Warnings from history for Solskjaer and Lampard
Manchester United and Chelsea have opted for former players as their permanent managers but it isn’t always a recipe for success.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scored 126 goals in 336 appearances for United during his playing days, helping the Old Trafford outfit land six Premier League crowns, a Champions League title and two FA Cups along the way.
Lampard is Chelsea’s all-time record scorer with 211 goals and won the Champions League and three Premier League titles as a Blues player.
Solskjaer and Lampard have endured tough starts to the season in their respective hot-seats as both United and Chelsea have just five points to show from four games so far.
The jury remains out on just how successful the two club legends will fare as managers, and former players have gone on to have great success after taking charge at their old clubs – Pep Guardiola at Barcelona and Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone being perfect examples.
However, for every Guardiola and Simeone there is one of the following former players who have struggled as bosses at their old stomping grounds.
Alan Shearer, Newcastle United
Alan Shearer is Newcastle United’s record goalscorer, and the leading scorer in the Premier League, but his brief foray into management at the end of the 2008-09 season proved unsuccessful.
The former England striker took charge at his boyhood club at St James’ Park in what were exceptional circumstances – he took over from head coach Chris Hughton while permanent manager Joe Kinnear recovered from heart surgery – with the remit of keeping Newcastle in the Premier League.
Shearer was unable to save Newcastle as his eight games in charge yielded just five points and he didn’t get the job on a permanent basis afterwards.
To date, that brief stint is the former frontman’s only spell as a manager and Shearer is currently working as a pundit for the BBC.
Kenny Dalglish Part Deux, Liverpool
As a player, Dalglish made over 500 appearances for Liverpool, scoring 169 goals and helping them claim six league titles and three European Cups.
Dalglish’s first spell as manager at Anfield was hugely successful as he won three league titles in just under six years in charge before resigning midway through the 1990-91 season.
The former Scotland striker was the club’s manager and talisman during the most traumatic time in the club’s history, the Hillsborough disaster, and his reputation in the red half of Merseyside and indeed Liverpool cannot be sullied but that doesn’t mean his return two decades later wasn’t a mistake.
Following Roy Hodgson’s departure in January 2011, Dalglish was handed the Liverpool job on a caretaker basis before being handed a three-year deal at the end of the season.
The Scot did guide Liverpool to the League Cup in the 2011-12 season, ending a six-year trophy drought, and the FA Cup final but they could only muster a very underwhelming eighth-place finish in the Premier League and Dalglish was dismissed at the end of the campaign.
12 – Liverpool have won 12 consecutive league games for the first time since October 1990 under Kenny Dalglish – they’ve never won 13 in a row in their league history. Task. pic.twitter.com/fAmjwgv8OD
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 31, 2019
Owen Coyle, Bolton Wanderers
Bolton opted against appointing former player Kevin Nolan this week as Keith Hill has taken charge of the now League One club but it was a different story in 2010.
Owen Coyle’s move from Burnley to Wanderers caused such a hullabaloo at the time it caught the attention of Daily Mail columnist Piers Morgan, who was so hacked off by his ‘betrayal’ of the Clarets he branded Coyle a ‘mercenary’.
A brief look at Coyle’s Wikipedia page suggests his time at Bolton was a footnote in a journeyman career but that doesn’t tell the full story. The striker was a key man in the Wanderers side that secured promotion to the Premier League under Bruce Rioch and scored in the 1995 play-off final in an incredible 4-3 extra time win over Reading.
After taking charge in January 2010, Coyle did manage to keep Bolton in the top flight in his first half season in charge but that was as good as it got for the former Republic of Ireland international.
The following season Bolton came in a respectable 14th in the league but were humiliated in the FA Cup as they were thrashed 5-0 by Stoke City in the semi-finals.
A year later, Bolton’s 11-year stay in the Premier League came to an end as they were relegated on the final day of the season and Coyle was shown the door in October after a poor start to the season in the second tier.