Top 10 most underwhelming managerial appointments
In the wake of the imminent announcement of Alan Pardew as the new Newcastle manager, here we look at 10 of the most underwhelming managerial appointments in football.
1. Joe Kinnear (Newcastle)
Newcastle fans may be scratching their heads at the appointment of Pardew, but it is nothing compared to the uproar when Kinnear was named interim manager in September 2008, after four years out of the game. Despite the critics, Kinnear lifted Newcastle out of the relegation zone and up the table before falling ill in February 2009, bringing a premature end to his comeback. Still, at least he brought us that gem of a press conference four days into his reign, which started like this:
Kinnear: Which one of you is Simon Bird [Daily Mirror football writer]?
Kinnear: You're a ----.
Bird: Thank you.
2. Steve McClaren (England)
McClaren was only appointed after the big, nasty English media scared off Luiz Felipe Scolari. However, McClaren had won the League Cup with Middlesbrough and reached the Uefa Cup final, so he couldn't be that bad, could he? Wrong. After a dismal tenure that saw him call players by their nicknames like a screaming teenage fan, cavort around with a stylish umbrella and fail to qualify for Euro 2008, McClaren was sacked.
3. Avram Grant (Chelsea)
Who do you turn to after the Special One has been removed from office? A big-name manager capable of imposing his personality on a divided team, surely? Not for Chelsea owner Roman Abrahmovich, who, in a move currently being replicated by Mike Ashley, decided to appoint his friend Grant instead in one of the most underwhelming decisions of modern times. Despite the waves of apathy that greeted his accession to the Stamford Bridge throne, Grant was one John Terry penalty away from winning the Champions League. He was still sacked, though.
4. Gary Megson (Bolton)
He came, he saw... he left after being hounded out by the fans, who were stultifyingly bored of his 'brand' of football. Megson's appointment was greeted with anger by Bolton fans, understandably confused as to why he had got the job after just 41 days as Leicester manager. That confusion and anger only deepened over the next two years as Bolton just about kept their head above water, all while playing dreadful football. Megson did himself no favours by branding the fans "pathetic" after a draw with Blackburn, and in December 2009 he was sacked.
5. Dr Jozef Venglos (Aston Villa)
With Graham Taylor poached by England while Villa were riding high in the league, the club went out on a limb and appointed the first foreign coach of a top-flight English club, the Czechoslovakian Venglos, in 1990. What followed was a victory for xenophobes everywhere as the Venglos-inspired Villa slid into near oblivion, finishing just two places above the relegation zone in his first season. In 1991, the board had had enough and Venglos was replaced.
6. Les Reed (Charlton)
Following the disastrous 15-game reign of Iain Dowie, Charlton turned to kind, avuncular first-team coach Reed to steady the ship as relegation loomed large on the horizon. In reality, Reed was a fall-back option after Billy Davies pulled out of a deal to take charge and the appointment was greeted with apathy at The Valley and cries of 'who?' by fans up and down the land. Reed did not last long in the hotseat, though, and Charlton turned to a big hitter to turn things around... one Alan Pardew. They were still relegated, by the way.
7. Christian Gross (Tottenham)
A name that will forever haunt Spurs fans, no matter who they have in charge. The arrival of the Swiss, late from Heathrow airport and brandishing a London Underground ticket, at his first press conference was a sign of things to come. Gross only only lasted nine months at White Hart Lane before the ridicule of the press and the team's poor results caught up with him, leaving chairman Alan Sugar no choice but to say... well I'll leave you to fill in that weak punchline.
8. Arsene Wenger (Arsenal)
Now before you say anything, this is not a list of the worst appointments, it is a list of the most underwhelming. And believe me, Wenger's appointment was underwhelming. One newspaper greeted the Frenchman's arrival with a headline of 'Arsene Who?', while others wondered whether he could fill the boots of George Graham, and to a far smaller extent, Bruce Rioch. In his first full season Wenger won the title, and the rest is history.
9. Paul Hart (Portsmouth)
When Hart took over as caretaker manager of Pompey following the departure of Tony Adams in February 2009, little was expected of a man whose last managerial position had been with Rushden & Diamonds three years earlier. But with the club in the midst of a financial crisis, Hart impressed and after being given a contract until the end of the season. In July he was awarded a two-year contract, but was eventually sacked in November 2009 after a poor start to the campaign.
10. Brian Laws (Burnley)
When Owen Coyle made his acrimonious move to rivals Bolton, Burnley fans were calling out for an inspirational figure to help them retain their Premier League place. Instead they got Laws, who led the club to 15 defeats in their remaining 18 games and relegation back to the Championship.