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Santini's Spurs reign was forgettable at best.

Top Five Shortest Managerial Reigns In Premier League History

Dan O’Mahony takes us through the shortest managerial reigns in Premier League history. As expected, the list features some top class talents!

Life is difficult for a Premier League boss. They have to deal with deluded fans, America’s Next Top Model style histrionics from players (Yaya Toure’s cakegate saga springs to mind) and back stabbing stingy boards. However, there is an upside in all this in that they get mouth watering wages and huge pay offs when the axe inevitably falls.

The turnover of managers in the Premier League is truly shocking. Taking out Arsene Wenger, the current bosses are barely in their jobs. Even the great Sir Alex Ferguson was on the verge of being sacked two years into the Manchester United job. If it wasn’t for Mark Robins scoring a late goal against Nottingham Forrest in the 1990 FA Cup 3rd round the whole course of history would have been changed (in the eye of United fans anyway).

Here we take a look at the five shortest reigns of Premier League managers. These names won’t be found in the manager of the month archives in fact most of them barely lasted a month.

5. Jacques Santini, Tottenham Hotspur

Date: Jun 2004-Nov 2004

Length: 13 games

Santini came to White Hart Lane off the back of leading the French national team to an ignominious water final defeat against Greece in the Euro 2004 tournament.  Spurs started the 04/05 season reasonably well and the Frenchman wasn’t seemingly under any pressure.

However, he decided to quit for ‘personal reasons’, even though there were rumours of heave against him behind the scenes. What makes Santini a unique figure on this list is that he  jumped rather than was pushed. His assistant Martin Jol stepped into the breach and enjoyed three years at the helm, a relative eternity in the world of football management.


4. Chris Hutchings, Wigan Athletic

Date: May 2007- Nov 2007

Length: 12 games

Hutchings was a long term servant for Wigan Athletic having been assistant to Paul Jewell from 2001 to 2007. After a successful stint which saw the club promoted and survive in the Premier League,Hutchings was the perfect candidate to take over from Jewell…….or maybe not.

While the start of the 07/08 season went brilliantly with three successive wins and an unprecedented 1st place on the table, a run of six defeats saw the club plummet down the rankings.

Chairman Dave Whelan didn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel and sent him packing in November after just 12 games in charge.


Lee's reign was disastrous to say the least.
Lee’s reign was disastrous to say the least.

3. Sammy Lee, Bolton

Date: Apr 2007- Oct 2007,

Length: 11 games

Affectionately known as little Sam as opposed to ‘Big’ Sam Allardyce by the Bolton fans, Lee performed ably as an assistant to the latter for a two-year spell before taking the reins just before the end of the 2006/7 season.

Regrettably he was out of his depth as a No.1 and his reign lasted just 11 games with his charges managing one solitary win.

The former Liverpool man had a annoying habit of  looking for the silver lining after every chastening defeat, and this ‘always look on the bright side of life’ approach obviously didn’t go down well with a board that unceremoniously handed him his P45.


2. Paul Sturrock, Southampton

Date: Mar 2004- Aug 2004

Length: 9 games

The Scot came in as Gordon Strachan’s replacement having had a very successful stint at Plymouth Argyle. The move up the road however didn’t really suit Sturrock and he never got going with the Saints, as a backstabbing board put an end to his reign just two games into the 03/04 season.

The old ‘departed by mutual consent’ line was bandied about but it is as believable in this context as when a friend says it after splitting up with his girlfriend. Nine games in total and out the door for poor ol’ Paul.


Santa Clueless lasted just seven games.
Santa Clueless lasted just seven games.

1. Les Reed, Charlton Athletic

Date: Nov 2006- Dec 2006

Length: 7 games

Reed was first team caoch and took over after Iain Dowie’s short spell in charge early in the 2006/7 season.

As befitting the no.1 on this list, Reed’s reign was a complete disaster. The side managed just one win and came up short against the might of League 2 side Wycombe Wanderers in the League Cup.

His inept tenure was derided from all quarters, with the press labelling him Santa Clueless. The man was finally put out of his misery on Christmas eve around the same time as all other turkeys.

Dan O’Mahony, Pundit Arena.

Featured Image By PhilippeF (Santini Baup) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.Sammy Lee Image Photo: Philip Gabrielsen [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

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