Foot­ball’s 26 maddest sackings There’s cows on the pitch, they think it’s all over, it is now! When gaffers got the heave-ho in style

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If you are one of the 469 peo­ple who watched Spain vs Nige­ria on BBC Three in the 2013 Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup, your pa­tience was re­warded at half-time.

“While we’ve been on air, Gus Poyet has been told that his con­tract has been ter­mi­nated at Brighton & Hove Al­bion,” de­clared host Mark Chap­man, look­ing to his left at, er, Gus Poyet. “And you found out, Gus, be­cause a mem­ber of our pro­duc­tion team printed off the state­ment and gave it to you.”

It’s fair to say the for­mer Chelsea and Tot­ten­ham mid­fielder looked more than a lit­tle miffed. “I think the BBC have got a great story, no?” the Uruguayan parped. “I’ve had no com­mu­ni­ca­tion, text or phone call since I’ve been here. Noth­ing.”

Trou­ble had been brew­ing since the Seag­ulls lost the Cham­pi­onship play-off semi-fi­nal to ri­vals Crys­tal Palace. Poyet had sent a club-wide email af­ter the 2-0 loss in the sec­ond leg, lam­bast­ing the hand­ing out of 28,000 pa­per clap­pers to home fans and de­mand­ing the cul­prit who had smeared ex­cre­ment on the floor of the away dress­ing room come for­ward. What a s**t way to go.


Fear is a good thing for a man­ager to have in his ar­moury. Play­ers, so the the­ory goes, will run fur­ther and try harder if they’re scared of the coach’s re­ac­tion to an in­sipid dis­play.

Fiorentina boss De­lio Rossi, how­ever, es­chewed such psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare for, er, ac­tual war­fare, with the Vi­ola 2-0 down just 32 min­utes into a mean­ing­less Serie A game against al­ready-rel­e­gated No­vara in May 2012. De­lio didn’t take too kindly to ex-par­ti­zan play­maker Adem Lja­jic sar­cas­ti­cally ap­plaud­ing him af­ter be­ing sub­sti­tuted, so the irate Ital­ian smacked Lja­jic round the chops and a knock­out right hook was pre­vented only by the gaffer’s quick-think­ing as­sis­tants.

Pres­i­dent An­drea Della Valle sacked Rossi af­ter the fi­nal whis­tle, with Lja­jic vis­i­bly shaken.

“My ac­tions were de­plorable, but un­der­stand­able, hu­manly,” Rossi said. “I’m no saint, but I have never al­lowed my­self to hit any­one, not even my chil­dren.” Well, that’s OK then.


The foot­ball phone-in is a cu­ri­ous busi­ness – end­less litres of hot air about pas­sion and com­mit­ment with­out any­thing much re­ally be­ing said. So when Sakaryas­por coach Sa­ban Yildirim agreed to go on the Turk­ish equiv­a­lent of 606 in 2011, he prob­a­bly ex­pected to merely fend off some an­gry rants from sup­port­ers, at worst. In­stead, his af­ter­noon proved fate­ful as the name of board mem­ber Cihan Yildiran popped up on the switch­board. And like a real-life episode of The Ap­pren­tice, Cihan bel­lowed: “Sa­ban hu­mil­i­ated the club, so he is re­moved from his po­si­tion im­me­di­ately!” Both the man­ager and the show’s host tried to re­mon­strate, but to no avail. Awk­ward...


Roger Sikhakhane’s time at Port Eliz­a­beth-based side Chippa United is al­most im­pos­si­ble to un­tan­gle. To cut a long story short, the South African had four dif­fer­ent stints at the club over three years and was sacked af­ter ev­ery brief spell by the Chilli Boys’ board, with whom he seemed to be con­stantly at war.

Af­ter his sec­ond ax­ing, he even called them racists. “They were not happy that we were win­ning and tried to sab­o­tage us,” he said. “They did not be­lieve in black coaches. I was of­fered a job as a scout, but it’s em­bar­rass­ing to go from coach to scout.”

It ended chaot­i­cally in 2015: Sikhakhane was chopped for al­legedly “smelling of al­co­hol” – only for the club to ad­mit they couldn’t prove it (“They’re ly­ing to the pub­lic,” said Roger. “How many times did I save this team?”). The club paid him sig­nif­i­cant com­pen­sa­tion and he went off to coach Thanda Royal Zulu FC, where he lasted a year and a half.


If you are any­thing like FFT, you stopped cel­e­brat­ing grow­ing an­other year closer to death some time ago, but not even we’ve ever re­ceived a P45, in­stead of a card from Aunt Mil­dred, on our birth­day.

Spare a thought, then, for Trevor Fran­cis, who was sacked as Crys­tal Palace boss on the day he turned 49 in April 2003.

“He just sat there qui­etly and said, ‘But it’s my birth­day,’” re­counted for­mer Ea­gles chair­man Si­mon Jor­dan in his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy. “I said, ‘Many happy re­turns, Trev’, and handed him his P45.”

The birth­day boy swiftly headed for the train­ing pitch to dis­sem­i­nate the in­for­ma­tion. “Well, lads, I’ve been sacked,” huffed Fran­cis. “Have a good sum­mer hol­i­day.”

And to think Palace had beaten Grimsby 4-1 away the week be­fore.


Even by the stan­dards of itin­er­ant Brazil­ian bosses, it has been a rough cou­ple of sea­sons for poor old Lisca. March 2016: given the el­bow by Ceara. Septem­ber 2016: sacked by Joinville. De­cem­ber 2016: sacked by In­ter­na­cional, af­ter a first rel­e­ga­tion in the club’s 108-year history. Septem­ber 2017: sacked by Parana, fol­low­ing some fisticuffs with an as­sis­tant. Wait, what?

Parana pres­i­dent Leonardo Oliveira claimed that in a move even the LMA wouldn’t de­fend (prob­a­bly), 45-year-old Lisca as­saulted a fel­low mem­ber of staff. This came shortly af­ter Lisca had pleaded with lo­cal press: “Stop call­ing me crazy. It’s mess­ing me up.”

Specif­i­cally, he was bummed by the way they re­ported his prom­ise to don the club’s mas­cot suit – a blue crow, since you ask – and jump in the river should Parana be pro­moted. Typ­i­cal gut­ter press.

This be­ing Brazil, where the man­age­rial merry-go-round is more of a man­age­rial tum­ble dryer, Lisca is al­ready back in work with Guarani – at least as FFT goes to press.


Gos­sip mag fans! Re­mem­ber the time Pamela An­der­son re­mar­ried her ex-hus­band Rick, six years af­ter they’d got divorced, and then filed for an­other sep­a­ra­tion be­fore beg­ging the judge to throw it out be­cause they were back to­gether and loved each other very much... then soon got divorced again any­way?

Hot-headed Tsanko Tsve­tanov had a sim­i­lar kind of re­la­tion­ship with Bul­gar­ian side Etar’s owner Feyzi Il­hanli – some­how get­ting the boot three times in the same sea­son.

The first dis­missal came in Au­gust 2012 af­ter a de­feat against Beroe Stara Zagora in the Bul­gar­ian top flight, but he was re­in­stated af­ter fan protests. A month later Il­hanli re-handed him his P45, but once more fan power boomeranged him back into the man­age­rial hot seat. Only an­other month elapsed be­fore it was fi­nally cur­tains for Tsve­tanov, as the chief ex­ec­u­tive ac­cused him of be­ing in­volved in match-fix­ing – an al­le­ga­tion he quickly re­tracted. Tsanko is cur­rently the as­sis­tant coach of As­tana in Kaza­khstan.


Log­ging onto Face­book each morn­ing can be a ruddy night­mare: that school­mate you haven’t seen for decades post­ing the 1,587th pic­ture of his new kid; the un­cle who can’t spell de­mand­ing a hard Brexit; the co-worker who signs up for am­a­teur triathlons but thinks he’s Alis­tair Brown­lee and posts mo­ti­va­tional quotes from Con­fu­cius.

But spare a thought for for­mer Drina Zvornik gaffer Vlad­ica Petro­vic, who went on­line one Septem­ber day in 2015 ex­pect­ing to watch cat memes, and in­stead found out that the Bos­nian outfit had an­nounced his de­par­ture on their of­fi­cial page.

Petro­vic’s re­ac­tion was very dig­ni­fied, mind. In­stead of bom­bard­ing the page with curses and thumb-down emo­jis, he replied: “Thanks for the no­tice”, be­fore lik­ing a com­ment from a fan say­ing: “About time”. It sent him vi­ral in East­ern Europe. “It was a laugh,” he said. “I didn’t know my com­ments would get so many likes.”


We’ve heard of the man­age­rial carousel, but David Stride didn’t even have the chance to get on the ride prop­erly be­fore be­ing hurled off it. Stride took charge of South­ern League Divi­sion One South & West side Bash­ley dur­ing 2015-16’s pre-sea­son. It wasn’t go­ing well for the New For­est-based clog­gers: they had al­ready lost four straight prepara­tory matches with­out scor­ing.

But af­ter just 40 days, and two more de­feats, Stride was toast. “We made a tough de­ci­sion to change things around,” mut­tered chair­man Tim Al­lan. Stride sus­pected Al­lan had lo­cated an­other boss he would pre­fer, Steve Ri­ley, shortly af­ter ap­point­ing him.

“They al­ready had some­one in mind to re­place me but waited two weeks be­fore telling me,” Stride grum­bled. “I was given the guar­an­tee I’d be left alone for a sea­son.”

The ex-chelsea and Mill­wall de­fender did sign off bril­liantly, though, with the part­ing shot of: “It’s ab­so­lute codswal­lop.” There’s not enough codswal­lop in foot­ball for our lik­ing.


Leo Grozavu is a kind of Ro­ma­nian Barry Fry: a de­cent player in his day who’s now bet­ter known at home for hav­ing an es­pe­cially foul mouth and vol­canic tem­per. His manic zenith came with FC Bo­to­sani in 2015, where dur­ing a dif­fi­cult spell he was recorded mak­ing the fol­low­ing – per­haps overly harsh – state­ments: “Pla­mada! Cretin!” “Miron, you devil’s butthead. I’ll kill you.” “Bordeianu, your brain is empty!” “Pat­ache, ar­seh**e, I’ll beat you to death, you id­iot.”

Draw­ing the line at death threats, club owner Va­leriu If­time initially came up with the un­der­stated state­ment: “I have told Leo to be more up­beat” but then dis­missed him later in the cam­paign. It wasn’t over, though – far from it. A year later Grozavu re­turned, and his high­lights reel in­cluded rock­ing up at a press con­fer­ence with some pick­les (“Look at my pick­les. This is the state of Ro­ma­nian foot­ball. We’re the smaller pick­les!”) and punch­ing a player.



We’ve all been there. The Easter hol­i­days are fast ap­proach­ing and you want to get some booze in to help you through the long week­end. So you pop into the dress­ing room, swipe some­one’s dis­carded wal­let and use their credit card to pur­chase a whop­ping 36 litres of Jager­meis­ter at a cost of £450.

No? Just Precko Za­greb gaffer Jozo Gas­par, then. The for­mer Di­namo Za­greb mid­fielder was caught on CCTV in April 2013 at­tempt­ing to pay for his herbal liquor with a card half-inched from the bag of a player from NK Sparta Elek­tra, who share their train­ing fa­cil­i­ties with Precko. Al­ready alerted to his mas­ter­plan when the card was de­clined at the till, po­lice ar­rested Gas­par later that af­ter­noon when he tried to score an­other 10 litres at a sec­ond shop.

Gas­par’s dis­missal fol­lowed soon af­ter. By then the one-cap Croa­tia in­ter­na­tional re­ally did need that drink...


It’s no fun los­ing your job – un­less you’re an in­vest­ment banker whose pay-off is enough to fi­nance your per­sonal choice of a mas­sive house, Caribbean (prefer­ably tax-haven) is­land or enough weapons to stage a coup d’état.

Thank­fully, when the P45 hits us mere mor­tals, we head straight for the sta­tionery cup­board, then the exit door. How­ever, Carl Fletcher still had to per­form his post-match press du­ties on New Year’s Day 2013, even though Ply­mouth Ar­gyle’s owner James Brent had just given him the heave-ho.

“Brent has just done it and that’s my last game today, so that’s me got the sack,” lamented the ex-west Ham, Crys­tal Palace and Ar­gyle mid­fielder fol­low­ing a 2-1 League Two de­feat at Bris­tol Rovers. He then broke down in tears. “I would rather be one of those peo­ple that tries and fails rather than doesn’t try at all.”


Jorn An­der­sen achieved a real rar­ity: a post-pro­mo­tion sack­ing dur­ing pre-sea­son. The Nor­we­gian had seemed like a de­cent can­di­date to fill Jur­gen Klopp’s size-13 boots af­ter join­ing Mainz in the sum­mer of 2008 and his team fin­ished run­ners-up to Freiburg in his maiden cam­paign, tak­ing the Rhinelanders into the Bun­desliga. But as they pre­pared for a sea­son in the top flight, Jorn couldn’t agree with the board on how they should play. “We ex­plained in frank terms to An­der­son what the phi­los­o­phy of the club was,” said Mainz pres­i­dent, Har­ald Strutz. “We found we are no longer in agree­ment on our views about the work­ing part­ner­ship,” coun­tered Jorn. The for­mer Nor­way striker was dis­missed just six days be­fore the cam­paign kicked off, and An­der­sen’s woes con­tin­ued at his next job – Larissa in Greece – where an­gry fans ap­par­ently pelted the team coach with rocks and yo­ghurt. He lasted 24 days there and has since headed for safer climes... as man­ager of the North Korea na­tional team.


For­mer Celtic and Scot­land leg­end Jackie Mcna­mara has got a bit more about him than your av­er­age gaffer: FFT once in­ter­viewed the de­fender about a script he’d writ­ten for a footy-themed sit­com called The Ther­apy Room. Nev­er­the­less, he’s still sub­ject to the same whims as any man­ager, and his ex­pe­ri­ence with York City was a very odd case in point. Hav­ing joined the then-league Two club in Novem­ber 2015, a rot­ten run of form re­sulted in the Min­ster­men’s rel­e­ga­tion. The fol­low­ing Oc­to­ber in the Na­tional League, a 6-1 hump­ing at rock-bot­tom Guise­ley left York lan­guish­ing in 20th place. It was agreed that Mcna­mara had to go, but he stayed on as the care­taker boss while a new man was lo­cated. But when Gary Mills was ap­pointed, things got weird: in­stead of be­ing told to pack his satchel, Mcna­mara was ac­tu­ally pro­moted – to chief ex­ec­u­tive. “Jackie will fo­cus on all op­er­a­tional as­pects of the club with spe­cific at­ten­tion paid to the de­vel­op­ment of a com­mu­ni­ca­tion strat­egy, ad­min­is­tra­tion man­age­ment, the academy, the foun­da­tion and com­mer­cial­ity,” read a state­ment. Fuel for an­other sit­com, surely?


With his Chuckle Brother mous­tache and fond­ness for mad­cap fa­cial ex­pres­sions, Christoph Daum is one of the Ger­man game’s prom­i­nent ‘char­ac­ters’. He first en­tered the British con­scious­ness in 1992, af­ter

a dis­as­trous Euro­pean Cup clash against Leeds in which he fielded an in­el­i­gi­ble Stuttgart player, earn­ing him the tabloid nick­name ‘Christoph Dumb’. How­ever, he was usu­ally a canny op­er­a­tor, later tak­ing Bayer Lev­erkusen to loftier heights, and in 2000 en­tered into an agree­ment with the Ger­man FA to suc­ceed care­taker boss Rudi Völler as the next main man for Die Mannschaft.

In­con­ve­niently, the Ger­man tabloids now lurked, claim­ing Daum had been tak­ing part in co­caine-fu­elled or­gies. He submitted some hair for drug test­ing, only for the results to come back pos­i­tive – upon which Daum de­nied the hairs were his. Fac­ing jail time, Christoph even­tu­ally fessed up and lost the job he hadn’t even started. Völler stayed on as Ger­many boss in­stead, tak­ing them to the 2002 World Cup Fi­nal. Daum most re­cently man­aged Ro­ma­nia and fell out with their press as well, claim­ing the pa­pers were only good for “wrap­ping fish”.


Don­ald Trump be warned: hell hath no fury like a Kim Jong-un scorned. Even sin­gle-celled amoeba ex­pected North Korea to lose all three group-stage games at the 2010 World Cup – against Brazil, Por­tu­gal and Ivory Coast – yet man­ager Kim Jong-hun’s ef­forts still weren’t enough for the heir-pre­sump­tive of ‘Dear Leader’ Kim Jong-il.

Ac­cused of “be­tray­ing” Kim Jong-un fol­low­ing the 7-0 de­feat by Por­tu­gal, boss Kim Jong-hun was called to a six-hour pub­lic meet­ing with the North Korean sports min­is­ter, dur­ing which he was shamed in front of 400 peo­ple. Team mem­bers were in­vited to crit­i­cise their erst­while coach, who was sub­se­quently stripped of his mem­ber­ship of the rul­ing Work­ers’ Party of Korea and sen­tenced to hard labour at a Py­ongyang con­struc­tion site.

“Con­sid­er­ing the high hopes North Korea had for the World Cup, the regime could have done worse things to the team than just rep­ri­mand them,” a source told a lo­cal news out­let.

Pre­sum­ably he would have been strapped to a nu­clear war­head had the Peo­ple’s Re­pub­lic lost to the likes of Ice­land...


Chich­ester City were 2-1 up in the sec­ond half of a Sus­sex Char­ity Cup match against lo­cal ri­vals Red­hill in Oc­to­ber 2010 when man­ager Mark Poul­ton’s phone rang. It was Gary Walker, one of the club’s di­rec­tors, so he thought he’d bet­ter an­swer it.

“He said he was sorry to in­ter­rupt me and then said I’d been sacked,” Poul­ton huffed at full-time. “There had been a lot go­ing on ever since I started at Chich­ester and I feared it might end like this. It’s the most un­pro­fes­sional and sham­bolic or­gan­i­sa­tion I have ever been in­volved with. There are peo­ple there who aren’t in­ter­ested in the good of the club, only in wag­ing their own per­sonal wars.”

Mark stayed in the dugout un­til the end of the game out of re­spect to his play­ers – one of whom, young striker Nathan Pax­ton, had gone to hospi­tal with a bro­ken jaw, cheek­bone, nose and eye socket hav­ing col­lid­ing with the Red­hill keeper – but Chich­ester lost 4-2.

Poul­ton’s mind was prob­a­bly on other things.



If they’re go­ing to sack a man­ager face to face, most chair­men like to do so in pri­vate – call him to the of­fice and de­liver the news away from pry­ing eyes. Not at Scot­tish lower-league outfit Cow­den­beath, where Peter Cor­mack was given his march­ing or­ders af­ter be­ing sum­moned to a road­side burger van near the Forth Bridge.

A two-time Liver­pool ti­tle-win­ner as a player, and for­mer man­ager of Anortho­sis Fa­m­a­gusta and the Botswana na­tional team, Cor­mack had been at the club for only 10 days and not taken charge of a sin­gle Blue Brazil fix­ture, re­port­edly up­set­ting his play­ers by try­ing to change too much too soon.

‘’A foot­ball equiv­a­lent of a coup d’état took place and I am at a loss how they can jus­tify get­ting rid of me,” Cor­mack com­plained af­ter his exit in 2000. “I’ve been made to look a fool.” On the plus side, though, £3.50 for a burger and chips is very rea­son­able…


Sorin Cartu is a well-re­spected ex-ro­ma­nia in­ter­na­tional with a lengthy CV in foot­ball man­age­ment, but for many will be best re­mem­bered for his mo­ment of mad­ness while boss of Ro­ma­nian cham­pi­ons CFR Cluj. Deeply vexed to be trail­ing 1-0 to Basel in a 2010 Cham­pi­ons League clash, Cartu per­formed some enthusiastic vent­ing on the per­spex side panel of the Swiss club’s dugout.

At first Sorin in­dulged in a lit­tle light punch­ing with his gloved hands, be­fore re­al­is­ing that would not quite do the job and choos­ing to punt the bas­tard through with his brogues.

Re­sem­bling a crazy drunk, Cartu was even­tu­ally pulled away by his as­sis­tant. “The val­ues and im­age of our club can­not be associated with the ac­tions of coach Cartu, and that’s why we’ve de­cided to part ways,” said the club’s board as they axed him the next day, pre­sum­ably while wear­ing full suits of ar­mour.


There was a cer­tain jazz scat po­etry to the rant at a ref­eree that led to John Sheri­dan’s sack­ing as Notts County man­ager in De­cem­ber 2016. “You’re a f**king dis­grace, you’re f**king use­less, you’ve not f**king got any­thing right today, you should be f**king ashamed and you’re f**king s**t,” was his open­ing salvo to match of­fi­cial Ed­die Ilder­ton. He moved on to make the ex­tra­or­di­nary claim: “My kids aren’t go­ing to get any f**king Christ­mas presents be­cause of you,” be­fore aim­ing some more ex­ple­tives at the fourth of­fi­cial. “You re­ally are a c***,” he told Matthew Dono­hue. “I’m gonna knock you out, you c***.”

This glo­ri­ously de­spi­ca­ble ver­bal vol­ley was given as the rea­son for the Lan­cas­trian’s exit by the Mag­pies’ chair­man, af­ter a run of nine straight de­feats. Old­ham Ath­letic were clearly im­pressed with his en­thu­si­asm, though, and of­fered him a job shortly af­ter.

No doubt he was f**king de­lighted.


You’ve seen the video, right? A player fronts up to an op­po­si­tion boss; the man­ager pushes his not-in­sub­stan­tial nose gen­tly into the player’s face like a kit­ten nudg­ing a ball of wool; and then, face con­torted with in­dig­na­tion, the man­ager falls to the floor, where he’s soon joined by his quick-think­ing ad­ver­sary.

Köln’s Al­bert Streit was the star of the show in De­cem­ber 2005, hand to brow and col­laps­ing like a Vic­to­rian lady ex­pe­ri­enc­ing an at­tack of the vapours, but Duis­burg man­ager Norbert Meier was later pun­ished in ac­cor­dance with the play­ground rul­ing, ‘he started it’. Hav­ing taken Duis­burg up – though they would soon fol­low him by go­ing back down – Meier was given his march­ing or­ders.

And if you think today’s ret­ro­spec­tive div­ing bans are harsh, con­sider this: the Ger­man FA banned him for three months. Meier com­plained


that they wanted to “set an ex­am­ple” ahead of host­ing the World Cup fi­nals six months later, sug­gest­ing he some­how knew what Zine­dine Zi­dane had in store for Marco Mat­er­azzi.


Alex Fer­gu­son once gave his Manch­ester United charges a three-word team talk, sim­ply say­ing: “Lads, it’s Tot­ten­ham.” Some 60 years ear­lier, an­other Scot­tish man­ager was sim­i­larly dis­mis­sive of op­po­nents from north Lon­don.

Johnny Cochrane man­aged Read­ing in the loos­est sense of the word. “Just be­fore a game,” re­vealed one player, “this man wear­ing a bowler hat, smok­ing a cigar and drink­ing whisky would pop his head around the dress­ing room door and ask, ‘Who are we play­ing today?’ We’d all cho­rus, ‘Arse­nal, boss.’ Johnny would just say, ‘Oh, we’ll piss that lot’, be­fore shut­ting the door and leav­ing us to it.”

But while Fer­gu­son re­mained at Old Traf­ford for 27 years, Cochrane lasted 13 days. A league and FA Cup win­ner with Sunderland, he was given a three-year con­tract by the Roy­als – am­bi­tious, this be­ing 1939 – worth £1,000 a year, only to be ousted £35 into that for, well, guess. His fort­night’s ten­ure brought one vic­tory, four de­feats and re­peated ab­sences due to ‘flu’. Hmm.


Pres­sure de­fined Real Madrid long be­fore Vicente del Bosque learned that win­ning two La Liga ti­tles and two Cham­pi­ons League crowns in four years couldn’t save him from the sack (some­thing to bear in mind, eh Zi­zou?). Call them de­mand­ing, call them un­grate­ful, but the most suc­cess­ful club in foot­ball didn’t get where they are today by af­ford­ing their man­agers time.

Still the youngest ever Euro­pean Cup-win­ning man­ager, at 36, Jose Vil­la­longa lifted Ol’ Big Ears with Real in 1956 and 1957, and prob­a­bly would have lifted it in 1955 too had the com­pe­ti­tion ex­isted then. Yet win­ning the first two Euro­pean Cups, plus two La Liga ti­tles, in two and a half years wasn’t enough.

The seeds of Vil­la­longa’s demise were sown in the first round of his 1956-57 Euro­pean Cup tri­umph. With Madrid trail­ing to Rapid Vi­enna, pres­i­dent San­ti­ago Bern­abeu (the very same) fu­ri­ously told the play­ers at half-time he wanted to see “more balls out on the field”, painful as that sounds. Al­fredo Di Ste­fano duly de­liv­ered, but only by ig­nor­ing his man­ager’s tac­ti­cal in­struc­tions.

Vil­la­longa, un­der­mined, was gone six months hence amid do­mes­tic and con­ti­nen­tal glory. He later led Atletico to derby wins in con­sec­u­tive Copa del Rey fi­nals and guided Spain to glory at Euro 64. Point taken.


What goes around, comes around. Har­ald Schumacher is for­ever associated with a) his hor­rific foul on Pa­trick Bat­tis­ton in West Ger­many’s World Cup semi-fi­nal win against France in 1982 and b) his un­re­pen­tant re­sponse. Told that Bat­tis­ton had lost two teeth, he replied: “If that’s all that’s wrong, I’ll pay for the crowns.” Boo! Hiss!

So, the peo­ple who that year voted ‘Toni’ as the most hated man in France, just ahead of Hitler, no doubt en­joyed see­ing him get fired from his only role in man­age­ment half­way through a match.

For­tuna Köln’s Jean Löring proved to be the im­pa­tient boss in 1999, al­though few would crit­i­cise a chair­man who had in­vested to the point of in­sol­vency from 1967 to 2001 and once cir­cum­vented a sta­dium ban by go­ing dressed as Santa. For­tuna were 2-0 down to Wald­hof Mannheim when Löring called Schumacher a “w**ker” and sacked him, be­fore pre­sid­ing over the sec­ond half of a 5-1 loss. He wasn’t any worse, then.


Hangleton Rangers’ Un­der-10s man­ager Dave Kin­sell had a prob­lem. In March 2009, he needed cash for a new train­ing kit, so asked the lo­cal Sus­sex com­mu­nity for help. Step for­ward South East MEP – and UKIP knight in shin­ing ar­mour – Nigel Farage, who do­nated £150. The fu­ture Brexit crusader’s name was then splashed across the front of the shirts.

Rul­ing the gift was po­lit­i­cal, not per­sonal, Hangleton sacked Kin­sell – whose son played for the team – for ‘con­tra­ven­ing club poli­cies’. “It’s so un­fair,” sighed Kin­sell, who joined his lo­cal UKIP branch the fol­low­ing week. “I love the kids and we’ve been do­ing re­ally well. All I wanted to do was get the team a new train­ing kit and I’ve spon­sored them in the past to pay for kit, goals and all sorts of things.”

Farage added: “No­body from the club’s had the cour­tesy to con­tact me to ask whether it was a per­sonal do­na­tion or a po­lit­i­cal one – the real losers here are the kids them­selves.”

A quick look at your record in par­lia­men­tary elec­tions might sug­gest oth­er­wise, Nige.

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