How high-profile players have fared in their first managerial jobs

As the speculation around Steven Gerrard’s possible appointment at MK Dons intensifies, we look at how other high-profile players have fared in their job in management

Zinedine Zidane

It was no real surprise when club legend, Zidane, became the manager of Real Madrid Castilla in 2014. However his start in management was far from smooth. After an indifferent first season, reports suggested that Zidane was close to the sack. This didn’t happen and somehow he was promoted to first team manager after 18 months in charge. Zidane has flourished since his promotion, winning a Champions League trophy and equalling the record for consecutive Spanish league wins (16).

James Beattie

A far cry from the glitz and glamour of Madrid, Beattie took the reins of lowly League 2 side, Accrington Stanley in 2012. Beattie guided the club to an impressive 15th in both of his full seasons in charge, operating on one of the smallest budgets in the league. However a poor start to the following season saw him sacked just 6 league games. Despite this failure, Beattie is still regarded as a bright young coach, and is now working under Garry Monk at Leeds United.


Gus Poyet

After brief coaching spells at Swindon and Tottenham, Gus Poyet took his first managerial job at Brighton & Hove Albion in 2009. Poyet immediately spearheaded the clubs promotion to the Championship, with 13 games to spare! Soon after, Brighton became a strong force in the Championship, eventually losing to bitter rivals Crystal Palace in the Play-Off Semi-Finals. A fall out with the board led to Poyet’s sacking at the end of the season. Unfortunately, unsuccessful spells at Sunderland, AEK Athens and Real Betis has seen Poyet’s stock plummet at an extreme rate.

Gary Neville

After impressing in his punditry role on Sky Sports, Neville was unexpectedly appointed as the manager of Valencia in 2015. Performing this role alongside his coaching duties for England, Neville struggled greatly, winning only 10 of 28 games in charge. Fan protests and a 7-0 defeat to FC Barcelona made his sacking inevitable. Soon after, Neville and England were humiliated by Iceland in the European Championship, leading to his exit of this role as well. Since, Neville has stated that he does not envisage a return to coaching for some time.

John Barnes

After an illustrious playing career, John Barnes took over at Scottish giants Celtic in his first job in 1999. However, after an unsuccessful half a season, he was sacked and labelled one of the worst managers in the club’s history. 8 years later, Barnes returned to club management at Tranmere Rovers where he lasted even shorter, just 14 games! It should come as no surprise that Barnes has not managed since.


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