as the National Soccer League) made matters worse. Coming from a yearlong recess in 2005/2006, the A-League was launched under the auspices of Football Federation Australia and Chairman Frank Lowy. New teams were established and football in Australia was given another shot at life.

A Sydney FC side, coached by charismatic German Pierre Littbarski took out the A-League Grand Final against the Central Coast Mariners thanks to a lone Steve Corica goal in the 63rd minute. Once known as “Bling FC” due to their financial flair and high profile signing of former Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke, the Sky Blues somewhat shockingly let go of their inaugural manager after leading them to the first ever piece of silverware due to his non-acceptance into taking a major paycut. It would be another four seasons before Sydney saw any silverware (winning the A-League double of both the minor premiership and grand final) under Czech coach Vítězslav Lavička. Littbarski had spells managing various sides in Asia and in Europe before setlling with German side Vfl Wolfsburg in 2010 as an assistant coach, before being assigned caretaker manager of Die Wölfe in 2011 after the sacking of Englishman Steve McClaren.

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