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flag   Assistant Managers/Coaches who have been made Gaffers

Plenty have tried. Plenty have failed. Blimey - some have even been a success. Here we take a look at some of the assistants and coaches who have been promoted to the top job and made a complete hash of it, and those who made it look like a doddle...

Assistants Who Succeeded
Name Club Took Over From Description
David O'Leary Leeds Utd George Graham O'Leary had been appointed assistant manager at Leeds by George Graham in 1996. When Graham left controversially to take over at Spurs in 1998 the club initially moved for Martin O'Neill. But when that deal collapsed they handed the reigns to O'Leary. He guided them to 4th in his first season in charge and followed it up with a Premiership 3rd place in 1999-00 and a UEFA Cup semi-final spot. O'Leary then came tantalisingly close to Champions League glory in 2000-01, the team reaching the semi-finals but losing to Valencia, and also finished 4th in the Premiership. Despite spending a fortune in the transfer market everyone still seemed relatively happy - the style of football was good, the team was full of youngsters and they looked on course for some serious silverware. Indeed, O'Leary looked like he might lead his team to the title in 2001-02, but after topping the league for a large part of the season, an FA Cup defeat at Cardiff saw them lose form dramatically and they finished the season 5th. Despite the consistently high league finishes, controversial chairman Peter Risdale sacked O'Leary at the end of the season, although many thought that O'Leary's infamous "Leeds United On Trial" book had contributed more to his dismissal than performances on the pitch, as it was seen by many people as the manager cashing in on the Jonathan Woodgate/Lee Bowyer Majestyk nightclub incident. O'Leary went on to manage Aston Villa, a subject probably best avoided by all concerned.
Roy Evans Liverpool Grame Souness
Tony Parkes Blackburn Rovers Brian Kidd Any rumours that Blackburn employed Tony Parkes solely for his skills as a caretaker manager are totally unfounded, but their ex-player was called up to the role many times after the departures of Bobby Saxton, Don Mackay, Ray Harford, Ray Hodgson, Brian Kidd and Graeme Souness. He always seemed to get a few points in after his appointment but always insisted he didn't want it permanently. He finally left Blackburn after Mark Hughes opted to bring in his own backroom staff, and headed up the road to Blackpool where he became assistant to Simon Grayson, obviously ready to step up again when the inevitable happens.
Walter Smith Rangers Graeme Souness
Bob Paisley Liverpool Bill Shankly
Ronnie Moran Liverpool Bob Paisley
Nigel Adkins Scunthorpe Brian Laws A former goalkeeper who was Scunthorpe's physio at the time when Brian Laws departed for Sheffield Wednesday in the early part of the 2006-2007 season. Eyebrows were raised when the club handed him the managers job on a caretaker basis, but not only did he maintain Laws' decent start to the season, he took them even higher. The club had no option but to appoint him permanently and it worked a treat - the Irons gaining promotion to the Championship as League 1 title winners.
Sean McAuley Sheffield Wednesday Paul Sturrock At most clubs, if you were appointed as caretaker manger and won 3 games and drew 1 the chances are you would be given the job on a permanent basis, but when Sean McAuley took over after the surprise sacking of Paul Sturrock in 2006, the clubs insistance on bringing in a man with more experience counted against him. Brian Laws took over the reigns and guided the Owls to a respectable 9th place at the end of the season but many attributed the club's relative success to the efforts of the Academy manager in a tricky part of the season.


Assistants Who Failed
Name Club Took Over From Description
Peter Shreeves Spurs Keith Burkinshaw
Gordon Strachan Coventry City Ron Atkinson
Colin Harvey Everton Howard Kendall
Micky Adams Leicester City Dave Bassett
Wilf McGuinness Man Utd Sir Matt Busby
Don Howe Arsenal Terry Neill
Peter Eustace Sheffield Wednesday Howard Wilkinson Eustace had been a skilful playmaker in the heart of Wednesday's midfield in the 60's, playing in the famous 1966 FA Cup final. But when he was promoted from assistant manager after Howard Wilkinson left for Leeds Utd back in 1988 he forgot about the creative principles of his playing days and went about constructing one of the dullest Wednesday sides ever in the space of a couple of months. The sight of Colin West, Wilf Rostron and Darren Wood was too much for the Hillsborough faithful and they had soon nicknamed their former star player "Peter Useless". Luckily for them, the new gaffer's record of just 2 wins in 18 games, coupled with a style of football that made Wilkinson's look almost Brazilian-esque, prompted the board to sack him after only 3 months and replace him with his polar opposite, Mr Bojangles himself, Ron Atkinson.
Stuart Gray Southampton Glenn Hoddle
Eddie Gray Leeds Utd Peter Reid
Rob Kelly Leciester Craig Levein
Peter Shreeves Sheffield Wednesday Paul Jewell
Terry Yorath Sheffield Wednesday Peter Shreeves


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