The world of a management is hectic, stressful and incredibly demanding. Yet for some, it is an addiction. The merry-go-round culture of football management means that sometimes the same names and faces pop up in a new dugout every season.
As Neil Warnock began managing his 17th different club, we look at five of the most much travelled managers in football
A Premier League legend at Manchester United, Steve Bruce’s managerial career has always seen him in the dugout in England. His first four jobs at Sheffield United, Huddersfield, Wigan and Crystal Palace were short stints, building a reputation of someone who was not settling into any of his clubs.
That was until he joined Birmingham City in 2001, where his side went on a terrific run and ended up in the play-offs and won them, beating Norwich on penalties. Bruce had not been in the job long, but he had secured promotion for the Midlands side. Birmingham lasted four seasons in the Premier League but were relegated in 2005/06. Bruce immediately bounced back to the top flight with City, but left his post in November 2007 after contract talks stalled which left his future uncertain.
This was when Wigan poached Bruce and paid an, at the time, record fee of around £3 million in compensation. In his first season in charge, he kept Wigan in the Premier League on the penultimate day of the season. He then followed this up with an 11th place finish the following campaign.Embed from Getty Images
He moved on again, joining Sunderland and had a successful spell, finishing 13th and then 10th in the Premier League before he was sacked in November 2011. He took some time out of the game before returning at Championship side Hull City in June 2012. Bruce led another club to promotion in his first season in charge, and kept the side in the Premier League in 2013/14. On top of that, Hull reached the FA Cup final against Arsenal. Despite losing, Hull qualified for the Europa League.
Things went south the following campaign and Hull were relegated, however Bruce, like he did at Birmingham, took Hull straight back up via the play-offs in the 2015/16 season. However, he left not long after amid claims he was frustrated by a lack of transfer activity at the club.
Aston Villa was his next club, he was appointed in October 2016 and steadied the ship, as Villa were still finding their feet after being relegated from the Premier League. He eventually rebuilt the club and reached the play-off final in 2018, only to lose to Fulham at Wembley. Discontent grew from the Villa faithful and Bruce was sacked in October 2018.
Bruce’s next job at Sheffield Wednesday was brief. Following the passing of both parents and two operations, he found things tough at Hillsborough. Newcastle then came calling in response to the departure of Rafa Benitez and Bruce’s head was turned. Bruce finally was in charge of his boy-hood club and lead Newcastle to a 13th placed finish in a season that was curtailed by COVID. In the season behind closed doors, Newcastle finished in 12th position, but things at United were about to change.
In October 2021, the club was bought for £300 million by a consortium led by the Saudi Arabian government’s sovereign wealth fund. Bruce kept his job to see him surpass his 1,000th match in management, but a change was days later when Bruce left by mutual consent.
His latest job saw him at West Bromwich Albion. He lasted just eight months, and was sacked in October 2022, with Albion 22nd in the Championship.
One of the most iconic managers in England is back in the hot seat, this time up in Scotland at Aberdeen. It’s is his 20th different managerial job, but the 75 year-old is still going strong and is keen to still be involved within the game.
Warnock’s career in management has been very successful. He holds the record for the most promotions, with a remarkable eight. Warnock has become one of the most successful managers in the English game purely for getting the best out of every squad he has managed.
His longest lasting job came at his boyhood club Sheffield United. He was at the helm from 1999 to 2007 and in that time won promotion to the Premier League in 2005/2006, after missing out on promotion in the play-off final in 2002-03. Warnock resigned from his post after the Blades were relegated on the final day against Wigan, with West Ham staying up after a famous win at Old Trafford.
Warnock is known for his promotions but he is also a specialist in the fire-fighter role – keeping a team in their division. He’s done this on many occasions and was seen as a miracle man in football. Warnock said that keeping Rotherham in the Championship in 2016 was the biggest achievement in his managerial career.
Roy Hodgson was a fairly unknown quantity in English football before he rocked up to Craven Cottage and took over Fulham in late 2007. His previous jobs in England had been stints at both Bristol City and Blackburn, but he made his name in the Premier League in London. Hodgson has had a fairly peculiar managerial journey, having managed in in Sweden, Finland, UAE, Switzerland, Italy and Denmark. But the job he did at Fulham put him in the spotlight.
When he took over the West London side, they were two points off safety in the Premier League. As the weeks wore on, Fulham looked doomed for the drop. They needed a miracle with five fixtures left against Reading, Liverpool, Manchester City, Birmingham and Portsmouth. Fulham had not won away all season and turned up to Reading needing to win, to give themselves just a glimmer of hope, they did.
The following week, Fulham were beaten by Liverpool and it was another step backwards. They had three games left to save themselves. At half time against Manchester City they were 2-0 down and set for relegation. But a second-half turnaround gave Fulham life once more, winning 3-2 in dramatic style.
Hodgson went on to win his next two games and Fulham survived in what is seen as one of the greatest escapes in Premier League history. From there, Hodgson took them from almost certain relegation to European football, finishing 7th just a year later. Hodgson went on to have an iconic Europa League run and made it all the way to the final, knocking out the holders Shakhtar Donetsk and Juventus. They were to be denied by Atletico Madrid in the final in Hamburg, but Hodgson’s success grabbed the attention of Liverpool.
Though it did not work out at Anfield, Hodgson’s stock was still high. He left his post at Liverpool in January 2011 after only joining the Reds in July 2010. West Bromwich Albion was the next destination for Hodgson and he guided the Baggiest to an 11th place finish, followed by a 10th place finish the season after. But during that final season at the Hawthornes, Hodgson had been approached by the FA for the position of England manager.
Hodgson accepted the role. His spell as England manager was fairly underwhelming. Euro 2012 ended in penalty heartbreak against Italy and in the 2014 World Cup, England did not make it out the group. Euro 2016 was the end of Hodgson in the national hot-seat after defeat to Iceland in the round of 16.
Since then, Hodgson managed Crystal Palace and Watford but returned to the Eagles after the sacking of Patrick Vieira. He is still in post, but it may be his last job in the game, but with these legendary veterans of the game, you can never say never.