It’s already hard to believe that Claudio Ranieri led Leicester City to the Premier League title after watching him fail miserably to turn Fulham’s fortunes around.
Of course the thing to do after pulling off one of the greatest managerial masterstrokes in history would have been to quit while he was ahead and forever dine out on it, popping up as a pundit to shake his head at the idiotic failings of the likes of Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp.
But as any Football Manager player knows, it’s an addictive profession and Ranieri instead restarted the game with Fulham and hasn’t got the option to quit without saving.
As Claudio ponders his next move, we run down some other managers who went from hero to zero:
1. Raymond Domenech
Raymond Domenech was more like someone who’d run a local amateur dramatics club than a football manager, but somehow he managed to take charge of France and initially do a decent job of it.
Following a period of unprecedented success, Domenech was set up to play the role of fall guy and when he declared that he would use astronomy to pick his team and ‘didn’t trust Scorpios’ like Robert Pires, expectations were set very low.
But seemingly despite all logic, Domenech’s France made it to the final of the 2006 World Cup and would’ve won it had Zinedine Zidane’s stars hadn’t dictated that he head-butt someone that day.
A flop at Euro 2008, which he chose to round off by proposing to his girlfriend on national TV, was forgiven (by everyone except his girlfriend) but World Cup 2010 in South Africa was Domenech’s dramatic final act when his eccentricities finally caught up with him,
After a poor start to the group stage, Domenech sent Nicolas Anelka home when the striker produced an impeccable display of French swearing at him, and that sparked the most French of responses from the players – a strike.
Patrice Evra issued Domenech with a letter outlining the players’ grievances live on TV, Les Bleus then sulkily lost 2-1 to the hosts South and went out, teaching their boss a lesson and finishing bottom of their group.
Domenech presumably is starring in a production of Hamlet in a regional theatre in Brittany
2. Fabio Capello
An authoritarian with an iron fist who had conquered La Liga with Real Madrid to add to his six Serie A titles with AC Milan and Juventus, what role could possibly bring Fabio Capello down to earth with a crash? The England job, of course,
Capello must be regarded as one of the greatest managers of all time, but if they remember him at all, England fans will recall going out in the second round of the 2010 World Cup to Germany and his bizarre fixation with Emile Heskey.
The surly Italian was never exactly a media darling and his drill-sergeant mannerisms almost seemed like self-parody at times. What it resulted in was a team that were shoehorned into a 4-4-2- formation with almost no creative spark and who, ironically, played more like England than ever before.
In the end, Capello walked out of the job after blasting the FA on Italian TV for stripping John Terry of the captaincy. What a noble way to go.
3. Luiz Felipe Scolari
Brazil weren’t expected to win the 2002 World Cup because by Brazilian standards their squad was pretty poor, in fact it had Roque Junior in it.
But, aided by the fact that nobody was any good in Japan and Korea and several of the games were apparently rigged for the benefit of the host nations, Big Phil’s Brazil triumphed all the same.
With the World Cup on his mantlepiece, Scolari led Portugal to the Euro 2004 final where they inexplicably lost to Greece who had made some kind of Faustian pact in order to win the tournament without having a shot on target.
But after flopping at Chelsea and moving to Uzbek champions Bunyodkor simply for the love of the project (a suitcase full of cash), a return to Brazil’s national team in 2012 seemed unlikely.
Things were going fine until the semi-finals of the 2014 World Cup and a certain 7-1 hammering against Germany that the nation will probably never recover from. The big man must have wished he’d done the sensible thing and quit while he was ahead.
4. Graeme Souness
Ok, technically we hear about him all the time, but after a stellar playing career, Souness began managerial life impressively at Rangers, presiding over the so-called ‘Souness Revolution’ that was a lot less bloody than one would imagine it to be watching him as a pundit.
With Souness at the helm, Rangers won three league titles and four League Cups but that success wouldn’t continue when he moved to Liverpool where he’d been a legend as a player.
Souness is widely ‘credited’ with presiding over Liverpool’s transformation from an all-conquering powerhouse into underachieving whingers, doing such a thorough job that the club is only now looking to get back to winning ways.
Following Liverpool, the hard-nosed Scot took on Galatasaray, obviously feeling in the mood for a fight and nearly managed to start a riot when he planted the club’s flag in the middle of bitter rivals Fenerbahce’s pitch, presumably yelling that he would take on all 30,000 of the fans wanting to kill him.
At Southampton, Souness made arguably the worst signing in history when he snapped up Ali Dia, who turned out not to be a footballer in any normal sense of the word, and at Benfica he dismissed Deco as useless but pounced to bring in Scott Minto. Then again this is the man whose shrewd market instincts helped him throw £50 million away at Newcastle and create the unforgettable image of Julian Dicks in a Liverpool shirt.
With that depressing fall from grace in mind, it’s almost little wonder that Souness now spends his time being paid for being angry and bitter, something that he is capable of doing consistently.