Skip to main content

Ranked! The shortest managerial reigns in Premier League history

crystal

11. Pepe Mel, West Bromwich Albion - 9 January 2014 to 12 May 2014 (120 days)

The former Real Betis manager replaced Steve Clarke at the Hawthorns but was sacked in May of that year after West Brom limped to a 17th-place finish, three points above the relegation zone.

Known for an expansive playing style in Spain, Mel’s Baggies tenure was beset by off-the-field issues like the sacking of Nicolas Anelka and a dressing room bust-up involving Saido Berahino and James Morrison.

The football wasn’t great either – West Brom won just three of their 17 games under Mel.

10. Steve Wigley, Southampton - 23 August 2004 to 10 December 2004 (107 days)

Wigley was surprisingly handed the Saints job on a permanent basis two games into the 2004-05 campaign following the abrupt departure of Paul Sturrock.

A youth team coach at the time, Wigley’s only previous managerial experience of note had come with non-league Aldershot back in the mid-90s but he was welcomed in some quarters by fans wary of rumours linking Glenn Hoddle with a return.

His tenure lasted 14 games, including one memorable win over Portsmouth but little else besides.

9. Claudio Ranieri, Fulham - 14 November 2018 to 28 February 2019 (106 days) 

Claudio Ranieri, Fulham

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.

8. 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.

7. 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.

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) 

Bob Bradley, Swansea

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)

Les Reed, Charlton

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.

While you’re here, why not take advantage of our brilliant subscribers’ offer? Get the game’s greatest stories and best journalism direct to your door for only £10.25 every three months – that’s just £3.15 per issue! Save money with a Direct Debit today

NOW TRY...

QUIZ Can you name the 50 youngest ever Premier League managers?

NEW ISSUE Check out our new issue, a Euro '96 special

GUIDE Premier League live stream best VPN: how to watch every game from anywhere in the world

New features you'll love on FourFourTwo.com