When results go south one person is always left holding the can. In some cases, quite literally – as these embarrassing soccer sackings go to show that the sport has no shame in castigating their coaches in the most humiliating fashion possible.
The football world is a fickle business. Managers are only as good as their last result and a bad run of form can make the difference between a multi-million dollar contract and a life of picking up the groceries on a Tuesday morning. The pain and ignominy of it all.
Owners wield their power over coaches as if they were a leading character on Game of Thrones. Sacked in the tunnel, sacked via text message, sacked on live television – whatever method is the most brutal and ruthless will do just fine thank you very much.
In many instances this is a disgrace to treat dedicated men who give their lives to the craft this amount of disrespect. Then on the other hand, a lot of the coaching fraternity is packed with giant egos that have an inflated opinion of themselves and their standing in the game. When they’re taken down a peg or two, no one should feel too sorry for them.
For the record, it should also be mentioned how sizable a payout many of these coaches receive as they’re being shafted out the back door. Unlike other regular jobs where a sacking will be followed at best by a small severance, recently unemployed soccer managers will be gifted millions for doing a lousy job. It’s a strange dichotomy if you stop to think about it long enough.
So here they are – the 15 most embarrassing soccer sackings ever seen.
16 Carl Fletcher
It’s heartbreaking watching Plymouth Argyle coach Carl Fletcher having to explain that he’s been sacked. “I’ll spend a bit of time with the kids and have some downtime.” The young manager was fighting back tears and was visibly distraught. Imagine being told by your employer you had been fired before facing a number of journalists on live television and radio to talk about it. It’s an ugly business sometimes. Needless to say Fletcher hasn’t managed since and is more than likely scarred by the experience.
15 Harry Redknapp
Old cockney bruiser ‘Arry Redknapp is known in the UK as the game’s wheeler and dealer. Just don’t put that to him on live television or he’ll tell you to “f*** off!” The coach’s lengthy list of clubs also includes a long history of apparently quitting before being fired. This happened in one form or another at Portsmouth, Southampton, Tottenham and QPR where he supposedly left by “mutual consent” due to an ongoing knee injury, all before linking himself with a return months later. Whereas other managers have isolated embarrassing sackings, Redknapp makes it his trademark.
14 Bruce Rioch
Before the Internet people had a handful of options of obtaining news and current affairs. Television, newspaper and radio were the regular stopovers for most, with the advent of Teletext a popular advent in the UK in the 1990's. Teletext provided news on text on your TV screens, which is where former interim Arsenal coach Bruce Rioch found out he lost his job at Queens Park Rangers. No hashtags, no replies, just a simple headline reading, “Rioch sacked by QPR.” It’s a safe guess to say Rioch doesn’t miss the old Teletext system.
13 David Moyes
Two-and-a-half decades at the top of the pops had made Manchester United a legendary club. The void left by Sir Alex Ferguson put huge amounts of pressure on the next man to keep the ship steady and guide it to trophies after a bedding in period. For former Everton boss David Moyes, this was his moment to prove that he could handle the step up and be the leader the club needed to take into the future. But he couldn’t even last one season, being fired only 11 months in. He became a figure of ridicule and the Red Devil’s still haven’t recovered since Sir Alex left.
12 Trevor Francis
Former Crystal Palace Simon Jordan made some strange decisions during his time in East London, one of them being the timing of his sacking of coach Trevor Francis back in 2003. Speaking with the press shortly after it went down, Jordan explained, “Trevor Francis didn’t take it very well. He just sat there quietly and said ‘But it’s my birthday.’ I had no idea, what could I do? I said ‘Many happy returns, Trev,’ and gave him his P45 (employment certificate).” For he’s a not-so-jolly fellow!
11 Leroy Rosenior
If 10 minutes isn’t a record for gaining and losing a job, then we don’t know what is. Leroy Rosenior had been unveiled as the new Torquay manager in England’s lower leagues, only to find out literally 10 minutes into the job that the club’s shareholder had sold a 51% stake to hand the team and keys over to a new set of hands. With the new consortium wanting a different appointment, Rosenior had the embarrassment of being welcomed by everyone before saying his goodbyes all before lunch.
10 Martin Jol
Under the chairmanship of Daniel Levy, Tottenham Hotspur have forgotten more managers they’ve fired than other clubs have hired down the years. Dutch coach Martin Jol found out during a UEFA Cup game against Getafe in 2007 that he had lost the confidence of the board at half time no less! With Spurs hovering just above the relegation zone is wasn’t a surprise the club pulled the trigger, only that they’d made the call at the half of a game. Must have been a bad 45 minutes.
9 Saban Yildirim
Unless you speak Turkish then this video won’t give the events justice, but the body language says more than words ever could. Taking part in a live television phone-in show, Sakaryaspor coach Saban Yildirim was expecting to hear from some disgruntled fans and go back to his day job. Then all of a sudden one of the club’s board members called to say, “Saban humiliated the club, so he is removed.” Yildirim replied, “They could have told me before, or after the show. It’s a real pity.”
8 Sir Bobby Robson
Shortly after hanging the boots up in 1968, Bobby Robson took the hot seat at West London outfit Fulham. Even though he would go onto achieve wonderful things in management, it was a bumpy start for the coach. One day as he was traveling through the city outside Putney railway station, he came across a copy of the Evening Standard which had the headline “Robson Sacked.”
7 Betao Alcantara
Goias coach Betao Alcantara was not enjoying a stellar run of form in charge of the club in January 2012, but if a decision on his future was to be made he would have expected a face-to-face meeting. But you know already that wasn’t the case. He told The Guardian that Rio Verde from the hierarchy phoned up a local radio station to announce his sacking live on air. “It was weird,” said Alcantara. “I put the radio on when I got in from training and it said I was sacked. In 30 years in football I could never have imagined it.”
6 Carlo Ancelotti
Poor Carlo hadn’t even left the building before he was given the chop. The former Chelsea manager, who has just been appointed to succeed Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich, had a less than gracious departing of the ways from the blues in 2011. After playing away at Everton on the final day of the campaign, Ancelotti had sat down at the post match press conference to discuss his future. Moments later waiting at the end of the stairs was a member of staff who told him to start planning his next season elsewhere. Wonder why he ruled himself out of a return this season?
5 Nigel Adkins
It was a long hard day on the South Coast for Saints manager Nigel Adkins. He’d just witness his side earn a great 2-2 result at Chelsea and came home to catch up on the news. This is where he found out his employer had already agreed to kick him out and put Argentine Mauricio Pochettino in his place. Adkins had won promotion in two successive seasons to take Southampton from the 3rd tier to the top, as well as keeping them outside the relegation zone, only to find out he’d lost his job to an unknown man from overseas on television. Absolutely brutal.
4 Gus Poyet
Depending on where and when you are reading this piece, we strongly advise that you put down whatever food or drink you are currently enjoying before reading on. During his spell at Brighton, Uruguayan coach Gus Poyet had to deal with an very unsavory incident when one of his players left their excrement in the Crystal Palace dressing room before a Championship encounter. To add insult to injury, Poyet was notified of his sacking when he was sitting down as a pundit on BBC television. The whole thing just stinks really …
3 Malky Mackay
When Cardiff City decided to part ways with Scottish gaffer Malky Mackay, many were shocked and saddened that one of the supposed good guys in football had been given his marching orders. Then it was revealed why he had gone, and boy, had the public changed their tune. A series of homophobic, racist and sexist text messages (the ultimate trifecta) acted as a breakdown in relationship with the ownership, but wouldn’t become public until he tried to apply for the Crystal Palace job.
2 Jose Mourinho
Sacked shortly after stuffing his face full of Christmas turkey and ham, The Special One’s tumultuous time at Stamford Bridge came to an end this month in the most acrimonious of circumstances. The divisive Portuguese coach had the defending champions teetering one point outside the relegation zone and as the speculation grew that his job was under scrutiny, few expected owner Roman Abramovich to pull the trigger on the same day as the club’s Christmas party. Santa’s sack came complete with a multi-million dollar payout and a stocking full of black coal. On your way Jose!