Football NewsWednesday 23rd November 2016

9 managers who returned to former clubs – and what happened next

9 managers who returned to former clubs – and what happened next

It's gone pretty well for Steve Mac upon his surprise return to Derby so far – four wins from his first six matches have propelled the Rams to more respectable mid-table confines, with one eye on the play-offs. It doesn't always work out so well, though – and we've ranked these nine men's experiences below...

9. Kevin Keegan, Newcastle United

1992-1997 and 2008

King Kev very nearly guided Newcastle United to the Premier League title in his first spell in charge, but the Magpies fell away in the run-in and ultimately squandered a 12-point lead. Keegan still departed St James' Park as a hero in 1997, though, and he was welcomed back with open arms over a decade later after spells in charge of Fulham, England and Manchester City.

He only lasted eight months, however: Keegan resigned over disagreements on signings with director of football Dennis Wise, who helped to purchase Xisco and Nacho Gonzalez without the knowledge of the manager.

8. Kenny Dalglish, Liverpool

1985-1991 and 2011-2012

Dalglish became Liverpool player-manager shortly after the Heysel disaster in 1985, guiding the Reds to a league and cup double in his first season and winning the title twice more in 1988 and 1990.

It would be 20 years until he set foot in the Anfield dugout again, with Dalglish initally appointed on an interim basis following Roy Hodgson's sacking in 2011. A solid start saw him land the job on a permanent basis, but the Scotsman was sacked after an eighth-place finish in his only full season in charge.

7. Francesco Guidolin, Palermo

2004-05, 2006-07, 2007 and 2007-08 (No, really)

Italian chairmen aren't exactly known for their patience and understanding, but Palermo owner Maurizio Zamparini is an extreme example even by his countrymen's trigger-happy standards. Guidolin's four separate spells in charge of the Sicilians in four years makes a little more sense in that context, although quite why the recently-dismissed Swansea boss kept going back for more is anyone's guess.

Guidolin's first exit - after winning Serie B and then guiding Palermo to sixth spot in the top tier - was of his own accord, and he returned to the Stadio Renzo Barbera after an ill-fated spell at Monaco in 2005/06. He was sent packing by Zamparini after a poor run of form in April 2007 before being brought back just a month later, but a disappointing end to the campaign saw him sacked again.

His successor Stefano Colantuono failed to oversee a turnaround, though, so Guidolin was brought back for a fourth spell in November. He lasted four months this time around, before finally deciding enough was enough. He's steered clear ever since.

NEXT: Mr Ostrich, Mr Special and the Sgt Major

6. Nigel Pearson, Leicester City

2008-2010 and 2011-2015

Pearson first joined Leicester in 2008 following their relegation to League One and successfully took them back to the Championship at the first time of asking. Yann Kermorgant's failed Panenka ended their Premier League dream in the play-offs in 2010, and Pearson joined Hull after being replaced by Paulo Sousa at what was then the Walkers Stadium.

A change in ownership paved the way for Pearson's return the following year, and Leicester were promoted as Championship champions in 2014. The ex-Southampton boss then oversaw a remarkable late-season revival to keep the Foxes in the Premier League, but off-the-field issues led to his departure that summer. While Pearson had done a fine job at Leicester, they didn't do too badly without him.

5. Jose Mourinho, Chelsea

2004-2007 and 2013-2015

Mourinho built himself up at his unveiling as Chelsea's new manager in 2004, describing himself as a "special one" after winning the Champions League with Porto earlier that year. He lived up to the tag at Stamford Bridge, winning the league comfortably in his first two seasons, before things began to turn sour in the 2006/07 campaign. The ill-feeling between Mourinho and Roman Abramovich had become too much to bear by the start of the former's fourth year at the helm, and a home defeat by Rosenborg led to his exit.

After winning more trophies with Inter and Real Madrid, Mourinho - now the self-christened "Happy One" - returned to Chelsea in 2013. Another Premier League title followed in his second season, but things unravelled spectacularly last term and Mourinho found himself out of a job by Christmas. Despite having joined Manchester United in the summer, it wouldn't be too much of a surprise to see him have another go in west London at some point in the future.

4. Fabio Capello, Real Madrid

1996-1997 and 2006-2007

Both of Capello's two stints at the Santiago Bernebeu were short, but that doesn't stop him being one of Real Madrid's more successful managers. The Italian won La Liga in both 1997 and 2007, helping to develop Raul and Roberto Carlos in his first spell and going on to coach Fabio Cannavaro, David Beckham and Ruud van Nistelrooy in his second.

Capello was never universally popular in Madrid, though, with a perceived negative style of football criticised by both fans and the media. He was consequently sacked despite finishing top of the table in the summer of 2007; given that los Blancos have won the league only twice since then, his firing may have been premature.

NEXT: Promotions and cup glory

3. Tony Pulis, Stoke City

2002-2005 and 2006-2013

Pulis' first stint at Stoke came under Gunnar Gislason's ownership, with the Welshman simply tasked with keeping the club in the second tier. While Pulis fulfiled his remit year after year, he was criticised by Gislason for failing to sign enough foreign players, which paved the way for his sacking in 2005.

The Welshman joined Plymouth Argyle shortly after, but Peter Coates' takeover at Stoke prompted Pulis' return just a year later. His second spell was hugely successful, the former defender guiding the Potters into the Premier League and keeping them there, as well as reaching an FA Cup final in 2011. Since departing the Bet365 (née Britannia) Stadium in 2013, Pulis has steered Crystal Palace and West Brom away from the drop zone.

2. Harry Redknapp, Portsmouth

2002-2004 and 2005-2008

Returning to a former club is an uncommon enough occurrence as it is, but sandwiching a stint at said side's major rivals in between those two different spells is something else entirely.

Redknapp took Portsmouth to the Premier League in 2003 and kept them up a year later, but a falling-out with chairman Milan Mandaric saw him depart soon after. Pompey's south-coast rivals took advantage and lured Redknapp to St Marys; he was unable to prevent them from dropping into the Championship, though, and opted to return to Portsmouth in 2005.

His second stint brought an FA Cup winner's medal, Portsmouth defeating Cardiff in the 2008 final at Wembley, before Redknapp left that summer.

1. Vittorio Pozzo, Italy

1912, 1921, 1924 and 1929-1948

Pozzo managed his country on no less than four occasions: in 1912, 1921 and 1924 he headed a board of selectors, before taking sole control between 1929 and 1948. Italy won their first ever World Cup on home soil during that spell, and retained the trophy by defeating Hungary in the final in 1938.

Brazil were overcome in the semi-finals that year, with Italy's opponents having already booked their plane from Marseille to Paris - where the final was to be played - the next day. Pozzo used that nugget of information as a key part of his team talk, and the Azzurri duly ran out 2-1 winners before catching a train to the capital.

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