Here is the final 3 unexpected managerial appointments:
…took the club from the brink of relegation…
Making the short trip from one club over to their fierce rivals will not sit well with any group of supporters. But making the trip back again would leave most scratching their heads. That’s what Harry Redknapp did when he left Portsmouth in November 2004 and signed for Southampton. He did, however, return to his “spiritual home” at Fratton Park when he re-signed for the club a year later.
His second spell at Portsmouth was far more eventful. He took the club from the brink of relegation to a memorable away win at Old Trafford, hosting AC Milan in the Europa League and finally rounding it off with the FA Cup.
…promised a galaxy of stars…
When the Venky’s London Limited purchased Blackburn Rovers at the back-end of 2010, they promised a galaxy of stars and ambitions that far exceeded Blacburn’s previously limited means. Surprisingly they also dismissed experienced Premier League manager Sam Allardyce only to hire first-tem coach Steve Kean for the top job.
Regardless of the shortcomings of Allardyce – and there were a few – he was a strong character, able to motivate and build successful sides. Naturally, the idea of bringing in the unknown Steve Kean to take the club forward was an odd decision. Up until this point Kean has struggled in the Premier League, sitting third from bottom as well as being on the receiving end of much of the supporters’ anger.
It remains to be seen whether Steve Kean will see out the rest of the season at Blackburn, but whether the clearly clueless Venkys give their full backing, he will rightfully go down as one of the more surprising appointments in recent Premier League history.
…due to the rivalry …
A surprise appointment due to the rivalry between Alex McLeish’s former club Birmingham City and his new employers Aston Villa. Despite winning last years Carling Cup against heavy favourites Arsenal, McLeish was unable to avoid the drop with The Blues.
His hiring by Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner left Villa supporters angered and also sparked some controversy at the circumstances at which he left his post as manager of Birmingham City.
His steely, determined character, however, might not be enough to win over the full backing of all Villa supporters.
Images courtesy of Alex McLeish, Harry Redknapp and Steve Kean