Having proven himself to be the most articulate and erudite football pundit on TV (which admittedly is akin to being renowned as the world’s tallest dwarf), Gary Neville this week won plaudits by agreeing to step outside of his comfort zone to manage Spanish La Liga side Valencia.
But is it really such a good idea?
Neville’s finest campaign in an England shirt undoubtedly came at Euro 1996 (Gazza’s goal against Scotland, Stuart Pearce’s vein-bursting penalty celebration, Three Lions and all that malarkey). Yet every veteran of that squad who has turned his hand to management has come to grief. Can Gaz Nev avoid joining this roll of dishonour?
England’s tree-trunk-thighed left back survived two uneven years in charge of Manchester City before taking the wheel at his beloved Nottingham Forest, where a run of just three wins in 23 games saw him fired. Well, did they really expect advanced tactical acumen from a bloke nicknamed Psycho?
Captain Courageous on the pitch, Captain Catastrophe off it. Adams got Wycombe relegated in 2003, won just four games from 21 in a troubled spell at Portsmouth, and was last heard of being fired by a club in Azerbaijan. Yes, that’s Azerbaijan.
When Steve McClaren left Middlesbrough in 2006 to become England’s Wally with the Brolly, Southgate succeeded him… and presided over relegation. Yet he is currently making a half-decent fist of managing England’s Under-21s so there may yet be hope.
April Fool’s Day is known for bad jokes, as are Newcastle United, and the two combined in 2009 when the Toon asked their bullet-headed Prodigal Son to save them from relegation, please. Eight games and one win later they were firmly in the Championship and Shearer was back mumbling banalities on Match Of The Day.
Sentences that nobody is ever likely to say: “That Paul Gascoigne seems like a nice, safe pair of hands.” Gazza lasted just 39 days at Kettering Town in 2005 before owner Imraan Ladak sacked him, complaining that he “drinks nearly every day.” “Nearly?” an affronted Gazza should have replied.
“As a player, Paul Ince loved to be called The Guv’nor. As a Guv’nor, he was crap”
Appointed in 1999, Platty laboured through two years at Nottingham Forest notching up a rotten win percentage of 35% and enduring countless opposition fans’ renditions of “David Platt’s gonna get the sack” before doing exactly that. He’s now at Pune City. Who? You know, Pune City. Indian Super League Pune City. Yep, them. Current star Pune player: former Wolves, Birmingham and somehow England defender Roger Johnson.
As a player, he loved to be called ‘The Guv’nor”. As a Guv’nor, he was crap. Having become the Premiership’s first black manager at Blackburn Rovers in 2008, Ince lasted just six months and won three matches out of 17. His descent was precipitous; fired from Notts County after losing nine games in a row, he then lasted less than a year at Blackpool, including a five-match stadium ban for violent conduct towards a match official.
Barmby was doing OK at Hull City in 2011, winning 13 out of 33 games, but was fired after slagging off the club’s owners to the local press. He is now coaching a local Sunday morning team. Which is nice.
After a spell as an international poker player, Sheringham took over at league two Stevenage before the start of this season and has so far notched up a derisory 26% win percentage. It’s unlikely that Gaz Nev can do any worse than that.
Or can he…?
Loaded freelance reporter Ian Gittins writes about music for several newspapers and websites. He is also a best-selling author who specialises in ghostwriting autobiographies. Follow him on Twitter at @iangittins