There’s long been a saying that coaches and managers are hired to be fired. Well, that’s not true. They’re hired to do a job and most of them who are fired are relieved because they simply haven’t earned the expected results. This is especially true in the English Premier League. If you can’t handle the job you were hired for, you’re not going to last long, since there are dozens of other candidates in line to take over.
This following list represents the 12 shortest managerial stints in the Premier League ranked on the number of days in charge. Most tenures ended with a sacking, but there were a few instances where the manager may have resigned. Of course, if a resignation wasn’t forthcoming he would have likely been let go anyway. For whatever reason, these 12 football bosses couldn’t earn enough points with their clubs and were all gone within 140 days of being hired.
12. Marco Silva – Hull City
Former Portuguese player Marco Silva had already managed at Olympiakos, Estoril, and Sporting Lisbon before being hired by Hull City. He was actually sacked by Sporting for not wearing a club suit even though he won the Portuguese Cup just four days earlier. Silva was brought to Hull in January 2017 to replace Mike Phelan with the team mired in last place. He brought in his own team of assistants, won his first four home matches and beat Manchester United in a League Cup game. Silva finished the season with a record of eight wins (six in EPL), three draws and 11 losses for 27 points out of a possible 66 in 22 games, but Hull was still relegated. He promptly “resigned” at the end of the season after 140 days and joined Watford just two days later. Silva took 29 out of 78 points at Watford and was sacked eight months later as he was reportedly holding secret talks with Everton at the time.
11. Velimir Zajec – Portsmouth FC
Velimir Zajec of Zagreb originally headed down to the south coast of England in 2004 to take up his job as an executive director with Portsmouth. Harry Redknapp was the club’s manager at the time, but he resigned in November. Since Zajec had managerial experience at Panathinaikos and Dinamo Zagreb, he was appointed as the new boss. However, after just 124 days in charge he was relieved of those duties and went back to his old executive director position. Alain Perrin took over as manager and Zajec ended up resigning from Fratton Park the following October. It was reported at the time that Redknapp left because he didn’t get long with Zajec, but when he showed up as arch-rival Southampton’s new boss a few weeks later Portsmouth fans went nuts.
10. Neil Warnock – Crystal Palace
Englishman Neil Warnock has been managing clubs for about 35 years now and is currently in charge of Cardiff City. He’s been at numerous teams, including Crystal Palace between 2007 and 2010, but his second stint at Selhurst Park was over after 122 days. Warnock was brought back to London in August 2014 to take over from Tony Pulis and was sacked two days after Christmas, following a 3-1 Boxing Day loss to Southampton. Warnock was at the helm for 17 matches and won three of them while drawing six and losing eight for 15 points out of a possible 51. Alan Pardew then took over the Palace squad a week later with it firmly entrenched in the relegation zone and guided them to a 10th-place finish. At the time of his sacking, Warnock had earned 70 points out of a possible 228 as a Premier League boss.
9. Pepe Mel – West Bromwich Albion
West Bromwich Albion was about to sack Pepe Mel (Jose Mel Perez) after just 44 days and six games into his stint, but he managed to elude the pink slip until his 120th day on the job. Mel and West Brom both thought it was best if he left the team on May 12t, 2014 after 17 league games in charge. During that time, the native of Madrid earned 15 points out of a possible 51 with a record of three wins, six draws and eight losses. Mel had signed an 18-month contract a few months earlier, but was let go a day after the 2013-14 season ended when West Brom managed to escape relegation by finishing in 17th place. Apparently, Mel wanted to make wholesale players changes at the Hawthorns, but the board figured it’d just be easier to replace him. Mel’s also been sacked by Spanish sides Betis and Deportivo de La Coruna since then.
8. Steve Wigley – Southampton
Steve Wigley managed to last one day longer at his job than Tony Adams did when they were both down on the south coast. Wigley was the gaffer with Southampton for 107 days after being hired on August 23, 2004 and fired on December 8 the same year. He was in charge of the players for 14 league games with his only previous managerial experience being with non-league side Aldershot Town from 1995 to 1997. Wigley was the Saints’ youth coach when he took the job and that’s where he returned shortly after due to winning just one league outing. Wigley was promoted after only two games of the season when Paul Sturrock departed the team and had previously acted as manager for two matches earlier in 2004 when Gordon Strachan left as manager.
7. Tony Adams – Portsmouth
Former Arsenal and England great Tony Adams found the going pretty tough in Portsmouth in the 2008-09 season, as he lasted just 106 days as the club’s manager. Adams, who was hired in 2006 as an assistant, took over from manager Harry Redknapp at Fratton Park on the south coast on October 28 and was given the heave-ho on February 9. The former defender was in charge for 16 league games, won only two of them and earned 11 of a possible 48 points. In total, he led the squad into battle for 22 matches with four victories, seven draws and 11 defeats for 19 points out of a possible 66. Adams, who previously managed at Wycombe, blamed injuries and Portsmouth’s financial struggles for the club’s poor performance at the time. He had two wins, four draws and 10 losses in his 16 league matches.
6. Colin Todd – Derby County
Derby County decided to let former manager Colin Todd go after he was in charge at Pride Park for just 98 days. He was sacked on January 13, 2002 shortly after being ousted from the FA Cup at home by struggling lower division side Bristol Rovers. Todd, who previously managed Middlesbrough, Bolton and Swindon Town, was in charge for 17 games in total and lost 11 of them. He was an assistant manager when he took over the job in October when Jim Smith resigned. And being a former star player with Derby the fans welcomed the move. The 2001-02 English campaign was particularly brutal for managers as Todd was the 32nd casualty of the season and it was just the second week of January. Todd took 14 points out of a possible 51 with Derby on four wins, two draws and 11 defeats.
5. Terry Connor – Wolverhampton Wanderers
Yes, Wolverhampton Wanderers were actually in the Premier League in 2012 and Terry Connor was the boss for a total of 91 days. Connor was promoted from his job as assistant to Mick McCarthy after McCarthy was was told he was no longer needed. The new manager took over on February 24, 2012 and made it to the end of the season before being fired on June 30. Connor was in charge of the team for 13 league games and he managed to earn four out of a possible 39 points while going on a seven-game losing skid. Wolves supporters had been told an experienced manager would be hired, but obviously wanted to save money by promoting from within. Wolves were relegated and Connor rejoined McCarthy has his assistant at Ipswich Town.
4. Bob Bradley – Swansea City
Former U.S. National Men’s Team manager Bob Bradley became the first American boss in the Premier League in October 2016. However, he didn’t make it to 2017. Bradley lasted just 11 games with the Welsh side and was sacked after only 85 days on the job. Bradley made it past Christmas, just barely, and was released on December 27. The squad managed to earn just eight out of a possible 33 points with Bradley in charge on two wins, two draws and seven losses and they were mired in second-last place in the 20-team league. He was Swansea’s second manager that year as he took over from Francesco Guidolin and was replaced by Paul Clement, who managed to fight off relegation. Bradley is now managing Los Angeles FC, the newest expansion team in MLS.
3. Frank de Boer – Crystal Palace
Former Dutch playing great Frank de Boer may have lasted a bit longer in his job than Rene Muelensteen and Les Reed, but he holds the record for fewest league games in charge at four. He managed the side for five games in total, as he also got through a League Cup contest. De Boer lasted 77 days with London club Crystal Palace as he was hired June 26, fired on September 11, and replaced by former England manager Roy Hodgson. Palace failed to score a goal during the four league games he was at the helm for and it was the worst start in the top flight of English football for close to a century. The last time a top team lost its first four matches and didn’t score a goal was in 1924 when Preston North End wafted in futility. De Boer, who previously lasted just 84 days managing Inter Milan, was signed to a three-year deal at Palace and took over from Sam Allardyce. He’s now assistant manager at Ajax A1.
2. Rene Meulensteen – Fulham FC
Rene Meulensteen managed nine more Premier League games than fellow Dutchman Frank de Boer, but he was fired two days earlier. Meulensteen was given his marching orders after just 75 days, as he was hired by London side Fulham on December 1, 2013 and sacked on Valentine’s Day in 2014. Meulensteen had far more security and was much more successful in his previous job as an assistant manager to Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford. Meulensteen left United for Fulham when David Moyes replaced Feguson. He became an assistant to Martin Jol at Craven Cottage and took over as boss three weeks later when Jol was let go. Meulensteen was replaced by Felix Magath after losing five games out of six, but Fulham was relegated at the end of the campaign. Meulensteen was in charge of 17 games in total with Fulham with 13 of them being league matches. He had four wins, four draws and nine losses.
1. Les Reed – Charlton Athletic
The shortest managerial stint ever in the Premier League before being sacked was 40 days, which is an unwelcome record owned by Les Reed. He was hired by Charlton Athletic on November 14, 2006 and let go just several weeks later on Christmas Eve (of all days). In total, Reed was in charge of the squad for seven league games and one cup contest. He was actually promoted into the job from his position of assistant manager to former boss Iain Dowie. Reed guided his team to just one victory and was also embarrassed by fourth-tier side Wycombe Wanderers of League Two in the League Cup. He took over from Dowie, who was fired after losing eight of the side’s first dozen league outings, and earned just four points out of a possible 21. Reed is currently the vice president of football with Southampton.