Charlton Athletic fans are currently cock-in-a-hoop over the news that their bad guy owner Roland Duchatelet could finally be on his way out of The Valley. But the Belgian is just the latest in a long line of bosses that have fouled up the football clubs that they’ve bought. If your own club chairman is getting on your wick, be careful what you wish for – you might end up with one of these rotten eggs instead…
FRANCESCO BECHETTI (LEYTON ORIENT)
In a mind-bending three-year spell, the Italian took the O’s from the brink of the Championship and burrowed through the leagues, leaving them floundering in the Vanarama. Highlights included nine managerial changes in three years and a six-match ban for kicking assistant boss Andy Hessenthaler after a WIN.
THE OYSTONS (BLACKPOOL)
Sounds like a sitcom, except it’s not funny and it’s been going on for two decades. Actual highlights included a year in the Premier League, but off the pitch there’s been financial ineptitude, a total unwillingness to listen to supporter concerns and even the absolute low of suing a fan for libel over comments he made about the Oystons on Facebook.
THE VENKYS (BLACKBURN ROVERS)
Another family, another disastrous tenure. The former Premier League champions are now battling to get out of League One in spite of everything that their chicken-pimping owners have done. That tried-and-trusted combo of hiring and firing a steady stream of managers coupled with racking up massive debts has left Rovers fans yanking their hair out at the Venkys’ antics.
ASSEM ALLAM (HULL CITY)
Arrived with a plan for 60% fan ownership but in fact introduced a wildly unpopular membership scheme which removed concession prices and led to mass boycotts. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, attempting to change the name of the club to Hull Tigers against the will of the fans. Apart from that though… no, sorry, there hasn’t really been any good stuff.
GEORGE REYNOLDS (DARLINGTON)
Ex-safecracker, jailbird and kitchen bench king, Gorgeous George vowed to get the Quakers from the fourth tier to the top flight within ten years. It didn’t happen, but he did build the majestic 25,000-seater Reynolds Arena, which is now abandoned. Almost miraculously clinched the signature of Colombian legend Faustino Asprilla in 2002 – Tino was paraded in front of the Darlo fans, then had a change of heart and f***ed off to the Middle East for a better deal.
SISIU CAPITAL (COVENTRY CITY)
Former top-flight mainstays, the Sky Blues are now bobbing around in League Two under the ownership of a hedge fund, although they’d be probably be better off if they were being ran by an actual hedge. A series of spectacularly catastrophic business decisions saw the club booted out of their Ricoh Arena home and now fewer than 9,000 loyal fans turn up to their 32,000 home.
VLADIMIR ROMANOV (HEARTS)
A self-made millionaire who started out selling rock n roll LPs from the back of his taxi, before spending some time working on a nuclear submarine. Took over Hearts when they were top of the SPL but quickly drove out manager George Burley before implementing his own recruitment policy – littering the squad with East Europeans of varying ability.
MICHAEL KNIGHTON (CARLISLE UNITED)
Almost bought Manchester United in 1989, later turning his attentions to Carlisle United instead, promising top-flight glory that never came. Sacked a string of managers and even ran the first team himself for a while. Knighton got fatter and stranger and then claimed to have seen a UFO. Built a new stand that was longer than the actual pitch, then tried to sell the club to a prospective buyer who turned out to be a skint curry-house waiter.
SPENCER TRETHEWY (ALDERSHOT TOWN)
Nineteen year old ‘millionaire’ who claimed he would be the saviour of Aldershot Town in 1991 with the bundles of cash he’d made as a property developer. Following a blaze of publicity including an appearance on ‘Wogan’, it turned out that he didn’t even own a mobile phone let alone enough money to own a football club. Naturally the deal collapsed and Aldershot eventually ceased to exist. Young Spencer wasn’t to be deterred in his lust for glory and was later jailed for fraud.
CLAUDE ANELKA (RAITH ROVERS)
Agent and brother of Nicolas, Claude is a man with ideas. Using the pots of wedge he’d accumulated from brokering his brother’s various transfers, he bought his way into the Scottish strugglers and tried to start a revolution. Signed a bundle of players from France’s 7th and 8th divisions and put himself in charge of the team so that he could develop his football ‘philosophy’. Claude quit after a nightmarish first few months and most of his French signings disappeared with him, leaving the club a shattered wreck.
KEN RICHARDSON (DONCASTER ROVERS)
A major shareholder and benefactor in the 1990s, Richardson seemed to despise the club he’d pumped his money into. At one point he was in joint control of team affairs along with the club’s general manager despite the fact that neither of them had any experience of football management. Worse came with a fire in the club’s main stand, but it turned out that Ken had paid a former SAS stormtrooper to torch the stand ahead of a plan to sell the ground to property developers. Richardson went to jail and Rovers fell out of the league.
BUT THE KING OF KINGS IS… JESUS GIL (ATLETICO MADRID)
Sack-happy club president who died in 2004 hired and fired thirty-nine managers in just under twenty years in charge, handing out fifteen P45s in a particularly frenetic three year spell. He celebrated winning the double in 1996 with a lap of honour around the pitch on the back of an elephant, one of the few animals that could comfortably transport this barking mad man mountain. His coaches were told that Gil would have final say on team selection and that they should spend their evenings following the players around and spying on them.