Liverpool fans are on a high after the arrival of the much-lauded German coach, but Robert O’Connor has some warnings for Kopites…
1) Juande Ramos (Tottenham)
Ramos’s European coaching pedigree was unquestionable at the time. Fresh from not one but two UEFA Cup triumphs with Sevilla, the man from Ciudad Real was hailed upon his appointment in 2007 as the man to banish the stultifying football played under Martin Jol.
Ramos actually began life in north London brightly, although with the club languishing in 18th in mid-October, any sort of upward momentum was always going to be received with relief.
The former Sevilla man couldn’t go on to replicate his European glory with Spurs, however, as they bowed out in the last 16 to PSV, before a calamitous start to the new season meant he was axed with the club rooted to the bottom of the league and in rather worse nick than when he arrived.
2) Phil Scolari (Chelsea)
The anointed successor to Jose Mourinho 1.0 following the temporary reign of Avram Grant, Scolari arrived at Stamford Bridge in 2008 as the first World Cup-winning manager to take charge of an English club side. That 2002 victory for Brazil seemed aa good step in the direction of Mourinho Years consistency, and a lightning-quick start to the new season assuaged any lingering fears about Scolari’s adaptability in his new environment.
But the Brazilian’s Chelsea showed a fragility that had never been seen under the previous regime, and they surrendered the club’s proud four-year unbeaten home record with costly defeats to Liverpool and Arsenal inside a month. Scolari left the Bridge in February, the club’s title challenge effectively over.
Xabi Alonso scuffs in a winner at Stamford Bridge
3) Felix Magath (Fulham)
There was no real consensus over what to expect of Felix Magath when he walked through the doors of Craven Cottage in early 2014. It was difficult to align the predicament that the relegation-bound Cottagers found themselves in with the glittering successes that their new boss had enjoyed back in Germany, after three titles and five German Cups across five seasons at Bayern and Wolfsburg.
The word from the Cottage was that the players never fully acclimatised to Magath’s gruelling training regime, suggesting that the methods which get the best out of title-chasing superstars may not necessarily be the same as those that encourage the desperate, late-season efforts necessary to fend off the drop.
4) Vanderlei Luxemburgo (Real Madrid)
The most successful manager in the history of Brazil’s domestic game seemed for all the world a perfect fit for club football’s most decorated side when he pitched up at the Bernabeu in 2005.
But the 13-time Brazilian state champion’s time at Madrid became known for his use of the ill-fated 4-2-2-2 ‘Magic Rectangle’ formation which squashed David Beckham, Zinedine Zidane and Raul into a crowded, unworkable box in midfield. Subsequently, his stellar CV acquired the unwelcome blemish of a premature mid-season sacking following a 3-0 whipping from Barcelona.
5) Gianluca Vialli (Watford)
As a player, Vialli won just about every honour going in club football, whereas Watford have won not very much of anything. Small wonder, then, that the excitement palpably fizzed around Vicarage Road when the former Juventus man was introduced as boss in 2001.
Fast-forward 12 months to the end of what was supposed to have been the Hornets’ return to the Premier League after a two-year absence, and with little sign of managerial acumen that had delivered three major trophies for Chelsea at the end of the ‘90s, Vialli walked of Vicarage Road and promptly dropped out of football management.
6) Ruud Gullit (Newcastle)
Two years before pitching up at St James’ Park, Gullit had brought an end to 26 long barren years at Chelsea by delivering the FA Cup to Stamford Bridge, making him seemingly the perfect fit for another club who had long forgotten the feel of silverware. That the Dutchman had known his way around a podium during his stellar playing days was an added layer of reassurance on Tyneside that this could be the appointment to finally get the air circulating around the Newcastle trophy room.
It was a hope soon sacrificed on the altar of hubris, however, as Gullit rubbed pretty much every member of the Magpies’ staff up the wrong way – not least Geordie hero Alan Shearer – in a torrid 14 months en route to his bumbling exit.
7) Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Cardiff)
Notwithstanding the nine major honours that Solskjaer collected in a whirlwind decade at Old Trafford, the Baby-Faced Assassin’s managerial career began in equally explosive fashion as he swept up two Tippeligaen titles in three seasons as boss of his boyhood club Molde.
So after nearly two decades of almost uninterrupted success, which included a successful spell in charge of Manchester United’s reserves, there seemed something wholly peculiar about the struggles he suffered at Cardiff City as his first foray into Premier League management ended in relegation. He stepped down after a bad start to the following Championship season.
8) Fabio Capello (England)
In a club management career spanning 25 years, Capello coolly collected five Serie A titles, two La Liga crowns, the Italian Cup and the Champions League. He was inducted into both the AC Milan and Italian football halls of fame and collected the Serie A Coach of the Year award five times.
Then, on June 18 2010, in Cape Town, his England side drew 0-0 with Algeria at the World Cup, before being destroyed by Germany in the knockouts. Wayne Rooney recently admitted that the Italian was his biggest managerial disappointment with the Three Lions so far. “I just expected more,” Wazza mused ruefully.
"Don't worry lads I've got i- oh, he's gone."
9) Louis van Gaal (Netherlands)
Long before Van Gaal was contractually obliged to be disagreeable towards all things Liverpool, there was one particular Merseysider who had already done a bang-up job of getting under the Dutchman’s skin.
Jason McAteer’s goal for Ireland against the Netherlands at Lansdowne Road in 2001 left the ignominious smear of failed World Cup qualification across Louis’ reputation which, even alongside a raft of La Liga and Champions League successes, will always be difficult to overlook. He rescued his international reputation somewhat by steering the Dutch to third place at Brazil 2014 in his second spell.
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