Flores joins list of returning coaches
They say never go back but Quique Sanchez Flores was confirmed as Watford boss on Saturday for a second time. The question is: will he prove a success?
To some observers, the sacking of Javi Gracia was harsh after leading the club to last term’s FA Cup final. However, their form had been lacking for some time and Flores’ role was confirmed a mere half an hour after his fellow Spaniard had got the bullet from the famously trigger-happy Pozzo family.
The 54-year-old coached the Hornets in their first season back in the Premier League in 2015-16, leading the team to a 13th-place finish.
Now, he’s back in the hotseat and, with Watford having one point from their first four games of the Premier League, can he do better than some of the other managers who have returned to former clubs?
“I'm really happy to come back.” 💬
A welcome message from the new boss… pic.twitter.com/uhks4Bd9Nv
— Watford Football Club (@WatfordFC) September 9, 2019
Newcastle’s team of the mid-90s were a joy to watch, rightfully being nicknamed ‘The Entertainers’ for their extravagance.
Despite squandering a 12-point lead in the Premier League, Kevin Keegan remained fondly remembered on Tyneside, enough to be welcomed back to St James’ Park in 2008.
The ‘Messiah’ has never been known for keeping a cool head and his second spell lasted just eight months after clashing with director of football Dennis Wise.
Never known for keeping his emotions in check, even the most cool-headed coach may have struggled to get anything from the signings of Xisco and Nacho Gonzalez.
Funnily enough, the man who replaced Keegan as a player at Liverpool and then at Newcastle as a manager was Kenny Dalglish.
His first managerial role was as player-manager at Anfield and he won three First Division titles, only to step down after the tragic fallout from the Hillsborough disaster inevitably took its toll.
Dalglish went on to lead Blackburn to the Premier League title in 1995 and, after being an academy coach and club ambassador back at Liverpool, he was appointed caretaker boss in January 2011.
A decent start suggested good times ahead but, after being confirmed in the role permanently, he lasted just one season as an eighth-place finish was deemed not good enough despite winning the EFL Cup and losing the 2012 FA Cup final.
While he later returned for a spot on the board, King Kenny’s managerial days are firmly behind him.
When compiling a list like this, it is impossible to leave out Jose Mourinho. The Portuguese made a splash in his first Chelsea press conference after joining from Porto, when he branded himself a ‘Special One’, and the arrogance and swagger he displayed from the off made the English media fall head over heels for him.
After two Premier League titles, it all ended in tears as he stormed out in September 2007 after falling out with owner Roman Abramovich. Eventually, he returned, pitching back up at Stamford Bridge in 2013, and a third Premier League title followed in 2014-15.
Surprise, surprise – it all went wrong again second time around and, with no one left to argue with, Mourinho walked in December 2016.
The man who perhaps takes the gold medal in this contest is Harry Redknapp.
‘Arry was in charge of Portsmouth from 2000-2004, leading them to the Premier League for the first time. Despite things apparently going well, a fallout with Milan Mandaric saw him depart and, to the surprise of all on the south coast, he pitched up at bitter local rivals Southampton.
Taking the Saints down probably endeared him to the Pompey faithful and the now 72-year-old was back in 2005, leading the club to glory in the 2008 FA Cup final before he left for Tottenham later that year.