Whilst great players don’t always make successful managers, this hasn’t stopped the world’s best clubs turning to their former stars during times of difficulty. Frank Lampard and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer are the latest legends to tread this familiar path, with a number of fans hoping they use their no deposit free bet on backing their heroes to deliver next season.
History is full of club legends who returned home but failed to achieve success in the dugout, however, with even the legendary Alan Shearer unable to save his boyhood club Newcastle United from relegation in 2009.
Below, we’ve reflected on four managers who embarked on this journey, and asked how they fared during their tenures.
1. Kevin Keegan (Newcastle)
Whilst Shearer may have struggled to achieve his goals as Newcastle manager, however, his fellow Tyneside hero Kevin Keegan enjoyed far greater success.
Although the former Liverpool striker only played for two seasons in the North East, he plundered 48 goals during these campaigns and became a hero as Newcastle earned promotion to the top-flight.
He returned as manager eight years later with the club struggling in the old Second Division, but managed to keep them up before securing promotion the following year.
Then, Keegan created a thrilling and swashbuckling side that finished third, sixth and second in consecutive Premier League season, with players like David Ginola and Les Ferdinand shining. However, the Geordies blew a 12-point lead in the 1995/96 season, as Keegan and his charges wilted under relentless pressure from Manchester United.
2. Kenny Dalglish, Liverpool
When Keegan surprisingly resigned from the Newcastle role in January 1997, he was replaced by another former Liverpool great in the form of Kenny Dalglish.
The skillful forward won an incredible 22 major honours as a player at Anfield, before becoming the club’s player-manager following the Heysel Stadium disaster and the Joe Fagan’s resignation in the summer of 1985.
During a little more than five years in the hotseat on Merseyside, he managed to win three league titles and two FA Cups, cementing his status as a true legend at Anfield.
3. Graeme Souness, Liverpool
Scottish midfielder Graeme Souness is another who enjoyed incredible success as a player at Liverpool, winning five league titles, three European Cups and four League Cups in just seven years.
Unlike Dalglish, however, Souness failed to achieve similar access on the touchline, having taken over from his compatriot in April 1991. In a little under three turbulent years, Souness won a single FA Cup and recorded two consecutive sixth place finishes, whilst also affording a debut to starlets including the prolific Robbie Fowler.
Souness’ combative approach and ill-health (he had heart-bypass surgery in 1992) undoubtedly impacted on his tenure, but poor transfers and some disappointing results ultimately saw him resign in January 1994.
4. Pep Guardiola, Barcelona
We close with a man who may eventually be the most successful manager of all-time, with the brilliant Spaniard having already won 26 major honours with three clubs in just 11 years.
Guardiola’s incredible career started in 2007, when he was appointed the manager of the Barcelona B-team. The former Barca legend (who won 14 major honours as a player at the Nou Camp) graduated the role of first team coach the following year, landing another 14 trophies in just four incredible seasons.
To date, Guardiola is the only manager to better Johan Cruyff’s tally of 11 trophies as Barcelona manager, whilst the Spaniard also had the distinction of winning two Champions League crowns during his tenure.