How the rest of the Premier League compares to Sir Alex Ferguson

This morning, the only ever-present manager in Premier League history – Sir Alex Ferguson – announced he will be stepping down at the end of the season.

Ferguson is the most successful of the 205 permanent managers in the Premier League, by a long way. However, the fact he has been able to hold his post for so long – in a time where the managerial merry-go-rounds have been in full force – may just rank up there with his highest of achievements.

Therefore, it is worth looking at how many managers have been utilised by every other club in the Premier League era, to see how they compare to Manchester United’s sole representative in 21 years.

1. Chelsea –  Fourteen (1992-present)

The Blues lead the way with 14 Premier League managers. That’s 14 for another few weeks anyway, before interim manager Rafa Benitez is replaced as well.

And what’s even worse for the Stamford Bridge-based club is that will then be the 10th appointment of Roman Abramovich’s tenure, which only started in 2003.

The Blues began life in the Premier League with Ian Porterfield at the helm and looked like surprise contenders for the maiden title in 1992/93. However, their early form fell away and Porterfield was duly sacked on February 15, 1993 – aptly gaining the distinction of being the first manager to be sacked by a Premier League club.

David Webb followed, before player-managers Glenn Hoddle, Ruud Gullit and Gianluca Vialli all ended up in the hotseat.

2001/2002 saw Claudio Ranieri join the Blues, but the arrival of Roman’s Roubles signalled the end for “The Tinkerman” – as he was replaced by Jose Mourinho in 2004.

“The Special One” won two Premier League titles – and a host of other trophies and accolades – while at Stamford Bridge. However, that still wasn’t enough for the Russian, who unexpectedly sacked Mourinho in September 2007.

Abramovich then appointed Avram Grant, who nearly gave the Blues’ owner his ultimate prize – but Chelsea lost the 2008 UEFA Champions’ League final on penalties.

Respected managers Luiz Felipe Scolari, Guus Hiddink, Carlo Ancelotti and Andre Villas-Boas all followed, but Europe’s top club prize still eluded the billionaire.

Once “AVB” was dismissed in March 2012, his assistant – club legend Roberto Di Matteo – was appointed interim manager until the end of the season. This would lead to a permanent appointment – after the Italian steered the club to FA Cup and Champions’ League glory two months later.

However, Abramovich once again proved that he is the master of shock dismissals when Di Matteo was shown the door earlier this week. Like Di Matteo, his replacement – ex-Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez – was appointed interim manager until the end of the 2012/13 season.

Despite being heckled by fans at every opportunity, Benitez has led Chelsea to the Europa League final and is on the verge of assuring Champions’ League qualification for next season.

2. Southampton – Thirteen (1992-2005, 2012-present)

Southampton’s current manager, Mauricio Pochettino, is their 13th manager in the Premier League and he will be hoping that that’s not a bad omen for his time in the St Mary’s dugout.

The Premier League founders lasted 13 seasons in the top flight, before suffering relegation in 2005. After dropping down to the third tier of English football, the Saints made a triumphant return to the top table in 2012.

They began their Premier League adventure under the guidance of Ian Bradfoot, before replacing him with Alan Ball in January 1994.

The World Cup winner steered Southampton to safety on the final day of his first season
and then a 10th place finish the year after.

However, despite his success, he was tempted away by Manchester  City in July 1995.

David Merrington and his successor, Graeme Souness both only managed one season each – with Souness’ stint mostly remembered for the signing of the infamous Ali Dia.

A 16th place finish led Souness to resign and Dave Jones came to The Dell to take the hot seat in 1997.

Jones’ time was marred by an arrest on charges of child abuse. The case put tremendous strain on him – leading the club to suspend him on full pay until the case was resolved, with ex-England manager Glenn Hoddle taking over in January 2000.

Despite the case being thrown out in its first week at court, Southampton paid off the remainder of Jones’ contract and replaced him with first team coach Stuart Gray – after Hoddle had returned to Tottenham Hotspur in March 2000.

Gray lasted just seven months, before being replaced by Gordon Strachan. During his first full season at St Mary’s, the Scot guided Southampton to an eighth-place finish and into Europe – as beaten FA Cup finalists.

Strachan resigned in February 2004 and Paul Sturrock was named as his successor. Sturrock would leave the club five months later and Steve Wigley – who had acted as caretaker after Strachan’s departure – was given the job full-time.

Wigley managed just one win in his 14 games in charge, before making way for ex-Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp, but he was unable to keep Southampton in the Premier League. Redknapp returned to Portsmouth in December 2005, with the Saints now in the Championship.

Nigel Adkins took over the reins at the then-League 1 club in September 2010 and guided the Saints back to the Championship at the end of his first season. He then became the first Southampton manager to achieve back-to-back promotions a year later.

However, he was – somewhat surprisingly – sacked in January 2013 and replaced by the ex-Espanyol manager, with Saints 15th in the table. Their form picked up and, while getting sucked back into the relegation dogfight, they should have enough to remain in the top division.

3. Newcastle – Twelve (1993-2009, 2010-present)

Newcastle came into the Premier League in its second season, as Division One champions. Under the stewardship of Kevin Keegan, the Magpies quickly became recognised as a serious force in the division – as they finished third in their first season, narrowly missed out on the championship in 1995/96 and claimed second place again the season after.

Despite assembling a team of ‘Entertainers’, Keegan was unable to win a trophy and resigned in January 1997.

Newcastle’s next two managers – Kenny Dalglish and Ruud Gullit – both had short reigns, although they did manage FA Cup final appearances before they were sacked and resigned respectively.

Next into the hot seat was long-time target, the decorated Sir Bobby Robson. Robson picked up the pieces, bringing Champions’ League football and a top-three finish back to Tyneside in his five years in charge.

Missing out on qualification for the elite European club competition – and an indifferent start to the following season – brought an end to his tenure, with then-Blackburn manager Graeme Souness replacing him in 2004.

Souness’ reign started well, but he soon fell out with a number of players. A steady slide down to the league over the two years he was in charge – despite spending more than £50mil – lead Souness to be shown the door in February 2006, with Newcastle 15th in the table.

Caretaker manager Glenn Roeder then oversaw an astonishing turnaround – as the Toon rose back up to seventh and gained entry into the following season’s Intertoto Cup – leading to his permanent appointment in May 2006.

Roeder won the 2006 Intertoto Cup with Newcastle, following a run to the UEFA Cup Quarter-finals. Their league form was inconsistent though and – after a run of just one win in 10 games – Roeder resigned in May 2007.

Sam Allardyce was the next appointment, who remained in charge despite Mike Ashley buying th club soon after his appointment. “Big Sam” lasted just eight months, before the sensational return of Keegan.

Keegan was gone in September 2008 – after the club signed Ignacio González on loan, against his wishes. The appointments of Joe Kinnear and Alan Shearer – in addition to Chris Hughton’s second caretaker spell – were not enough to see Newcastle fall out of the Premier League in May 2009.

After overseeing a Championship-winning season, Hughton – who was a permanent appointment by now – led the Magpies back into the Premier League in August 2010. However, despite a thumping 5-1 victory over arch-rivals Sunderland in October 2010, he would be controversially dismissed little over a month later, in favour of ex-West Ham and Charlton manager Alan Pardew.

Pardew’s appointment was met with hostility by the Newcastle fans, but he soon won many of them over – after convincing wins over Liverpool and West Ham and then a remarkable four-goal comeback against Arsenal.

In his first full season, Pardew’s side performed well above expectations and their fifth-place finish was enough to see them back into Europe.

However, Newcastle have struggled to repeat their heroics in 2012/13. Despite a run to the Europa League Quarter-finals, their league campaign never really got going and – with a gap of just three points above the relegation places with two games to go – it’s safe to say nearly every Newcastle fan will celebrate a fourth-bottom finish come the end of the season.

As for the others…

4. Tottenham Hotspur – 11 (1992-present)

5. Blackburn Rovers – 10 (1992-1997, 1998-1999, 2001-2012)

6. Portsmouth – 9 (2003-2010)

7. Manchester City – 9 (1992-1996, 2000-present)

8. Sunderland – 8 (1996-1997, 1999-2003, 2005-2006, 2007-present)

9. West Ham United – 8 (1993-2003, 2005-2011, 2012-present)

10. Aston Villa – 8 (1992-present)

10. Liverpool – 8 (1992-present)

12. Everton – 7 (1992-present)

13. Leicester City – 6 (1994-1995, 1996-2002, 2003-2004)

14. West Bromwich Albion – 6 (2002-2003, 2004-2006, 2008-2009, 2010-present)

15. Sheffield Wednesday – 6 (1992-2000)

16. Bolton Wanderers – 6 (1995-1996, 1997-1998, 2001-2012)

17. Queens Park Rangers – 5 (1992-1996, 2011-2013)

18. Norwich City – 5 (1992-1995, 2004-2005, 2011-present)

19. Derby County – 5 (1996-2002, 2007-2008)

20. Fulham – 5 (2001-present)

21. Leeds United – 5 (1992-2004)

22. Middlesbrough – 5 (1992-1993, 1994-1997, 1998-2009)

23. Nottingham Forest – 4 (1992-1993, 1994-1997, 1998-1999)

24. Crystal Palace – 4 (1992-1993, 1994-1995, 1997-1998, 2004-2005)

25. Wigan Athletic – 4 (2005-present)

26. Charlton Athletic – 4 (1998-99, 2000-2007)

26. Coventry City – 4 (1992-2001)

28. Bradford City – 3 (1999-2001)

29. Reading – 3 (2006-2008, 2012-2013)

30. Wolverhampton Wanderers – 3 (2003-2004, 2009-2012)

31. Arsenal – 3 (1992 – present)

32. Burnley – 2 (2009-2010)

33. Hull City – 2 (2008-2010)

33. Swansea City – 2 (2011-present)

33. Watford – 2 (1999-2000, 2006-2007)

36. Ipswich Town – 2 (1992-1995, 2000-2002

36. Sheffield United – 2 (1992-1994, 2006-2007)

38. Birmingham City – 2 (2002-2006, 2007-2008, 2009-2011)

39. Wimbledon – 2 (1992-2000)

40. Barnsley – 1 (1997-1998)

40. Blackpool – 1 (2010-2011)

40. Swindon Town – 1 (1993-1994)

43. Oldham Athletic – 1 (1992-1994)

44. Stoke City – 1 (2008-present)

45. Manchester United – 1 (1992-present)

(Where teams have the same amount, teams are ranked by shorter to longer stays in the Premier League. If these values are the same, the teams are jointly placed.)

The nonentity of Non-League football

As a follower of Non-League football since the age of four, it was always the case that the only way to find out the results of games was to be in attendance on the day. Even with the recent explosion of social media and official club Twitter feeds, there is still little or no coverage for the foundations of the English footballing pyramid. Continue reading

Noel Gallagher live at Newcastle Metro Arena

“The little things that made me so happy, well it’s good, yes it’s good, it’s good to be free.”

Tucked away in the chorus of a B-side for Oasis’ Whatever single, these words, from (It’s Good to) Be Free, took on a whole new meaning for the group’s lead songwriter last night.

For it was this song that the older of the Gallagher siblings used as a statement of intent against his former band-mates – as his new band used it as their opener. Continue reading