Going Down: Premier League’s Most Relegated Managers

Tom Dunstan

Every Premier League’s clubs worst nightmare is getting relegated. The fans have to watch their side slumping it in the Championship, you wave goodbye to all your best players, the club loses some much-needed funds. It’s a big task, and all that pressure lays on the shoulders of one man, the manager.

For the manager, it’s not just the club’s pressure put on him, it’s their own reputation too. When a manager is relegated, they’re associated with it, wherever they go. For some managers tho, they tasted relegation more than once.

Dave Bassett – Sheffield United, Nottingham Forest and Leicester

For Dave Bassett, his legacy as the most relegated manager in Premier League history is still going strong. Despite all his accomplishments in English football’s lower leagues, Bassett’s name will always be a cursed one when it comes to the Premier League.

Relegated with three different teams in only eight years, Dave Bassett was the perfect man to get you to the Premier League, but not the man to keep you there. At the beginning, it looked to be going so well, after a respectable 14th place finish, it was a brief happy memory for Bassett. The following season, Sheffield United were relegated and Bassett made his way to Crystal Palace.

Only two years later tho, a struggling Nottingham Forest needed some stability and Forest trusted Bassett to guide them to Premier League safety. They trusted the wrong man, like Sheffield United two years prior, Nottingham Forrest were relegated and despite bringing them back to the Premier League at the first attempt, Bassett only lasted a few months back in the top flight before getting sacked.

The final chapter in the Dave Bassett Premier League horror show came with Leicester. After four years of mediocrity with Barnsley, Leicester thought that Bassett was finally a Premier League tactician, once again, they were wrong. Instead, Leicester went without a win for four months and for the third time, Bassett was relegated.

Avram Grant – Portsmouth and West Ham

Had John Terry not famously slipped in Chelsea’s Champions League final penalty shoot-out, we would probably be sat here today discussing Avram Grant the Champions League winner. But, Terry did slip, Chelsea did lose and Grant was unsurprisingly sacked.

From one end of the table to the other, Grant’s next managerial job came with a struggling Portsmouth. The south coast club had endured a horrific season on and off the pitch. After sitting rock bottom of the league, Pompey fell into administration and were docked nine points, guaranteeing their long-coming relegation.

Even with all of Portsmouth’s problems, their uninspiring former manager landed his next job in East London. Sadly for West Ham, Grant brought his bad luck with him. The Hammers endured a rough season that was epitomised by a team that constantly underperformed. Due to their lack of consistency, West Ham and Grant were relegated and once again, Avram was fired.

Gary Megson – Norwich and West Brom

When West Brom announced that Gary Megson would be returning to the club earlier this year, given Megson’s previous Premier League run, we can forgive the Baggies fans for getting a little worried.

Like Bassett, Megson had done wonders in the lower tiers of English football. He managed to drag West Brom away from the Division One relegation zone and led them to the Premier League. But, not for the first time in Megson’s career, he was involved in a public battle with the board and after a single season in the Premier League, West Brom were straight back down.

This, however, was not Megson’s first taste of relegation. Seven years before sending West Brom down, Megson was still actually playing for Norwich, where they simply needed someone to call their manager for the final five games of the season, so in stepped their midfielder Gary Megson. Unsurprisingly, with no managerial experience, Norwich were relegated.

Harry Redknapp – Southampton and QPR

After arriving at St. Mary’s only weeks after leaving bitter rivals Portsmouth, Redknapp must have known that there was going to be added attention on his results. But, despite securing Portsmouth some Premier League stability, the veteran boss couldn’t do the same for the Saints. Instead, for the first time in 27-years, Redknapp led Southampton down to the Championship.

Seven years after relegating Southampton, Redknapp had just been fired from Tottenham and took over at QPR who were sitting bottom of the league. Sadly for QPR, Harry Houdini didn’t have any tricks up his sleeve and after two seasons in the Premier League, Redknapp was now relegated with QPR as well.

Steve Bruce – Birmingham City and Hull City

Now the current Aston Villa boss, although all Villa fans won’t want to admit it, Bruce got his first real managerial break with Birmingham. But, all Villa fans will take some comfort in knowing that in 2006, the former Manchester United captain was at the helm when Birmingham were relegated to the Championship.

For Bruce, he can be considered somewhat of a Championship mastermind, the only manager to be promoted four times with four different sets of players. However, almost a decade on from his Birmingham days, Bruce was again in the same situation. He had this time led Hull City to the promised land but was again unable to keep them there for too long. In just Hull’s second season in the Premier League, Bruce was once again back in his beloved Championship.

Alex McLeish – Birmingham City

The best way to describe Alex McLeish’s time at Birmingham would be a roller-coaster ride.

After resigning as Scotland’s international boss, Birmingham thought that they had a manager who would be able to help the club transform into a stable Premier League outfit. Instead, despite strengthening his squad in the January transfer window, McLeish was unable to lead Birmingham away from the drop zone and on his debut season, McLeish and Birmingham were relegated.

On their return to the top flight, the Blues looked to be turning a corner. Coming off the back of a ninth-place finish, their highest in over 50 years, Birmingham also captured the League Cup in 2010. But, it wouldn’t be a roller-coaster ride without another twist. Instead of pushing on, Birmingham embarked on a dismal run of form and the League Cup champions were relegated for the second time.

Iain Dowie – Crystal Palace and Hull City

With disastrous spells at every Premier League club he was associated with, it’s not exactly a surprise to see Iain Dowie’s name make our list.

Dowie’s first victim was his former club Crystal Palace, after miraculously turning Palace from Championship strugglers into play-off finalists, Dowie had earned his first taste of managing in the Premier League. Sadly for Palace, the Iain Dowie Premier League curse took immediate effect. After only a single season, Palace were back in the Championship and to add insult to injury Dowie then jumped ship to local rivals Charlton.

Coming off the back of relegation with Newcastle, this time as an assistant to Alan Shearer, Dowie was back in the big leagues. With the Premier League’s ultimate yo-yo side Hull City needing someone to guide them to Premier League safety, The Tigers hoped that Dowie could be that man. But, clearly, Hull had not done their homework and after a string of defeats Hull and Dowie were relegated once again.

George Burley – Ipswich Town

Even with the two relegations to his name, George Burley’s nine-year spell in East Anglia is remembered fondly by most Ipswich supporters.

With over 500 appearances spanning over a 13-year career, needless to say, George Burley’s arrival as Ipswich’s manager in 1994 was seen as somewhat of a triumphant return to Portman Road. Sadly for the former Scotland boss, his tenure didn’t start too brightly, in his first season at the helm, The Tractor Boys were relegated and Burley had to rebuild.

After three consecutive play-off final defeats, it was fourth time lucky for Burley and Ipswich as they made their return to the Premier League. The following season, Ipswich defied all the odds as they marched to a fifth-place finish and Burley guaranteed the club European football.

But, despite picking up the Manager of the Year award in 2001, he couldn’t prevent Ipswich’s rapid decline and a year after qualifying for Europe, Ipswich were relegated again.

Bryan Robson – Middlesbrough and West Brom

For the former England and Manchester United captain, his seven years on Tyneside are largely remembered as underachieving.

After ending his playing career with Boro, Robson took charge of the club in 1994 and immediately led Middlesbrough to the Premier League in his first season at the helm. But, after reaching three cup finals in two years, Robson and his men were unable to lift a single piece of silverware. The further setback of relegation in 1997, despite players such as Ravanelli and Brazilian ace Juninho, even after bouncing back, Robson’s reputation never fully recovered.

Three years after getting the sack from Middlesbrough, Robson was back, once again with one of his former clubs. Announced as the new Baggies boss 23 years after his final appearance as a player, Robson famously somehow managed to avoid relegation on the final game of the 2004/2005 season. 12 months later tho, West Brom’s luck had run out and after failing to win any of their final 13 games, West Brom and Robson were relegated.


Start the discussion

to comment