Familiar faces taking up the managerial reins at their old stomping ground is very much in vogue at the moment.
Frank Lampard is leading a youthful revolution at Chelsea; Ole is finally regaining control of the wheel at Old Trafford; Chris Wilder is guiding Sheffield United to heady heights, and Freddie Ljungberg is now taking care of business at Arsenal.
So with the managerial merry-go-round in perpetual motion, it’s inevitable that even more club legends will get a shot in their dream hot seat as time goes on.
With that in mind, we’ve peeked into Paddy’s crystal ball to see what reunions would be made in footballing heaven…
Sol Campbell – Spurs
After coming through their youth system to become a cup-winning club captain, Campbell is the very definition of one of Spurs’ own.
Campbell isn’t afraid of making difficult decisions, and he would instil an inspirational winning mentality among his charges – something Spurs’ team of bottlers so desperately needs. Remember, this is a club that haven’t won anything since the 2008 League Cup, other than the extremely prestigious pre-season Audi Cup.
The former centre-back is currently cutting his managerial teeth in the lower leagues and would be an inspired choice when the time comes for Jose Mourinho to be replaced at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. In other words, in precisely two-and-a-half years’ time.
Michael Owen – Newcastle
In 2005 Newcastle made the former England striker their club-record signing – a record that stood for 14 long years. And despite the team’s woes on the pitch during his four-year stay, Owen was more than happy to see out his contract in full before leaving on a free transfer to allow the Magpies to sign a striker better suited for their upcoming Championship campaign.
That speaks volumes about the mutual respect both parties have for one another.
His knowledge of the game is extensive, as demonstrated by his punditry work which is so uniquely insightful you sometimes have to mute the TV whenever he’s on in case you learn too much.
Sure, he may have zero managerial experience, but let’s face it: he can’t be any worse than a certain other goalscoring Newcastle legend who took up residence in the St James’ Park dugout…
Emmanuel Adebayor – Arsenal
At the age of 35 and currently without a club, it’s inevitable Togo’s record goalscorer will soon be hanging up his boots.
Coincidentally, the club at which he became a star – and so nearly fired to a Premier League title in 2008 – are also currently looking for a new manager.
The Gunners are beset by problems at the moment, with a severely disconnected fanbase one of the major issues to rectify. Adebayor would be the man to unite them once again. Admittedly they’d all be fiercely against them, but having supporters all pulling in the right direction is a great start.
Meanwhile on the pitch, accusations have long been levelled against players like Mesut Ozil lacking the passion it takes to grab a game by the scruff of the neck.
That’s a trait Adebayor has by the bucketful, as demonstrated by the time he was so excited to score he ran to share the moment with the Arsenal fans who idolised him – even though he’d left the club that summer.
Carlos Tevez – Man Utd
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Red Devils may well be basking in the glory of a Manchester derby victory, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have one eye on the next legend to take the helm. And that man should be Carlos Tevez.
The Argentine may have only lasted two seasons, but he is in an elite category of Old Trafford alumni to have won the Champions League at the club.
He was an integral part of the side that were crowned European champions in Moscow in 2008 too, converting his spot-kick in the penalty shootout. Not even some fella called Cristiano Ronaldo was able to do that.
Tevez would be the ideal manager to welcome new signings to Manchester, given how well he knows the city. Even better, we all know how comfortable he is with sitting in a dugout. He’s perfect.
Adrian Mutu – Chelsea
One of a raft of new signings during Chelsea’s Russian revolution in 2003, the forward barely had a sniff at Stamford Bridge before a failed drugs test led to his mega-money contract being torn up.
Mutu was ordered to repay his £15m contract to the Blues, something which led to a seemingly never-ending court battle that finally culminated in 2018.
It was this sorry episode that allowed Mutu to showcase his sheer determination and admirable persistence, two vital characteristics for any gaffer. Sure, he ultimately lost the case, but it’s the effort that counts, right?
Laugh as you might, Mutu also comes with battle-hardened managerial experience too.
Last year he took up a head coach role in his native Romania, steering relegation-threatened Voluntari (we presume it was a paid role despite the name) to safety during a two-month stint.
Pierre van Hooijdonk – Nottingham Forest
What a striker this man was! The Dutchman’s 29 league goals in 1997/1998 fired Forest into the Premier League and earned himself a spot in his country’s World Cup squad.
Yes, he may have demanded a transfer when he returned from France 98, dismayed as he was at the lack of investment in the squad. Yes, he may have refused to train or play when he believed the £10m price tag slapped on his head was “like trying to sell a cappuccino for £25”.
But you know what? He knows exactly what it takes to get Nottingham Forest into the promised land of the top flight, somewhere they have never been since van Hooijdonk left the club in 1999.
When you consider that – plus the fact some poncey cafes manage to flog cappuccinos for £25 these days anyway – you realise it’s time everyone moved on and made room for van Hooijdonk’s glorious return.