Ranked! The 10 shortest managerial reigns in Premier League history
FourFourTwo looks back at 10 hapless Premier League managerial reigns that were short and rarely sweet
Premier League managers are ill afforded time to turn things around if their club is underperforming, with results essential and required immediately in modern day football.
Consequently, there are plenty of Premier League managers being given the boot pretty sharpish, allowing for plenty of contenders among the shortest reigns in the league's history - even making four months nowadays seems like an achievement.
10. Claudio Ranieri, Fulham - 14 November 2018 to 28 February 2019 (106 days)
The Italian won just three of his 16 games in charge of a Fulham side whose free-flowing style of football quickly deserted them upon promotion from the Championship.
Striker Aboubakar Kamara’s antics – including fighting with teammate Aleksandr Mitrovic during a squad yoga session - hardly helped.
However, the Tinkerman’s back-to-basics, rotation-heavy approach didn’t sit well with supporters either, many of whom could be heard chanting “you don’t know what you’re doing” during his final game in charge – a 2-0 defeat to fellow relegation strugglers Southampton that left Fulham 10 points off safety and all but doomed.
9. Tony Adams, Portsmouth - 28 October 2008 to 8 February 2009 (106 days)
Adams was inexperienced in management, save for a mid-2000s spell with Wycombe, but the task of replacing the Spurs-bound Harry Redknapp at Pompey was made more difficult by the sales of Jermain Defoe and Lassana Diarra a few weeks into the season.
Though he came close to overseeing a memorable win over AC Milan in the UEFA Cup – the Rossoneri ultimately salvaged a 2-2 draw with two late goals – that was as good as it got during a tenure that featured just two wins in 16 league games.
8. Colin Todd, Derby County – 8 October 2002 to January 14 2002 (98 days)
Derby legend Colin Todd replaced the late, great Jim Smith as Rams’ boss with the club in dire straits.
Second-bottom with five points, Derby’s predicament was deepened further by a lack of transfer funds and rumours linking talented youngsters like Chris Riggott, Malcolm Christie and Seth Johnson with moves away.
Though Johnson soon departed for a forgettable stint with Leeds, Riggott and Christie remained but could do little to prevent Todd’s reign from unravelling over three miserable months that culminated in an FA Cup defeat to fourth-tier Bristol Rovers.
7. Nathan Jones, Southampton - 10 November 2022 to 12 February 2023 (95 days)
Nathan Jones will go down in Premier League managerial folklore, for all the wrong reasons.
Arriving from Luton tasked with keeping Southampton in the Premier League, Jones left with the club rooted to the bottom of England's top flight, after winning just one match in eight Premier League games, losing all of the other seven, Jones then started coming out with some outlandish statements in press conferences.
He cryptically suggested he had to "compromise" on certain principles while at the club, before claiming he will no longer do that anymore despite failing to elaborate on what he had to abandon at St Mary's.
The Welshman also highlighted his inherent self-belief, stating he was one of the best coaches in Europe: “Statistically, there weren’t many better than me around Europe in terms of aggression, clean sheets, defending your box, balls in the box, expected goals – all those things.”
However, the crowning moment of all came when he proceeded to chuck young midfielder Romeo Lavia under the bus after losing 2-1 to 10-man Wolves in his final game in charge.
"Was Romeo Latvia running the football game? Was he was out-battling and dominating everything, so was it justified [fans booing the substitution]? If it was, they were watching a different game to me."
Oh, and that's not to mention his slight on Welsh women.
6. Terry Connor, Wolves - 24 February 2012 to 30 June 2012 (91 days)
Terry Connor had the air of a dead man walking from the moment he replaced his former boss and pal, Mick McCarthy at Wolves.
Chief executive Jez Moxey had pledged to appoint someone experienced to replace McCarthy but went against his word and lived to regret it.
Wolves picked up four points from 13 miserable winless games under the increasingly glassy-eyed Connor, finishing bottom with a club-worst 25 points. Connor was demoted back to assistant that summer but left a few months later.
5. Quique Sanchez Flores - 7 September 2019 to 1 December 2019
In a spot of bother under Javi Gracia - who'd let them to an FA Cup final only months previously - Watford turned back to Quique Sanchez Flores, who'd taken charge of their first campaign back in the Premier League.
Flores had previously led the Hornets to a midtable finish but his second spell at Vicarage Road was nothing short of disastrous.
Watford picked up just one win under the Spaniard, memorably getting humbled 8-0 by Manchester City and losing a key relegation six-pointer against Southampton before he was relieved of responsibilities.
4. Bob Bradley, Swansea City - 3 October 2016 to 27 December 2016 (84 days)
Bradley beat the likes of Ryan Giggs to land the Swansea job yet his penchant for Americanisms – no one calls away fixtures “road games”, Bob – quickly drew ridicule from the fans and press. Worse still, he failed to solve Swansea’s defensive woes, picking up two clean sheets from 11 games in charge.
Described by chairman Huw Jenkins as a "long-term appointment" who would "stabilise matters on and off the pitch" Bradley was sacked after picking up just eight points from 33, shipping an alarming 29 goals along the way.
3. Frank de Boer, Crystal Palace - 26 June 2017 to 11 September 2017 (77 days)
After enduring a miserable 85-day stint in charge of Inter Milan, De Boer must have assumed things couldn’t get any worse. But they could and they did.
Taking over from Sam Allardyce, the Dutchman was tasked with implementing a sexy new brand of football at Selhurst Park but flopped badly, with the Eagles losing their first four league fixtures of the season without scoring a single goal.
Sacked after 77 days – a whopping eight fewer than at Inter – De Boer’s Palace reign actually represents the shortest in terms of games.
2. Rene Meulensteen - Fulham - 1 December 2013 to 14 February 2014 (75 days)
A respected coach at Manchester United, Meulensteen had endured a fairly disastrous spell in charge of Brondby a few years prior to getting the Fulham gig where he once encouraged his players to “find their spirit animal” before one game, going around each, in turn, asking them about their chosen species.
In any case, he failed to get the Cottagers roaring again, winning just three of his 13 league games in charge. He was replaced soon after by Felix Magath. That didn’t’ work out too well either.
1. Les Reed, Charlton Athletic - 14 November 2006 to 24 December 2006 (41 days)
Reed literally wrote the book on football management – 'The Official FA Guide to Basic Team Coaching' – before literally becoming the worst football manager in Premier League history.
Reed’s six-week tenure saw the club dumped out of the League Cup by Wycombe, recording just one league win along the way. Painfully out of his depth, Reed’s increasingly withdrawn demeanour on the touchline earning him the nickname "Les Misérables" in the press.
The misery ended after just 41 days with Reid sacked on December 24. Christmas came early for Charlton fans that year but the gift waiting for them under the tree? Alan Pardew as his replacement.
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