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Five left-field managers as Roberto Martinez becomes Belgium boss

| 04.08.2016

Robbie Purves | August 4, 2016

Five left-field managers as Martinez joins Belgium

The appointment of Roberto Martinez as Belgium national boss shocked the world of football, after his disappointing spell on Merseyside with Everton. It got Coral football writers thinking about left-field managers.

After the ill-disciplined displays of Marc Wilmots’ men, many expect the Red Devils to look for a established, safe pair of hands, instead choosing someone many Toffees fans thought took them backwards.

In light of this appointment, we’ve compiled a list of five left-field managers…

David Moyes: Real Sociedad (2014-15)

Soccer - La Liga - Real Sociedad Press Conference - Anoeta Stadium

After his sacking at Manchester United, many expected Moyes to take his next managerial step in British football.

However, in November of 2014, the Scottish manager signed an 18-month deal with Basque Country club Real Sociedad, and the San Sebastian side have had some left-field managers in the past.

Moyes’ spell in Spain started with a 0-0 win draw to Deportivo La Coruna and registered his first victory against Elche, with Cralos Vela hitting a hat-trick.

A high point of Moyes’ reign came with a 1-0 triumph over Barcelona. However, after a poor start the 2015/16 season, he was sacked under intense media pressure. The former United boss never really fitted in with La Real, staying in a hotel up until a month before his departure, but has now succeeded Sam Allardyce at Sunderland.

David Hockday: Leeds United (2014)

Soccer - Sky Bet Championship - Millwall v Leeds United - The New Den

Of all left-field managers, Hockaday to Leeds is arguably the most bizarre in football history. He’d only ever been in charge of non-league side Forest Green Rovers when he applied for the frequently vacant Leeds position, met the owner and was offered the job.

Hockaday failed to last until August, having taken over just 70 days prior to eccentric Leeds president Massimo Cellino swinging his axe. Former Swindon player Hockaday looked out of his depth during his short time at Elland Road and lost four of his six games.

To make the appoint even more strange, Hockaday, despite possessing the largest transfer budget at Forest Green in the division, mustered meagre league finishes and left the club after a run of seven defeats in eight games.

Chris Coleman: Larissa (2011-12)

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Current Wales boss Coleman had stints with Fulham, Sociedad and Coventry boss before being names manager of Greek side Larissa, a year after being sacked from the Ricoh Arena. Talk about left-field managers going to any lengths to get back into work.

Coleman was tasked with getting the club back into the top-flight, and signed a one-year deal. Prior to taking over, however, he was preceded by three different Larissa coaches – setting the precedent for a turbulent reign during the recession that bit hard in Greece.

Six months after moving to Greece, Coleman left Larissa with an impressive win record of 50 per cent. The former Wales captain cited the club’s financial problems as the reason for departing, but went out on a high with them two points off the top and a fans’ favourite.

Edgar Davids: Barnet (2012-14)

Soccer - npower Football League Two - Gillingham v Barnet - MEMS Priestfield Stadium

In 2012, Dutch legend and Champions League winner Davids, joined League Two side Barnet as player-manager. In his second game in charge, The Pitball named himself captain and was voted Man of the Match.

Following the departure of his co-manager partner Mark Robson, Davids took full charge of the side. On a trip to Accrington Stanley, he sent the team coach to pick up 36 supporters whose coach had broken down – establishing himself as a popular figure with the fans.

Despite being relegated in 2013, the Dutch dynamo stayed and claimed the number one shirt, with Davids saying he intended to “set a trend” of midfielders wearing the number.

In his first eight league games in the 2013/14 season, he was sent off three times and announced he would not attend any away games that required an overnight stay. By January, Davids resigned with Barnet three points off the play-offs and hasn’t played or managed again.

Paul Gascoigne: Kettering Town (2005)

Paul Gascoigne

Former Tottenham midfielder Gazza took charge of Kettering Town in late October 2005, having no real coaching experience. He also planned to put in enough money to own one-third of the club to show his commitment.

Bookies put odds on Gascoigne getting the sack before Christmas, though he insisted he was there for the “long haul“. His tenure lasted just 39 days, and was dismissed by the club’s board on December 5th.

Gazza was never under formal contract and was paid nothing for his six-week tenure. Given his off-field problems, Gascoigne can certainly be classed among left-field managers.


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Don’t agree with our choices as the top five left-field managers? Tell us in the comments below.



Robbie Purves