Written by Dave Azzopardi - @DaveAzzopardi
Many players are labelled as legends at clubs every season but very few go on to become successful coaches and managers. In my latest experiment, I give each Premier League club a new manager who their fans will be familiar with and we see who succeeds and who fails. After 5 seasons I'll be grading each manager on how they got on and giving you a more in-depth look on who did what. You can also watch the YouTube video for the experiment at the bottom of this post.
ARSENAL: Thierry Henry
Win Percentage: 63%
After a failed managerial stint with Monaco, I was interested to see how Henry would get on back at Arsenal. He didn't quite complete the full five seasons after being sacked in February 2023 but picked up a fairly impressive three top four out of a possible four. I still would have hoped for more silverware from Henry though after the 18-19 Carabao Cup in his debut season was his only cup honour.
BOURNEMOUTH: Steve Fletcher
Win Percentage: 36%
Steve Fletcher made hundreds of appearances for Bournemouth and is currently a coach at the Premier League side. He had a very decent stint as manager over the 5 years, keeping his job and never really putting Bournemouth in any danger. Finishes of 8th, 10th and 12th (x3) ensured Fletcher kept his job and kept his legend status at the club.
BRIGHTON: Bobby Zamora
Win Percentage: 25%
When the ball hits your head and you're sat in row Z, that's Zamora - Funnily his managerial career was quite similar. Zamora lasted just 184 days in charge of Brighton getting just 5 wins in his 20 game tenure. Sacked on Boxing Day 2018 (Merry Christmas), Zamora was then replaced with Sam Allardyce and Brighton finished rock bottom of the Premier League with 23 points.
BURNLEY: Martin Dobson
Win Percentage: 23%
Martin Dobson was one of the oldest managers in this experiment but his experience didn't help as he was sacked from Burnley after just 177 days. 5 wins from 23 games was nowhere near good enough so the Burnley hierarchy decided to swap Dobson with Solskjaer. Unsurprisingly Dobson retired after the sacking and Burnley comfortably stayed up.
CARDIFF: Robert Earnshaw
Win Percentage: 26%
Robert Earnshaw had a fantastic start to life in management as he led Cardiff to a 13th place finish in their first season back in the Premier League. However the Welsh side rode their luck in season two, staying up on goal difference, with 5 teams finishing with less than 30 points. Earnshaw then walked away from club management taking the role as Welsh national team manager.
CHELSEA: Frank Lampard
Win Percentage: 60%
Lampard wasn't able to keep his Chelsea job throughout the experiment after he got the axe in December of 2021. After around 3 and a half years in charge, Lampard didn't even manage to get a top 4 spot with 5th and 6th (x2) placed finishes. With no silverware to back it up, it was only a matter of time before Abramovic gave up.
CRYSTAL PALACE: Julián Speroni
Win Percentage: 31%
Goalkeeper Speroni took on the player/manager role at Selhurst Park but wasn't able to get any silverware in his 2 and a half season spell. The Argentine led Palace to 11th and 15th placed finishes before being sacked on Boxing Day 2020. Vladimir Petkovic took over but it wasn't enough as Palace went down in 19th place.
EVERTON: Neville Southall
Win Percentage: 27%
You would have hoped Southall's experience of managing Hastings back in 2004 would have given him an advantage on the other managers... maybe not. The ex-Welsh international only lasted 181 days before Everton sacked him and replace him with Jorge Jesus. Despite Southall winning just 5 games from 19, Jorge Jesus was able to turn it around and the Toffees still got a 10th place finish.
FULHAM: Kit Symons
Win Percentage: 23%
Fulham favourite Kit Symons managed to last the season before losing his job as his Fulham side picked up 30 points, missing out on Premier League survival by 1 point. Similar to real life, Scott Parker took over as Fulham boss but was then sacked before Christmas the following season. Symons only won 10 out of 42 games so no surprise that he was let go.
HUDDERSFIELD: Nathan Clarke
Win Percentage: 18%
Nathan Clarke probably isn't quite labelled a 'legend' by Huddersfield fans but the 34 year old made 300 appearances for the Terriers. He didn't quite manage to last a full season but despite a diabolical 18% win ratio, Clarke lasted till March until he was replaced with Brendan Rodgers. Huddersfield managed to stay up by the skin of their teeth, surviving by one point.
LEICESTER: Robert Huth
Win Percentage: 41%
After winning the Premier League as a player with Leicester, Robert Huth was hoping to get some success as manager of the Foxes. He was one of few managers who managed to keep their job over the 5 seasons. Huth didn't win any silverware but achieved 9th, 13th (x2), 7th and 8th place finishes and a Europa League qualification in the 20/21 season.
LIVERPOOL: Steven Gerrard
Win Percentage: 62%
Stevie G picked up one piece of silverware but was in the small amount of bosses who didn't lose their job or move on. Liverpool picked up the 2020/2021 FA Cup and an impressive 180 wins in the 5 seasons. Gerrard picked up 5th, 3rd (x2), 4th (x2) placed finishes but wasn't able to unsettle the top 2.
MANCHESTER CITY: Shaun Goater
Win Percentage: 74%
Wow. The biggest shock of this whole experiment was Shaun Goater literally bossing English football. I've seen it on a number of saves where even Pep Guardiola doesn't get the best out of City and loses his job within the first 2 years, but the Goat smashed it. 210 matches won, 3 league titles, 4 Community Shield wins, 2 League Cup Wins, 1 Champions League win. a Super Cup win and a Club World Championship win. Again, wow. Goater managed to squeeze all this silverware into a 5 season spell but bailed on a fourth title win as he left the club in March 2023 to join divisional rivals, Arsenal. Strange decision but what a career so far for the Goat.
MANCHESTER UNITED: Ryan Giggs
Win Percentage: 71%
It really did turn into the battle of Manchester United and Manchester City. Giggs and Goater wouldn't let any other side have a sniff at the title and whilst City were winning league titles, Giggs' United picked up a number of big honours. Manchester United got a treble in season 2 as they picked up the Carabao Cup, Premier League title and a Champions League win. The season after (2020/2021) Giggs managed to retain the Champions League whilst also picking up a Community Shield and Super Cup win. In total United picked up, 2 League Cup wins, 1 Premier League win, 2 Champions League wins, 1 FA Cup win, 1 Community Shield Win, 2 Super Cup wins and 2 Club World Championship wins, superb.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Nolberto Solano
Win Percentage: 30%
Nolberto Solano joined the group of bosses that didn't quite make the cut. He won 8 of his 24 games for Newcastle but that wasn't enough for Mike Ashley as the Peruvian was eventually sacked. Rubén Coméndez was Nobby's replacement, who held the role for the remainder of the experiment. Despite the poor start, Newcastle managed to stay in the league, finishing 15th, 9 points clear of the danger zone.
SOUTHAMPTON: Rickie Lambert
Win Percentage: 43%
Rickie Lambert had a fantastic start to life as Saints boss as he picked up the FA Cup in his first season in charge. Despite finishing 12th in season one, this gifted Southampton european football. Lambert then guided the Saints to a strong 7th placed finish in season two but was then sacked in December of season three after a poor start. Nevertheless, his first two seasons were fantastic, an FA Cup win and a 7th placed finish, rightly staying as a Southampton legend.
TOTTENHAM: Pat Jennings
Win Percentage: 60%
One of the bigger shocks in this experiment was the success of Pat Jennings at Spurs. The 73-year-old managed to bag a Champions League win in his first season as a manager, incredible. Alongside two solid top 4 finishes, despite strong competition, Jennings had a fantastic two seasons in charge of Spurs.
WATFORD: Luther Blissett
Win Percentage: 23%
Only 4 wins from 17 was nowhere near good enough for the Watford board as legend Luther Blissett was sacked at the start of December. Despite this poor start, Watford comfortably stayed up in 14th position after Juande Ramos took charge.
WEST HAM - Paolo Di Canio
Win Percentage: 35%
Crazy Italian Di Canio took over at West Ham and managed to bring the FA Cup trophy to the London Stadium in the second season. Season one started strong as Di Canio led West Ham to a 7th placed finish, season two saw a 10th placed finish alongside the FA Cup win but a 11th placed finish in season three put the Italian's job under threat. In season 4 Di Canio lost his job and Carlos Carvalhal took over.
WOLVES - Steve Bull
Win Percentage: 30%
Steve Bull is Wolves' all time top goal scorer but he didn't get Wanderers firing at all. In fact, the only firing was when the Tipton-born boss got the axe. The only reason Bull didn't get the 'F grade' was because of his record. 8 wins, 6 draws and 12 losses wasn't actually too bad but it certainly wasn't enough for Wolves' Chinese owners as they got rid of the ex-striker. He was replaced with Portuguese boss André Villas-Boas who then sent Wolves down, finishing in 18th place, on 30 points.
Want more? Watch the review video below.