The 11 most uninspiring Premier League mid-season manager appointments
Gary Megson (Bolton, 2007)
Bolton tried and failed to recruit Steve Bruce, Graeme Souness and Chris Coleman before settling on Megson in October 2007. Megson soon set about sucking all the fun out of an underperforming Wanderers side who had qualified for Europe the previous year.
Nicolas Anelka was sold to Chelsea in the January transfer window, while despite reaching the last 16 of the UEFA Cup for the first time in their history, Megson opted to field a weakened side against Sporting Lisbon in order to focus on an upcoming six-pointer with Wigan.
Bolton duly lost to a 10-man Latics team and while they survived and went on to achieve a 13th place finish the following year, by December 2009 Megson was relieved of his duties with the club struggling and the manager having failed to win over the fans.
Rene Meulensteen (Fulham, 2013)
A respected first-team coach who earned plaudits for his work behind the scenes at Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson, Meulensteen first rocked up at Craven Cottage in November 2013 as head coach under Martin Jol. Though press speculation was rife that Meulensteen was being groomed for the top job, Jol initially dismissed such claims – until he was ousted less than three weeks later after a run of five straight defeats.
Fulham fans were immediately worried, especially when reports emerged of bizarre coaching techniques in his previous managerial job at Brondby, where Meulensteen would encourage players to connect with their ‘spirit animal’. Meulensteen made a slothful start, winning just four of his 17 games in charge. By February 2014 he was gone, with the equally disastrous Felix Magath arriving in his place.
Paul Jewell (Derby, 2007)
Jewell took the reins at Pride Park in November 2007 against the advice of David Moyes, who had urged him to turn down the Derby job having witnessed, first-hand as Everton boss, just how bad Billy Davies’s Rams team were.
However Jewell had been in this position before, successfully steering both Bradford and Wigan away from Premier League relegation. Moyes was convinced Derby, who had only won once before the sacking of Davies, would struggle to claim another victory that season. He was right too.
Despite a raft of January signings that included Robbie Savage, Laurent Robert, and Roy Carroll, Jewell failed to register a single Premier League win as Derby boss and they went down with a record-low 11 points. Jewell would later describe 2008 as “the worst year of my life”. Most Derby fans would probably agree.
Christian Gross (Tottenham, 1997)
After seeing the impact made by Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, Tottenham chairman Alan Sugar decided to go continental with his replacement for the outgoing Gerry Francis. Despite enjoying some success with Grasshoppers in Switzerland, Gross’s appointment was a big shock. In his first press conference, he appeared like a rabbit-in-the-headlights, brandishing a London Underground ticket, referring to it as the “ticket to the dreams”.
It proved to be more of a nightmare. Gross lost his first game as Spurs boss to newly promoted Crystal Palace and went on to oversee a 6-1 thumping at the hands of Chelsea. Though he survived that first season in charge, defeats in two of their first three Premier League fixtures the following year saw him given the elbow.
Terry Connor (Wolves, 2012)
Wolves fans endured a torrid 2012 that began with the sacking of Mick McCarthy in February following an abject 5-1 home defeat at the hands of bitter rivals West Brom that came off the back of a run of one win in 13 games.
But while chief executive Jez Moxey was keen to calm any anxieties by insisting the job would be given to an experienced manager, supporter concerns grew when it was decided that Terry Connor, McCarthy’s former assistant and a man with no managerial experience, would take over until the end of the season.
What followed was an astonishing run of 13 games, four points and precisely zero wins under Connor, who looked out of his depth from the off and cut an emotional, teary-eyed figure in his final press conference after the club's Championship relegation was confirmed.