The managers who couldn’t cut it in the Premier League and got the sack before they ever got truly settled into the job.
Sam Allardyce has set a new record for the shortest managerial reign in Premier League history after Leeds confirmed the veteran coach would leave the club.
Allardyce was drafted in in a desperate bid to save Leeds from relegation, but departs having failed to win during his four games in charge and with the club set to spend next season in the Championship.
Following his departure we’ve decided to look at a selection of other managers who endured similarly short spells in charge of Premier League teams.
The Premier League’s shortest managerial reigns:
Quique Sanchez Flores – Watford (85 days)
Flores’ second stint in charge of Watford was, needless to say, far less successful than his first between 2015-16. During his three months as manager, the side saw a slight uptake in results as they won their first game of the campaign and drew 2-2 with Arsenal.
They did, though, also lose 8-0 to Manchester City and their performances were arguably discernibly worse than under their predecessor. Flores was sacked with the team still bottom of the table, six points adrift of safety.
Bob Bradley — Swansea City (84 days)
Swansea’s last few seasons in the Premier League were characterised by the chopping and changing of managers that contributed to the erosion of their identity as a club that played neat, possession-based football.
In 2016 the former US coach Bob Bradley took over from Francesco Guidolin, and immediately decided on a gung-ho attacking approach, such was the paucity of defensive talent in the side.
Swansea Bob Bradley looked so TK Maxx. LAFC Bob Bradley is 100% James Perse. A different creature pic.twitter.com/5eIJFTs9EW
— Men in Blazers (@MenInBlazers) May 19, 2018
11 games, two wins, and a boatload of goals conceded later, and the American was sent packing just after Christmas. Paul Clement kept the Welsh club up, before getting the sack himself the following December.
Frank De Boer — Crystal Palace (77 days)
There’s a few reasons why the legendary Dutch player was doomed from the very beginning: Crystal Palace’s announcement video featured photos of his brother, Ronald, and not him (how awkward), and chairman Steve Parish admitted that the club’s DNA was very much rooted in a more direct style than what De Boer had planned on integrating into his squad.
That’s probably why he was only the second non-British or Irish manager in the South London outfit’s history.
Three years ago today, Crystal Palace sacked Frank de Boer after just five games in charge 🤯
We’ll let Jose take it from here… 😬 pic.twitter.com/Ok1NS4kLgs
— Hayters TV (@HaytersTV) September 11, 2020
Replacing Sam Allardyce with the Ajax graduate was too much of a culture shock for the Eagles, who failed to score a single goal or win a league game under De Boer.
His four-match reign is the joint-shortest of any manager in the Premier League era in terms of games, with the Dutchman swiftly making way for Roy Hodgson.
Rene Meulensteen — Fulham (75 days)
When Rene Meulensteen was brought in to aid Fulham’s relegation battle as a member of the backroom team, everyone knew the writing was on the wall for Martin Jol. Three weeks later, the former Manchester United coach was in charge of team affairs.
Two and a half months and four wins after that, he too was replaced, this time by Felix Magath. There was confusion at first, as Meulensteen was not even mentioned in the statement announcing the German’s hiring, with some wondering if he was moving back into a technical role.
Four days on, his contract was cancelled.
Javi Gracia – Leeds (71 days)
Javi Gracia lasted just 71 days in charge of Leeds United during the 2022/23 season, with the Spaniard failing to address a poor run of results that left the club in danger of relegation.
Gracia had arrived as a replacement for the sacked Jesse March, but the former Watford boss was dismissed from the role after just 10 weeks and 12 games in charge at Elland Road.
A run of heavy defeats saw Gracia sacked, as Leeds set a new record for the most goals ever conceded in a Premier League month in April 2023. A 4-1 defeat at Bournemouth saw Gracia fired, a loss which followed 6-1, 5-1 and 4-1 thrashings by Liverpool, Crystal Palace and Arsenal.
Les Reed – Charlton Athletic (40 days)
These days Les Reed has a reputation as being a mastermind behind the scenes of football. After eight years of being Southampton’s Head of Football Development, a period in which the club regained their top flight status and produced a myriad of super talented footballers, Reed also spent time as a Technical Director at the Football Association.
Before all that though, he had a go at managing Charlton Athletic.
Fair to say, it didn’t go well. In the space of six weeks he accumulated a single victory and his side were knocked out of the League Cup by fourth-tier club Wycombe Wanderers.
Dubbed ‘Les Miserables’, Reed would endure one of the shortest managerial reign in Premier League history while at Charlton.
Sam Allardyce – Leeds (30 days)
Sam Allardyce has forged a reputation as one of the Premier League’s great firefighters, a coach who has consistently found methods to keep struggling teams in the division.
Leeds took a chance on Allardyce after Javi Gracia’s own short-lived reign at Elland Road, with the 68-year-old brought in for the final four games of the season.
Sam Allardyce now holds the record for the shortest managerial reign in Premier League history 😬 pic.twitter.com/wnpqlUER9D
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) June 4, 2023
There was little new manager bounce and results did not arrive for Leeds, who lost three and drew one of Allardyce’s three games in charge.
Relegation was confirmed after a 4-1 humbling at home to Tottenham on the final day, with Leeds facing a rebuild in the Championship next season.