FOOTBALL: Club Legends who’ve returned to Club Management

Following the reappointment of Zinedine Zidane at Spanish giants Real Madrid, it seems only appropriate to take a look at some of the top managers who’ve returned to their former sides and been successful with it as well.

Zidane in particular was very successful at Los Blancos, both as a manager and a player as well. In his 19 year association with the Spanish giants, the Frenchman has won: 2 La Ligas, 3 Supercopa de Españas, 4 Champions Leagues, 3 Super Cups and 2 FIFA Club World Cups as well.

Below we take a look at three managers who’ve returned to their former stomping ground and been able to turn the fortunes around their as well:

1. Michael Duff (Cheltenham Town)

Where better to start on returning legends with the return of local club hero Michael Duff, who previously played for the Robins from 1996-2004 and went on to play 242 games, scoring 15 times. The highlight of his Cheltenham career includes a 93rd-minute winner in a 3–2 victory at home to Yeovil back in 1999 which secured the Robins’ promotion to the Football League.

Having moved onto Championship side Burnley for £30,000, he went on to manage the Clarets’ under-23 side for a number of years after retiring in 2016 before being given his first first-team managerial role with Cheltenham back in September 2018 following Gary Johnson’s sacking.

After an initial rocky start to life in full-time management, Duff has managed to turn the Robins’ fortunes around guiding them from within the bottom three teams, to comfortably sitting in 17th place nine points off the relegation places and looking to be around for a fourth successive season in League Two.

2. Kenny Dalglish (Liverpool FC)

Liverpool legend Dalglish became Liverpool player-manager shortly after the Heysel disaster in 1985, guiding the Reds to the Double in his first season and winning the First Division title twice more in 1988 and 1990.

It would be 20 years until he set foot in the Anfield dugout again, initially appointed on an interim basis following Roy Hodgson’s sacking in 2011. A solid start saw him land the job permanently, but the Scotsman was sacked after a eighth-place finish in his only full season in charge – even though the Reds won the League Cup and reached the FA Cup Final.

Nowadays, the Scotsman has returned to Anfield as a non-executive director along with being recognised for his heroics at the club after winning 9 Football League First Divisions, 3 FA Cups, 5 Football League Cups and 3 European Cups. He now has Anfield’s Centenary Stand renamed after him back in May 2017.

3. Kevin Keegan (Newcastle United)

After initially the Magpies back in 1982-1984, Keegan began hugely popular with the club scoring 48 goals in 78 games and achieving promotion from the Second Division in 1984, within a team which also contained Peter Beardsley, Chris Waddle and Terry McDermott.

Keegan later retired at the end of his Newcastle career and moved to Spain with his family, stating that he would never enter football management. However, he very quickly changed his mind and in 1992 went on to manage Newcastle United in his role in management.

The Tyneside hero very nearly guided Newcastle to the Premier League title during his first spell in charge, but the Magpies fell away in the run-in and ultimately squandered a 12-point lead to Manchester United. Keegan still departed St James’ Park a legend in 1997, though, and was welcomed back with open arms over a decade later after spells in charge of Fulham, England and Manchester City.

He only lasted eight months however and Keegan resigned over disagreements on signings with director of football Dennis Wise, who helped to purchase Xisco and Nacho Gonzalez without the manager’s knowledge.

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