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Five Brits who managed in Spain after Gary Neville Valencia role

| 03.12.2015

Sam Barnard, Assistant Sports Editor | December 2, 2015

After Gary Neville’s shock appointment to become Valencia manager until the end of the season (assisted by brother Phil), following the recent resignation of Nuno Espirito Santo, Coral pick out five other British bosses who tried their luck in Spain.

Neville landed the job after the Bats lost 1-0 at Sevilla, meaning they are now down in ninth in La Liga as well as third in their Champions League Group H (5/4 to qualify).

Ron Atkinson (Atletico Madrid)

Soccer - Atletico Madrid - Ron Atkinson New Coach - Vicente Calderon

Atkinson’s rein at Spanish capital club Atletico was most certainly the least successful of the below four bosses, as he lasted just over three months in the late 1980s, though did win half of his dozen games in charge.

Clashing with the then-owner Jesus Gil after only just being appointed was perhaps not the bets of ideas by outspoken Atkinson, so he was replaced by his former assistant at West Bromwich Albion Colin Addison, which irked the ex-Manchester United coach.

Chris Coleman (Real Sociedad)

Soccer - Friendly - Heracles Almelo v Real Sociedad - Polman Stadion

Former Fulham manager Coleman is currently working wonders for his national team Wales (11/8 to exit at the Euro 2015 finals last 16), but had less successful spells as a club boss.

After failing to get Sociedad into the Segunda Division promotion places, he quit the club after just 21 games in 2008, again after having his differences with the hierarchy.

Sir Bobby Robson (Barcelona)

Soccer - European Cup Winners Cup - Final - Barcelona v Paris St Germain - De Kuip Stadium

One of the greatest managers England has ever produced, Robson took over as Barca boss in 1996, and claimed the Copa del Rey, Supercopa de Espana and European Cup Winners’ Cup all in just one season.

However, remarkably that was not enough to keep him his job, so was replaced by now-Manchester United head coach Louis van Gaal and was given the position of general manager instead. Robson did help nurture a certain Jose Mourinho, then a translator while at Barcelona.

John Toshack (Real Madrid, Real Sociedad, Deportivo and Real Murcia)

Soccer - Friendly - Lausanne Sports v Real Madrid

Well-travelled Welshman Toshack was so highly-rated in Spain that he was appointed Real Madrid boss twice, and won La Liga with them in his first spell in 1989/90.

He was also in Sociedad’s hotseat three times, winning the Copa del Rey in 1986/87. Former Liverpool player Toshack can now be seen in charge of Moroccan outfit Wydad Casablanca.

Terry Venables (Barcelona)

Soccer - European Cup - Final - Steaua Bucharest v Barcelona - Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, Sevilla

It is not often that managers from a club such as QPR move on to become Barcelona boss, but Venables did just that from 1984-1987, claiming the Spanish title in his first season and then the now-defunct Copa de la Liga the following campaign.

A man of many talents, Venables also released three singles and was co-creator of the ITV detective series Hazell, which came out in the late 70s while manager of Crystal Palace and ran for two seasons with 22 episodes.


Check out our La Liga archive, as well as more trivia pieces.



Sam Barnard

Sam has been writing for Coral since January 2014, and is the assistant editor of the news site. As well as the main betting sports, football, tennis and cricket, he covers the likes of golf, F1 and darts too, the latter of which has become a particular favourite. Sam enjoys playing as much as writing about sports, but niggling injuries have limited his participation in recent years, so is happy to mainly watch the pros such as Manchester United, Yorkshire CCC, Raymond van Barneveld and even Gibraltar national football team instead.