The 11 most uninspiring Premier League mid-season manager appointments
A change of managers has proven the catalyst for a reversal of fortunes at many struggling Premier League teams down the years. Unfortunately, these 11 appointments proved so uninspiring that no amount of “new manager bounce” could prevent the inevitable slide that followed.
Les Reed (Charlton, 2006)
Les Reed quite literally wrote the book on football management. The author of The Official FA Guide to Basic Team Coaching, Reed replaced Iain Dowie as manager of Charlton back in November 2006 with the club already in the relegation zone.
He lasted just 41 days in the role – the shortest stint in Premier League history – picking up one league win before getting his marching orders on Christmas Eve after losing to Wycombe Wanderers in the League Cup. His replacement, Alan Pardew, didn’t fare much better and the Addicks were ultimately relegated.
Ron Atkinson (Nottingham Forest, 1999)
Big Ron carved out a reputation as a Premier League relegation firefighter after steering Coventry and Sheffield Wednesday away from the drop in the mid-90s. The struggling Nottingham Forest team of 1998/99 felt like a bridge too far though and Atkinson didn’t inspire much confidence on his debut against Arsenal after climbing into the wrong dugout at the start of the game.
Things went from bad to worse when he then jokingly described Forest’s 8-1 mauling at the hands of Manchester United as a “nine-goal thriller”. He lasted less than four months in the job before resigning and quitting management altogether following Forest’s relegation.
Alan Pardew (West Brom, 2017)
Pards was parachuted into The Hawthorns in November 2017 following the dismissal of Tony Pulis as Baggies boss. His four-month reign at the club saw West Brom pick up just one win and eight points, while a February training camp in Barcelona descended into farce after four senior squad players stole a taxi during a team bonding night out.
Though Pardew would later claim interim Baggies manager Gary Megson stole his new manager bounce with a couple of wins prior to his appointment, a run of eight successive defeats ultimately proved to be Pardew’s undoing.
Remi Garde (Aston Villa, 2015)
A fringe player for Arsenal during the early part of Arsene Wenger’s reign, Garde came to the fore as manager of Lyon, where he displayed an ability to play attractive football on a budget while bringing through young players such as Alexandre Lacazette.
Aston Villa were the first to take a chance on the Frenchman, following the sacking of the hapless Tim Sherwood in November 2015. Yet from the off, Garde struggled to get the best out of Villa’s squad of Ligue 1 signings and youngsters, with his disciplinarian style failing to inspire stars like Jack Grealish. Villa were four points from safety when Garde arrived. By the time he left, 147 days later, they were 12 adrift after just two wins in 20 games.
Steve Kean (Blackburn, 2010)
When Venky’s purchased Blackburn Rovers in November 2010, it was supposed to herald the start of a new era. The subsequent sacking of Sam Allardyce, whose functional football had started alienating fans, hinted at better things to come. The immediate promotion of first-team coach Steve Kean didn’t.
By January of 2011, Kean had been handed a three-year contract, in no way connected to the fact that his agent, Jerome Anderson, had assisted in the Venky’s takeover. Although Rovers survived, a 10-game winless run should have served as a warning. It didn’t. By December 2011, Blackburn were bottom of the league and even local MP Jack Straw was calling for Kean’s head after collecting 32 points in his first 38 games.
Kean hung on, even after footage emerged online of him slagging off Big Sam in a bar. He was eventually relieved of his duties after guiding Blackburn down to the Championship and was later sued by Allardyce for calling him a “crook”.
Joe Kinnear (Newcastle, 2008)
In September 2008, Mike Ashley found a unique way to compound the misery for Newcastle fans following the abrupt departure of Kevin Keegan: hire a manager whose last job came at a relegation-bound Nottingham Forest in the Championship back in 2004.
Kinnear’s reign was a disaster from the off, with the manager earning the nickname JFK after an expletive-laden press conference during his first week at the club in which he attacked journalists over their reporting. Another blunder saw Kinnear refer to star midfielder Charles N’Zogbia as Charles Insomnia in an interview. By February 2009, he had stepped back due to ill health with Newcastle on course for a first Premier League relegation.