The 10 fiercest managerial feuds in Premier League history – involving Jose, Rafa, Fergie and Big Sam
Jose Mourinho vs Arsene Wenger
Perhaps the most long-running managerial feud in the Premier League, Mourinho and Wenger’s disdain for one another has always seemed to extend beyond their respective teams’ on-field battles. The Portuguese has frequently poured scorn on his Arsenal counterpart’s idealistic outlook, which stands in stark contrast to his own win-at-all-costs pragmatism.
Nine years after calling Wenger a “voyeur”, Mourinho told reporters the Frenchman was a “specialist in failure” in 2014 after the Arsenal boss had suggested the then-Chelsea honcho was fearful of falling short. If Jose has dropped the more stinging verbal jabs, at least Wenger's touchline shove gives him the upper hand physically.
Alex Ferguson vs Kenny Dalglish
Ferguson and Dalglish were born just a few miles apart in Glasgow, and both men went on to be associated with a major club in the northwest of England. The two Scots therefore have plenty in common, but their competitive nature meant rivalry was inevitable during their managerial careers.
Manchester United manager Ferguson locked horns with Dalglish when the latter led Blackburn to the title in 1995, while they also clashed during Dalglish’s second spell in charge of Liverpool, particularly after Luis Suarez was found guilty of racially abusing Patrice Evra.
Perhaps the most memorable jibe actually from the often taciturn Dalglish in the pre-Premier League era, when he told the press to speak to his baby daughter Lauren rather than Fergie ("You'll get more sense out of her") after Liverpool and Manchester United had drawn at Anfield. Yet behind the verbal sparring, a lingering respect always seemed to exist between these two old foes.
Arsene Wenger vs Sam Allardyce
Wenger and Allardyce are on better terms these days, but there was a time when the two managers were taking shots at each other every season.
The rivalry was particularly pronounced when Allardyce was in charge of Bolton, whose physical approach often unsettled Wenger’s Arsenal. The Frenchman hit out at such tactics – usually after a negative result – while Allardyce was never shy in criticising the Gunners manager’s “arrogance” and supposed influence over referees.
Manuel Pellegrini vs Alan Pardew
This was more of a one-time spat than a long-standing grudge, but it’s worthy of inclusion for Pardew’s curious choice of insult alone. “Shut your noise, you f**king old c**t,” was the term of endearment employed by the then Newcastle coach when he and the seemingly inoffensive Manchester City boss Pellegrini clashed at the Etihad Stadium.
There was actually another flashpoint between the pair the following year, when Pardew’s Crystal Palace faced City at Selhurst Park, but the current West Brom boss managed to bite his tongue on that occasion.