90min
World News

Managers who returned to their previous clubs - ranked

Ross Jackson
Kevin Keegan returned to Newcastle in 2008
Kevin Keegan returned to Newcastle in 2008 / Ian T. Horrocks/Getty Images
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They say you should never go back, though it seems almost every big football club in the world has decided to completely ignore that advice this summer.

Firing managers is hardly a new-found phenomenon in the beautiful game and it looks like trigger-happy owners have been at it for so long they've run out of people who haven't already managed their club when looking for a new boss.

Juventus and Real Madrid (again) have already gone crawling back to former bosses with their tail between their legs, with Tottenham potentially doing likewise in their hunt for a new leader.

With that in mind, 90min has taken a look back at the most memorable managerial reappointments, ranking them from best to worst.


10. Kevin Keegan (Newcastle)

Kevin Keegan returned to Newcastle in 2008
Kevin Keegan returned to Newcastle in 2008 / Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Yeahhhh that look kinda says it all, Kevin.

Keegan's first stint as Newcastle manager in the mid 90s was a memorable one to say the least. He left St. James' Park in 1997 with nothing but a promotion back to the top flight to his name, though his 'Entertainers' side were a brilliant watch.

Following stints with Fulham, Manchester City and England, he returned to Tyneside in 2008 and as was sacked just nine months later after basically doing nothing at the club.

Well, that's what happens when you expect Joey Barton to play like David Ginola.


9. Kenny Dalglish (Liverpool)

King Kenny returned to Anfield in 2011
King Kenny returned to Anfield in 2011 / Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Another manager who enjoyed a memorable first spell with a club before, well, we're not going to say ruining his legacy, but he certainly didn't do it any favours.

Kenny Dalglish won three league titles and two FA Cup as Liverpool boss in the 80s, so his reappointment in 2011 looked a great idea - it wasn't.

The Scotsman lasted less than 18 months in the job and left Anfield following a disappointing eighth-placed finish.

He did sign Luis Suarez to be fair - we're not going to mention the other rubbish he brought to the club.


8. Louis Van Gaal (Barcelona)

Louis van Gaal left Barcelona in 2000 before returning two years later
Louis van Gaal left Barcelona in 2000 before returning two years later / Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Before he came to the Premier League and turned into a walking meme, Louis Van Gaal twice took charge of La Liga behemoths Barcelona.

The Dutchman enjoyed a successful three years at Camp Nou before leaving in 2000 with two Spanish titles, a Copa del Rey and a UEFA Super Cup.

He would return just two years later, yet a shocking start to the 2002/03 season meant he was soon on his way out of the club once again after just eight months back in charge.


7. Claudio Ranieri (Roma)

Claudio Ranieri returned to Roma for a short stint in 2019
Claudio Ranieri returned to Roma for a short stint in 2019 / Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

One of the many nomads of football management.

Claudio Ranieri lasted less than 18 months at Roma having been appointed in 2009, though his first season in Rome saw him come within inches of securing the club's first Scudetto since 2001.

Roma came calling once again in March 2019 and after a shaky start he managed to steady the ship, but a flurry of late results wasn't enough to notch a place in next season's Champions League and the club decided not to extend his deal.


6. Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid)

Zinedine Zidane's second spell at Real Madrid didn't last long
Zinedine Zidane's second spell at Real Madrid didn't last long / Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Obviously Real Madrid feature on our list.

The kings of reappointing managers turned to Zinedine Zidane in March 2019 just ten months after he'd left. Ten months!

The Frenchman's first spell at the helm of Los Blancos was one of the best periods in the club's history as he guided them to a La Liga crown and three consecutive Champions League triumphs.

His second stint in charge was nowhere near as glittering, though he still secured the Spanish title in his first season back at the Santiago Bernabeu.


5. Jose Mourinho (Chelsea)

Jose Mourinho endured a mixed return to Chelsea
Jose Mourinho endured a mixed return to Chelsea / Clive Mason/Getty Images

The Special One's initial stint in charge of Chelsea will go down in Premier League history as he led them to their first top-flight English title in 50 years before retaining their crown the following year.

It soon all went pear-shaped, though that didn't stop Roman Abramovich donning his rose-tinted glasses before knocking on Mourinho's door once again in 2013.

The Portuguese tactician yet again delivered success as Chelsea were crowned Premier League champions in 2015, but yet again it went pear-shaped and he was soon heading for the exit door mere months into their title defence.

Rinse and repeat.


4. Tony Pulis (Stoke)

Tony Pulis led Stoke to the Premier League on his return to the club
Tony Pulis led Stoke to the Premier League on his return to the club / Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

The best advertisement for any club shop in the world.

Tony Pulis was at the helm of Stoke City for less than three years before being handed his marching orders in 2005 with the club languishing in mid-table in the second tier.

The Welshman was reappointed just a year later and his second spell in charge was certainly more memorable than the first.

He guided the Potters to the Premier League in just his second season back at the club and stabilised them in the top flight as well as taking them to an FA Cup final before leaving in 2013.


3. Fabio Capello (Real Madrid)

Fabio Capello returned to Real in 2006
Fabio Capello returned to Real in 2006 / Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Ahhh Real Madrid again, what a surprise.

There aren't many managers who spend long at the Santiago Bernabeu and neither of Fabio Capello's reigns lasted longer than about a year.

However, that's not to say he didn't enjoy success in Madrid, leading them to the La Liga title in both of his single seasons at the helm, though arguments with the club's hierarchy and disagreements over his style of play meant both tenures were cut short.

Weird club.


2. Harry Redknapp (Portsmouth)

Harry Redknapp won the FA Cup in his second spell with Portsmouth
Harry Redknapp won the FA Cup in his second spell with Portsmouth / CARL DE SOUZA/Getty Images

From Portsmouth to Southampton and back to Portsmouth - no-one does treachery quite like 'Arry.

Redknapp oversaw Pompey's promotion to the Premier League in his first spell at Fratton Park before leaving for their bitter south coast rivals.

He spent less than a year at the Saints before being re-appointed as Portsmouth boss and having secured an impressive eighth-placed finish in 2008 he then led them to their second ever FA Cup triumph.

It's all gone a bit wrong from Portsmouth since then but Redknapp's second spell in charge will never be forgotten.


1. Marcello Lippi (Juventus)

Marcello Lippi had two spells in Turin
Marcello Lippi had two spells in Turin / Getty Images/Getty Images

Marcello Lippi is another of the world's great travelled managers and so it'll come as no surprise that he's partial to the odd reappointment.

Lippi spent the best part of five years with Juventus in the 90s before leaving Turin in 1999 with three Serie A titles and a Champions League triumph to his name.

The Italian tactician was reappointed in 2001, though his second stay would last just three years despite winning the Scudetto in both of his first two seasons back at the club.

One season without a trophy and it's curtains at a club like Juve. Still, a successful reappointment on the whole.



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