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12 of football's ludicrously short managerial reigns

Paul Scholes Oldham

Oh, Scholesey: it could have been beautiful. But alas, his romantic return to boyhood club Oldham Athletic has been cut short after just 31 days. 

In a statement, the former Manchester United midfielder sobbed: “The fans, players, my friends and family all knew how proud and excited I was to take this role. In the short period since I took on the role it unfortunately became clear I would not be able to operate as I intended and was led to believe prior to taking on the role."

The thing is, though, some of these gaffers would have loved to have been in the job for so long. Others couldn't wait to get out... 

Marcelo Bielsa, Lazio (2 days)

P0 W0 D0 L0

On July 6, 2016, Bielsa was announced as the new manager of Serie A side Lazio. On July 8, 2016, Bielsa resigned. The Argentine was annoyed by what he saw as broken promises in the transfer market, so quit before he'd even got started. A furious Lazio tried to sue him for €50m. 

Brian Clough, Leeds, 1974 (44 days)

Played 7 Won 1 Drew 3 Lost 3

The short but infamous stint they made a film (and book) about. Brian Howard Clough arrived at Elland Road to take over from Don 'The Don' Revie, who'd led Leeds to the league title the previous season and moved on to the England job.

Clough made enemies of everyone he encountered from the outset and was sacked after taking four points from a possible 12. He went to Nottingham Forest and set about winning two European Cups. 

Leroy Rosenior, Torquay, 2007 (10 minutes)

P0 W0 D0 L0

Appointed just as a consortium took over the club, and when the ink on the deal was dry they wanted their own man. In and out inside 600 seconds: a record unlikely to be beaten. 

Les Reed, Charlton, 2006 (41 days)

P8 W1 D1 L6

Reed's 41-day stint as manager at The Valley saw him win just once and oversee a League Cup defeat to League Two Wycombe Wanderers. The man they nicknamed Les Misérables was sacked on Christmas Eve and replaced by Alan Pardew. He later did quite all right as Southampton's astute head of football development, mind, earning the south coast club approximately £86bn from transfers to Liverpool alone (ish). 

Alex McLeish, Nottingham Forest, 2012/13 (40 days)

P7 W1 D2 L4

Fresh from taking Birmingham down into the Championship, McLeish replaced Sean O'Driscoll with the brief of taking Forest into the Premier League. He lasted 40 days, a disagreement with the Kuwaiti owners over transfer policy leading to his departure "by mutual consent".

Steve Coppell, Manchester City, 1996 (33 days)

P6 W2 D1 L3

In between spells in charge at Crystal Palace, Coppell took the top job at Manchester City. Back then, City were synonymous with epic underachievement, but Coppell packed it in after six games citing stress. 


Paul Hart, QPR, 2009/10 (28 days)

P5 W1 D2 L2

Only ever a stop-gap appointment, yet few expected Hart to be done and dusted at Loftus Road in less than a month – bar, perhaps, the itchy-fingered owner Flavio Briatore. Hart was another who left by "mutual consent". 

Micky Adams, Swansea, 1997 (13 days)

P3 W0 D0 L3

Swansea went through six managers inside 18 months in the 1990s, with Adams lasting less than two weeks. He walked away after promised transfer funds failed to materialise – although astonishingly, he wasn't the club's shortest-serving manager during that period. 

Dave Bassett, Crystal Palace, 1984 (4 days)

P0 W0 D0 L0

In the job so short a length of time that Bassett hadn't even signed a contract at Palace before changing his mind and heading back to Wimbledon. 

Martin Ling, Cambridge United, 2009 (9 days)

P0 W0 D0 L0. (Ling later returned following the departure of the club’s chairman and managed the club for 87 games)

Taking the job after his predecessor quit following "issues" with the chairman, Ling took over at the Conference club and lasted all of nine days. He too had irreconcilable differences with the man at the top. 

Kevin Cullis, Swansea, 1996 (8 days)

P2 W0 D0 L2

In and out at Swansea in just over a week and two games. Cullis was either unceremoniously sacked or he resigned, depending on who you listen to. 

Billy McKinlay, Watford (8 days)

P2 W1 D1 L0

It all happened so quickly. First he was appointed first-team to coach to Oscar Garcia, then got given the gig full-time three days later when the Spaniard stepped down for health reasons. So, having relinquished his role as assistant manager for Northern Ireland and overseeing two unbeaten matches, he was promptly binned off for Slavisa Jokanovic (who later got them promoted, in fairness). 

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