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Going, Going, Gone: The Shortest Managerial Reigns in Football

September 07, 2015

- Grant Whittington

Football management is a volatile profession, although many would have you belief that it is only during the last 20 years or so that chairmen have become so fickle when hiring, firing and retaining managers. This at odds with what we know about previous generations of football, however, where some of the most controversial and fiery managers in history often clashed with strong-minded chairmen. In fact, some of the shortest and most tempestuous managerial reigns actually came before the Premier League era.

3 of the Shortest and Most Famous Managerial Reigns

With this in mind, here are three of the shortest and most controversial managerial reigns in football history: –

Brian Clough (Leeds United, 44 days in 1974)

A managerial reign so sensational that they based a film on it (The Damned United), legendary leader Brian Clough could scarcely have expected what was to unfold after being appointed manager of Leeds United. After being selected to replace the much-loved and successful Don Revie, Clough’s abrasive manner upset many established players and triggered 44 days of tumult, arguments and ultimate anarchy. This ended with Clough’s departure, before he took up residence at East Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest and won two European Cups.

Steve Coppell (Manchester City, 33 days in 1996)

(Image URL: http://img.thesun.co.uk/multimedia/archive/01667/04coppell_1667584a.jpg)

After enjoying relative success as Crystal Palace manager, Steve Coppell was selected to take over the troubled hot-seat at Manchester City. The club was struggling, however, after a disappointing EPL campaign and a high turnover of managerial candidates. Coppell’s tenure was brief and traumatic, lasting just 33 days and six games before the manager quit citing stress as the primary reason for his departure. A sad and cautionary tale, Coppell never quite recovered from the trauma of resigning his post under such circumstances while City went on to experience a period in the wilderness before returning to the summit of the Premier League.

Martin Ling (Cambridge United, 9 days in 2009)

(Image URL: http://www.squawka.com/news/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/3242340.jpg)

Ling, formerly a silky midfielder with Swindon Town (remember their brief stint in the Premier League in 1994, anyone?) was appointed the manager of Conference National side Cambridge in 2007. Just like his predecessor, who had enjoyed some initial success in the role, Ling could forge a viable working relationship with the clubs volatile chairman George Rolls and quit citing irreconcilable difference after just nine days. While rolls was the only constant in the equation, it was Ling who bit the dust after a bizarre and fleeting reign at the helm.

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