Top Ten Worst Premier League Bosses
With Steve Kean finally departing Blackburn Rovers, Matt Stanger looks back at the worst managers ever to be trusted at the helm of a Premier League club.
10. Owen Coyle
Despite Coyle's disappointing spell as a Barclay's Premier League manager, there's a good chance we'll see him back in the top flight at a later stage of his career. Leading Burnley to promotion in 2009 was a fantastic achievement, and the Clarets secured a famous victory against Manchester United before the manager left for Bolton. The main issue I have with Coyle is that following a bright start with the Trotters, the amount of guff he spoke about the team's style rocketed, while performances soon started to slip.
A run of poor form in the back half of the 2010/11 campaign saw Bolton lose 11 of their last 18 matches and the rot really set in last season, with the team losing 14 fixtures before Christmas. Coyle had no answer to the slide and he was last seen grumbling about refereeing decisions with Bolton sitting in the bottom half of the Championship.
9. Alex McLeish
Big Eck was lucky to be given the Aston Villa job last year after twice taking Birminigham through the trap door and the Scot promptly confirmed fans' fears by overseeing a spell of truly dreadful, goalless football. For some reason results were overlooked by the media and it was presumed the supporters' ire derived from the manager's Brum connection.
The final table told the full story, though, with only Wolves winning fewer matches than McLeish's miserable Villa side, and Paul Lambert now faces the difficult task of picking up the pieces from his predecessor's joyless reign.
8. Christian Gross
Gross was almost a complete unknown when he joined Spurs in November 1997, but his first encounter with the press ensured he wouldn't be forgotten. "I want this to become my ticket to dreams," said Gross, revealing the Tube ticket he had used to travel to White Hart Lane. "I came by Underground because I wanted to know the way the fans feel coming to Spurs. I want to show that I am one of them."
All Spurs fans cared about though was results and as the team languished just above the relegation zone for most of the season, the pressure on Gross increased, with the Swiss painted as an oddball by the press - somewhat mirroring their treatment of Andre Villas-Boas 15 years later. After Tottenham lost two of their first three matches in the 1998/99 campaign, Alan Sugar decided enough was enough, and jabbing his chubby finger at Gross, the Spurs chairman said - all together now! - "You're fired".
7. Iain Dowie
I've always thought Dowie looks a bit like a cloud, but there was certainly no silver lining to his stint at Charlton in 2006. Although Dowie had developed a decent reputation during his reign at Crystal Palace, his time at The Valley was nothing short of disastrous. Replacing Alan Curbishley was always going to be a tough job and Charlton backed their new manager with ample funds to put his plans into place. A £4million move for Souleymane Diawara typified Dowie's poor spending, though, and the Addicks made a terrible start to the season, suffering four defeats in their first five matches.
Dowie was sacked after just 15 games and his ill-fated tenure will always be remembered for the infamous story of Charlton's trip to Newcastle in October. Before the match, the manager allegedly thought it would be a good idea to take his team for a run but, after losing his bearings in Gateshead, and with kick-off fast approaching, Dowie had to hail a fleet of taxis to rush the squad to the stadium.
6. Egil Olsen
Given Olsen's calamitous stay in the Premier League, it's probably fair to assume that he's only referred to as 'the professor' because he wears glasses - something I'm sure Jonjo Shelvey would enjoy. Top bantz. Olsen was appointed Wimbledon manager in 1999 and spent £10.5million 'strengthening' the team over the summer.
The Norwegian's signings failed to pay off, though, as he led the Dons to a measly total of seven top-flight wins. Olsen was sacked at the start of May, but it was too late for Wimbledon and their subsequent relegation began a long downward spiral. "Olsen just didn't know how to get the best out of us," said Robbie Earle in 2011, as he looked back with a tear in his eye at the sorry decline of the Crazy Gang.
5. Steve Wigley
As a coach Wigley is still highly regarded, but his Southampton reign put an end to any managerial ambitions he may have had. Wigley's first stint in charge of the Saints followed Gordon Strachan's departure in February 2004 but after drawing his two matches as caretaker boss, he was replaced by Paul Sturrock.
However, just two games into the following season, Sturrock left the club and Wigley was appointed on a permanent basis. He won just one of 14 matches in charge before being given the old heave-ho by Rupert Lowe, but at least that sole victory came against the Saints' arch-rivals Portsmouth.
4. Alain Perrin
Portsmouth have had their fair share of lamentable managers over the years, with Tony Adams putting up a good fight to wrestle this spot from Perrin. The Frenchman just nicks it though for the sheer audacity of covering up his Pompey failure with a 4-1 win over Southampton in April 2005 that helped to seal the Saints' relegation.
Perrin arrived at Portsmouth having previously impressed at Marseille and he completed the s**t sandwich by leading Lyon to the double in 2008 after leaving Fratton Park. Despite currently hiding in the Middle East, Perrin will never be able to escape his abysmal record in England, where he picked up just four wins in 21 matches before being given the boot.
3. Alan Shearer
Blackburn fans should be worried that Alan Shearer is reportedly on the shortlist to replace Steve Kean at Ewood Park. The pundit's eight games at Newcastle in 2009 provided him with ample time to save the club from relegation, but the Toon Army's former hero managed only one win during his brief spell in charge (over Middlesbrough, who also dropped into the Championship) and five defeats consigned the Magpies to their fate.
Newcastle still had the opportunity to save themselves on the final day of the season, but a lifeless performance in a 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa typified Shearer's reign as he failed to provide any motivation to his shattered troops. Since then, Shearer has stuck to the comfort of the Match Of The Day sofa, but he will surely one day return to the dug-out to prove he has what it takes to make it as a manager.
2. Les Reed
It's only in the last 21 months or so that Reed's claim to top spot has been relinquished and I'm not quite sure whether the former Charlton boss will be pleased to avoid the ignominy or disappointed that his only managerial achievement has been snatched away. He probably doesn't give a tiny blue tit's pecker.
Despite authoring the FA's official coaching manual, The Official FA Guide To Basic Team Coaching, Reed left the governing body in 2004. And 'basic' is perhaps the right word to describe the manager's approach at Charlton, where he won just a single game after taking over from Iain Dowie in what was a disastrous spell for the Addicks. To top it all off, Reed's reputation took a hammering in Steven Gerrard's autobiography, with the England midfielder accusing Reed of making him "feel like shit" when he was part of the coaching staff at Euro 2000.
1. Steve Kean
A personal favourite of mine. As I looked back on this wonderful list of Kean quotes from his time at Blackburn, a strange feeling of affection came over me and in a way I'm going to miss that vacant expression lighting up the touchline. I've already written my thoughts on the manager's exit here, but to sum up his spell at Ewood Park I'll say simply this - he wasn't very good. From calling David Goodwillie the new Wayne Rooney to nicknaming Bruno Ribeiro - who didn't make a single Premier League appearance - Dennis Irwin, to that long, long, list of depressing results, made even more painful by bizarre stand-out victories over Arsenal and Man United that kept him in his job far longer than he deserved, Kean's reign was one of destruction and desperation.
His relationship with supporters broke down over several shameful incidents, with his claim that he 'forfeited' a League Cup quarter-final against Cardiff the final straw for many fans. As Rovers dropped into the Championship, 10,000 supporters decided to stay away from Ewood and the boom Blackburn's party-popper industry received when Kean announced his resignation is testament to the manager's shattered reputation. For those who have criticised the fans for their part in this sorry episode in Blackburn's history - would you like Kean to take over at your club tomorrow?