Who are the five longest-serving current league managers?

Wycombe Wanderers
gareth-ainsworth-wycombe

Morecambe have announced the resignation of manager Jim Bentley, ending his run as the longest-serving manager in the top four leagues.

Bentley took over from Sammy McIlroy in May 2011 and his remit every season was virtually the same – keep the club in the EFL on a shoestring budget.

He did that and more during his time on the Lancashire coast and has written himself into club folklore after spending nine years there as player previously.

11th was his best finish in the 2014/15 season, though a lack of investment has led to his frustration and ultimately resignation.

Now with Bentley gone, who are the longest-serving managers?

Gareth Ainsworth – appointed by Wycombe Wanderers on 24/09/12

Ainsworth is the longest-serving manager having been appointed as caretaker following Gary Waddock’s sacking.

It is the probably the best example of keeping the faith in a young manager – in his second season the Chairboys finished 22nd in League Two and escaped relegation to the National League on goal difference.

Three more seasons passed, including a failed play-off campaign, before they finally won promotion to League One in 2018.

Wycombe currently sit second in League One after beating Rotherham 1-0 on Saturday.

Eddie Howe – appointed by Bournemouth on 12/10/12

Howe first took over at Bournemouth in December 2008 and did such a brilliant job keeping them afloat before he left for Burnley in 2011.

He went back to Dean Court and in his seven years since has taken them from League One to the Premier League with a very shrewdly assembled squad, developing players such as Callum Wilson and Steve Cook along the way and landing the Championship title.

In Bournemouth’s four seasons in the top flight, the lowest they have finished is 16th and they have rarely looked like going down.

Meanwhile, they now have the financial clout to sign the likes of Phillip Billing and Jeffrey Lerma – all while playing an excellent brand of football.

Sean Dyche – appointed by Burnley on 30/10/12

Burnley needed a good replacement for Howe and they certainly got one in Sean Dyche.

Again he was afforded the time to build a squad capable of promotion and he did so in 2014.

The Clarets went down a year later but Dyche was kept on and now they are a fully established Premier League side having won promotion straight back to the top flight.

The high point for the Lancashire club was a seventh-place finish in 2018 which led to a Europa League qualifying campaign, but they missed out on the tournament proper.

Mauricio Pochettino – appointed by Tottenham on 27/05/14

Not many would have predicted the success of the then little known Pochettino when he inexplicably took over from Nigel Adkins at Southampton.

However, his exciting brand of football and penchant for developing younger players meant Tottenham came calling and he has been a big success despite recent struggles.

A trophy has evaded him but the Argentine has always had to work with a restricted budget in comparison to the other big guns and guiding Spurs to successive seasons in the Champions League – and an appearance in last season’s final – is a respectable record to have.

John Coleman – appointed by Accrington Stanley on 18/09/15

Like Howe, Coleman is in his second spell – he was initially Stanley boss from 1999 to 2012, in which time he took them into the Football League in 2006.

However, the Liverpudlian yearned for a new challenge and was allowed to depart for Rochdale in 2012.

Yet the grass wasn’t greener as he only lasted a year at Spotland before being sacked for winning just 14 of his 52 games in charge.

A year later he returned to Accrington and since taking over, he won the League Two title in 2018 and is now aiming to make them a solid League One club.

Some manager and clubs fit like a glove and Coleman is one of those – and quite amazingly the next manager in line is Jurgen Klopp, after joining Liverpool the following month.

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