Ranking the Worst English Premier League Managers of All Time

| November 20, 2021 6:51 am PST

The English Premier League has seen its fair share of exceptional managers come and go over the years.

From legends such as Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger to current-day icons like Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, England’s top soccer division has always attracted world-class coaches.

But have you ever thought about the worst managers in Premier League history?

Would you believe me if I told you that one of the worst EPL managers of all time lasted just four games and 77 days before getting fired? What about the coach who failed to win any of his 13 matches in charge of an EPL club?

Naturally, people always remember the greats of the game. But I thought it would be fun to look back on the guys who left their mark on the EPL for all the wrong reasons.

Join me as I rank the worst Premier League managers of all time.

10. Felix Magath – Fulham

Felix Magath

Fulham made a dreadful start to the 2013/14 season, leading to the sacking of manager Martin Jol just before Christmas.

Rene Meulensteen attempted to steady the ship, but the former Manchester United coach was replaced by Felix Magath in February.
Magath was appointed with one mission: to keep the Cottagers in the Premier League. Unfortunately, he failed – spectacularly.

Looking at Magath’s résumé, Fulham fans would have been optimistic about their chances of avoiding relegation. The Germans had back-to-back triumphs with Bayern Munich to Bundesliga before winning the top-flight title again with Wolfsburg.

When he arrived in England, however, he ruined his reputation forever.

The Cottagers won just four of their 20 games under Magath, registering four draws and 12 losses in the process. As a result, they were relegated from the EPL.

9. Remi Garde – Aston Villa

When Remi Garde took over at Villa Park in November 2015, the club had just suffered a record seven straight defeats in the Premier League. As you can probably guess, things didn’t get much better under the Frenchman.

The ex-Lyon boss oversaw 20 EPL games as Aston Villa manager, picking up just two wins. His team also conceded a whopping 38 goals in the process, underlining his struggles.

Despite taking over midway through the 2015/16 campaign, Garde didn’t even make it to the end of the season. He was sacked in March after 147 days in charge and left the club with a measly win percentage of 13%.

REMI GARDE’S RECORD AS ASTON VILLA MANAGER (ALL COMPETITIONS)
Games Wins Draws Losses Win %
23 3 7 13 13%

Garde went on to enjoy a two-year stint at Major League Soccer side CF Montreal after leaving England. Still, he will always be remembered as one of the worst Premier League managers of all time.

8. Bob Bradley – Swansea City

The only American manager in EPL history lasted just 85 days before getting fired.

The 2016/17 season did not start well for Swansea City. The Welsh outfit lost five of their opening seven league matches, with head coach Francesco Guidolin paying the price for the team’s poor performances.

Having made a name for himself in the States, Bob Bradley was appointed as Guidolin’s successor on October 3. By December 27, the American was already searching for a new job.

Bradley won just two of his 11 games in charge of the Swans – and they conceded a mammoth 29 goals in that time (2.6 goal per game).

If the former USMNT coach had remained in the role, Swansea would have broken all kinds of EPL defensive records – and they would not have been good records!

7. Paolo Di Canio – Sunderland

Paolo Di Canio

It could be argued that Paolo Di Canio is one of the greatest players the Premier League has ever seen. I mean, who could forget about that iconic volley against Wimbledon back in 2000?

On the flip side, it could also be argued that Di Canio is among the worst EPL managers in history. In fairness to the enigmatic Italian, he did manage to keep Sunderland in the Premier League.

Having replaced Martin O’Neill in the Stadium of Light hot seat in March 2013, Di Canio guided the Black Cats to a seventh-place finish – ending the campaign three points above the drop zone.

The following season, however, Sunderland failed to win any of their opening four games, with a run of one draw and four defeats bringing an end to Di Canio’s time on Wearside.

Di Canio only oversaw 13 games as Sunderland boss, winning just three. I think it’s safe to say that record makes him one of the worst managers in the history of the English Premier League.

6. Brian Laws – Burnley

Just like Di Canio, Brian Laws was a top player. The ex-defender won multiple trophies at Nottingham Forest after racking up over a century of appearances for his first club, Burnley.

When Laws returned to Turf Moor in January 2010 – replacing the Bolton Wanderers-bound Owen Coyle – it was supposed to be a fairytale reunion. As it turned out, it was a match made in hell!

BURNLEY UNDER BRIAN LAWS IN THE EPL
Games Wins Draws Losses Win %
18 3 1 14 16%

The Clarets went from mid-table comfort to relegation danger in a matter of months, losing 14 of their 18 Premier League games under Laws’ watch. It could be said that Laws singlehandedly took Burnley to the second tier.

Remarkably, the Burnley hierarchy decided to keep Laws on board for the subsequent Championship campaign. You probably won’t be surprised to learn that he didn’t make it past the turn of the year.

5. Steve Kean – Blackburn Rovers

Steve Kean

Before I tell you all about Steve Kean, let me remind you that he managed Blackburn Rovers for a year and nine months. Just let that sink in for a second.

Kean’s coaching career began in 2003. He spent four years as an assistant coach at Fulham before operating in the same role at Real Sociedad and Coventry City.

In 2009, he teamed up with Blackburn – joining Sam Allardyce’s coaching staff. When Blackburn parted ways with Allardyce in December 2010, Kean was promoted to the top job at Ewood Park – despite having no previous managerial experience.

Although Rovers avoided the drop at the end of the campaign, they were relegated the following season. Consequently, Kean jumped ship just weeks into the 2012/13 Championship campaign.

Kean only managed to win 12 of his 55 Premier League matches, giving him a woeful win percentage of 22%. That automatically makes him one of the worst Premier League managers of all time.

4. Frank de Boer – Crystal Palace

While Kean lasted almost two years at Blackburn, Frank de Boer’s brief stint at Crystal Palace came to end after just 77 days. To this day, it remains the shortest EPL managerial tenure in terms of games.

The Dutchman was appointed by the club prior to the 2017/18 season, with many believing that he could take the Eagles to the next level. Sadly, he ended up taking them in completely the opposite direction.

Palace played just four league matches under de Boer, losing every single one. On top of that, the team failed to score a single goal while the former Netherlands international was in the dugout.

As a player, de Boer won just about every major honor under the sun. He guided Ajax to five Eredivisie titles and a UEFA Champions League triumph before winning La Liga with Barcelona.

However, it’s fair to say the contrast between de Boer’s playing career and managerial career is vast.

3. Billy Davies – Derby County

Billy Davies etched his name into Derby Country folklore when he guided the club to promotion in 2007. A few months later, he went down in the history books for all the wrong reasons.

After taking the Rams up to the Premier League, Davies led them to just a single victory across the opening 14 games of the 2007/08 campaign. They suffered ten defeats in that time and only managed to score five goals along the way.

An eight-game winless streak left the Derby board with little choice but to part ways with the Scotsman in November. Paul Jewell tried to steer the club in the right direction, but the damage has already been done.

Not only is Davies among the worst managers in Premier League history, but he is also part of one of the worst EPL teams of all time.

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2. Jan Siewert – Huddersfield Town

In Jan Siewert’s defense, he inherited a team that had just suffered nine defeats in ten games. Even so, he had plenty of time to turn things around.

Siewert replaced David Wagner as Huddersfield boss with 15 matches remaining of the 2018/19 Premier League season. Although the Terriers were bottom of the table when he arrived, the German coach had time on his side.

Yet, even if he had all the time in the world, he wouldn’t have been able to save Huddersfield. In fact, he ended up losing 12 of his first 13 league outings in charge of the West Yorkshire outfit and only managed to win one of his 15 games overall.

Jan Siewert’s EPL Record at Huddersfield
Bowing out with a meager win percentage of 6.6%, Siewert is undoubtedly one of the worst EPL managers of all time.

1. Terry Connor – Wolverhampton Wanderers

Terry Connor

You can’t help but feel a bit sorry for Terry Connor.

When Connor was promoted from assistant to head coach following Mick McCarthy’s sacking in February 2012, Wolverhampton Wanderers had just slipped into the relegation zone. With no previous managerial experience, he was tasked with keeping the club in the Premier League.

Unfortunately, Wolves ended up finishing six points adrift at the bottom.

Connor was unable to pick up a single win during his 13 league games in the Molineux hot seat, recording four draws and nine losses. As a result, he amassed a paltry four points from a possible 39!

The EPL has seen some pretty awful managers come and go over the years, but Connor is arguably the worst of the bunch.

Final Word on the Worst EPL Managers of All Time

Few would argue that Connor isn’t the worst manager in the history of the Premier League. I mean, they guy failed to win any of his 13 matches in charge of Wolves and led them to relegation in the process.

Other coaches like Siewert, Davies, and de Boer definitely deserve to be near the number-one spot, but Connor’s record makes him the worst EPL manager of all time – at least in my eyes.

Here are some other bad Premier League managers that were fortunate enough to just miss the cut.

  • Paul Ince – Blackburn Rovers
  • Tony Adams – Portsmouth
  • John Carver – Newcastle
  • Peter Taylor – Leicester City
  • Paul Jewell – Derby County
  • Pepe Mel – West Bromwich Albion
  • Steve Wigley – Southampton

If you enjoyed this post and want to check out some similar content, why not go over the best EPL managers in the last decade?

Ben Morris

Ben is a sportswriter and tipster who specializes in soccer. Currently based in the UK, he has traveled all around the world watching – and betting on – his beloved sport.

Alongside his regular soccer content, Ben publishes blogs and picks for cricket, Formula 1, Aussie rules, darts, and various other sports.

Ben is a diehard fan of Nottingham Forest and England, so he hasn’t had much to cheer about in recent years!

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