Great players that failed in management 

Great players that failed in management 

With Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira having recently been sacked as head coach of Ligue 1 club Nice he risks being another great player that fails in management.


Here we look at biggest names currently in that category.


Gary Neville


Number 5. Gary Neville

Manchester United legend might be one of the best right backs of all time but his brief managerial career never looked like hitting the same heights. Neville only arrived at Valencia with the intention of guiding the club through to the summer when owner and Neville’s friend and business partner Peter Lim would take a longer-term view. He didn’t even last that long.

All in all, Neville managed to win 10 games in 28 attempts but only three of those victories came in the league. It meant Valencia were looking over their shoulder at the relegation zone and with fans unhappy and little sign of the former England man turning the tide he was sent packing after four months in charge. He has since pledged never to return to management. That was in 2016. He remains true to his word.


Number 4. Ciro Ferrara

Italian defender Ferrara offered so much promise as a coach. He made over 500 appearances for Juventus and Napoli in his playing days winning multiple honours including seven Serie A titles and the Champions League.

He was lauded for his mentality and leadership qualities. That helped him to 49 international caps and, on retirement, he became Italy’s assistant manager. It proved a successful relationship as they won the 2006 World Cup.

Unfortunately, time has proven that Ferrara is perhaps one of these coaches who is better suited to operating as a number two. He was named Juve manager in 2009 but he only lasted eight months and was sacked having won just half of the matches he’d faced.

After a spell with the Italy under 21s, Ferrara took the top job at Sampdoria but five wins in 15 matches earned him the second sacking of his career leaving him with limited options. A move to China followed but even that only lasted 16 games.


Number 3. Sir Bobby Charlton

Most people don’t remember Bobby Charlton the manager. He’s lucky. His record is a million miles away from what he achieved as a player. Charlton’s playing days saw him win the Ballon d’Or, the World Cup, become England’s record scorer and lift five major trophies for Manchester United including the European Cup in 1968. His managerial career came with another of his former clubs – Preston North End.


He took control of the reins in 1973 when Preston were in the second tier. Throughout that campaign his side had one of the most toothless attacks and a leaky defence to boot. It was a bad combination.


They finished second bottom and were relegated. He vacated his post at the end of the following season after Preston finished in mid-table. His only other taste of management came during a brief spell as caretaker boss at Wigan. He won two of nine matches.


Number 2. Paul Gascoigne

In terms of raw talent, England have produced few who can come close to ‘Gazza’. The creative genius played on the edge and his personal life was much the same way. Eventually, his ‘lifestyle’ – which would later be rebranded as mental health issues – ended his playing career earlier than what it should have with plenty of potential left unfulfilled.


Retirement wouldn’t be the end of Gascoigne though. A move to China saw him turn his hand to coaching. It was enough for non-league Barnet to hire him as manager back in England. To showcase his eccentric side, Gazza left his position with the club after just 11 games when his responsibilities clashed with his desire to go on ‘I’m a Celebrity get me out of here’.


Still, he wasn’t finished. Kettering took a chance on himbut 39 booze filled days brought his reign to an end very quickly. The odds of him getting another crack in football were gone entirely.


Number 1. Diego Maradona

Spark up a conversation about the greatest player of all time and you’ll undoubtedly have a hoard of people screaming Diego Maradona at you. After all, he was a magician. If, however, you ask the same question but switch the word ‘player’ to ‘manager’ and the Argentinian won’t be anywhere close to getting a mention. His managerial career was a disaster.


The mid-nineties saw him have unsuccessful spells with TextilMandiyu and Racing Club in his homeland. He managed just six months with both sides leaving with a pathetic 8%- and 18%-winratio respectively. 13 years later he took on his biggest job; Maradona was named Argentina manager. Things started well but a record equalling 6-1 defeat to Bolivia poured cold water on any momentum.


Argentina scraped into the 2010 World Cup, but their managers unorthodox methods could only lead a team of superstars to the quarter final. Spells in the UAE, Mexico and, again, in his native Argentina followed but he never looked like being anywhere near an elite coach. After his tragic passing, thankfully, he’ll be remembered for his playing career.


There you have it, the great players who failed at management. Quoting Forrest Gump movie ‘life is like a box of chocolates and you never know what you might get’.

Well, in the case of these managers, it’s safe to say that the treat wasn’t the one the fans were expecting once these legends switched from the field into the sidelines. And talking about chocolate boxes, take a look at the best chocolate subscription boxes from FiveBoxes, who can cure any bittersweet flavour from this past footballing season.


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