Gerrard to MK Dons? 10 superstars who suffered nightmares in lower-league dugouts

Going down the leagues to make your name as a manager isn't easy. And if you fail once, writes Richard Edwards, you’re lucky if you get another crack at it...

10. Tony Adams, Wycombe, 2003

“I’ve been enjoying my sports science degree at university, which I’m halfway through, but it feels right to be here now,” said Tony Adams at his Wycombe unveiling in November 2003. Club director Alan Parry clearly felt the same.

“We had the same feelings when Martin O’Neill walked in here,” he said. The current Republic of Ireland boss walked out of Adams Park a hero, having successfully navigated the club into the Football League. Adams took them in the opposite direction, overseeing relegation from League One.

That said, he was hardly given a huge budget to turn around this sinking ship. “One day I lost a player because the chairman refused to pay the £90 he wanted for a TV licence,” he would later tell The Daily Mail. Spells at Portsmouth and Gabala followed. Success didn’t.

Tony Adams, Wycombe

"Alright everybody. Don't worry, I'm not stopping long."

9. Bobby Moore, Southend United, 1984

Moore's limited spell in management and coaching remains an irremovable stain on his career. And if the World Cup-winning captain thought a stint at Roots Hall in the mid-80s would boost his chances of getting a job elsewhere he was left sorely disappointed. First appointed as manager in February 1984 – just months after being named the club’s chief executive – he steadied the ship but left his role just two years later with the Shrimpers anchored in Fourth Division obscurity. “I don’t know what the future holds,” he said on his departure. It was his last managerial job.

8. Peter Shilton, Plymouth, 1992

Shilton was still playing when he left Derby and headed south to join Plymouth as player-manager. “I see the job as a tremendous challenge,” he said in March 1992. He couldn’t have been more right. The Pilgrims were relegated from the Second Division just two months later, Shilton’s reign little short of disastrous. His rapport with chairman Dan McCauley made the relationship between Russia and Ukraine look positively cordial, while his players, bizarrely, were threatened with a fine if they offered an opinion of their own in interviews. In fairness, his Plymouth side scored goals aplenty but when gates dipped to a nine-year low, Shilton was off – and never to return to management again.

Peter Shilton, Plymouth

Shilts and his fetching tracksuit didn't last long

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