Sun, Feb


IS it any wonder West Ham fans are underwhelmed at the prospect of David Moyes taking the helm? He fell flat on his face at Manchester United. He bombed at Real Sociedad.

And he stank the place out at Sunderland, taking them down to the Championship for the first time in a decade.

Still, he’s not the only Premier League managerial appointment that’s been met with bemusement, frustration or widespread anger.

And these underwhelming examples prove the point only too well…


When Jose Mourinho’s first spell at Chelsea came to an end in 2007 the world waited for the heavyweight replacement to fill his successful shoes.

They got Avram Grant.
The 52-year-old was Chelsea’s Director of Football and a former Israeli national coach but, perhaps more importantly, he was a close personal friend of Blues’ owner Roman Abramovich.

“I am not ‘the Special One’. I’m the normal one,” he said at his first press conference. “But my wife says I am special. What am I like? I am 180cm.”

Former Chelsea player and TV pundit Pay Nevin epitomised the feelings of the Stamford Bridge fans.

“Avram Grant is going to be as welcome as Camilla at Diana’s memorial,” he argued. “This guy is not well-loved at Chelsea. He is not going to last.”

And he didn’t. Though the team finished second in the Premier League and reached the League Cup final and the Champions League in 2008, Grant was gone by May.

The 63-year-old former Chelsea boss arrived at the King Power Stadium in the summer of 2015 after a disastrous four-month spell as manager of the Greek national team.

It was a reign that came to an end the morning after a humiliating defeat to the Faroe Islands.

Gary Lineker took to Twitter as soon as the news of the Italian’s appointment broke. “Claudio Ranieri? Really?” he tweeted.

After the Foxes’ miraculous escape from relegation in the previous season, Ranieri had modest ambitions for the East Midlanders.

“My goal is to make one point more next season – this is our goal – improve season after season.”

We all know what happened next.

Has there ever been a more comical managerial appointment in the history of the Premier League?

From the moment the Swiss arrived late from Heathrow Airport for his first press conference in November 1997 brandishing a London Underground travel card and declaring it to be the “ticket to the dreams”, you knew it was destined to end in disaster.

Even the players had no idea who Gross really was. “I’m sure it will be a case of ‘Christian Who?’ for a lot of people, but they were saying ‘Arsene Who?’ when Wenger took over at Arsenal,” shrugged their defender Clive Wilson.

Christian Gross lasted nine months.
Arsene Wenger is still manager of Arsenal.
One of the first names on our underwhelming Premier League managerial appointments’ team sheet, Carver was given until the end of the 2014-15 season after Alan Pardew jumped ship and headed south to Crystal Palace.

Carver would oversee the Magpies for 20 games but won just three matches and lost 13.

He also oversaw a club record eight defeats on the spin, not that he thought that he was at fault.

“I still think I’m the best coach in the Premier League,” he insisted.

Although Carver had taken over with the club in 10th place in the table, it needed a final day win over West Ham to confirm their safety in the Premier League.

But it still wasn’t enough and Carver was given his cards in early June 2015.

If West Brom fans are growing tired of Tony Pulis then they don’t need to cast their minds back that far to recall a manager that made Pulis look like Pep

In June 2014, Alan Irvine was charged with filling the actually quite tiny shoes of Pepe Mel.

And with a CV that showed sackings at Championship Preston and League One Sheffield Wednesday it was always going to be a big ask for the Scottish coach.

And so it proved. Irvine didn’t make the New Year, winning just five of his 22 matches in charge.

After Kevin Keegan’s shock resignation in September 2008, Newcastle turned to former Wimbledon manager Joe Kinnear to take the helm at St. James’ Park.

It was a move met with incredulity from the club’s passionate following and even Kinnear himself knew it wouldn’t go own well.

“The fans will be disappointed I understand that, but I can’t do anything about it,” he admitted.

With the club plummeting down the Premier League table, Kinnear eventually stood aside after heart surgery, allowing club legend Alan Shearer to step in and, er, take them down.

But we don’t talk about that, do we?
Struggling badly in the Premier League, they turned to the former Bayern Munich manager Felix Magath in February 2014 – not that anybody really recognised the name.

“The fact is we have not won a league match since January 1,” said a clubs statement.

“Given our form, we can no longer merely hope that our fortunes will finally turn.

“And with 12 matches remaining and at least four points separating us from safety, we certainly can no longer post empty results. An action was required.”

Magath arrived at Craven Cottage with a record of never having been relegated in his managerial career.

But there’s a first time for everything. Though he won his first match against Newcastle, the German couldn’t arrest the side’s slump and they were relegated in early May after a 4-1 defeat to Stoke City.

And when he lost his first four games of the following Championship season, culminating in a run of 11 league games without a win, the writing was on the wall.


When Sam Allardyce was sacked by Blackburn in December 2010, the clubs new owners, the Venky’s, opted for the continuity route.

They promoted Allardyce’s assistant Steve Kean to the manager’s job with the club in 13th place in the Premier League.

But it was an appointment that had the club’s supporters wondering whether the Venky’s actually knew what they were doing.

They didn’t.
The following season, Kean was sacked after taking the former Premier League champions down to the Championship, with only Paul Ince having a managerial record that was worse than his.

Yes, that bad.


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