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Hit or miss? Coral’s five bosses who went back

Holly Thackeray | December 7, 2015

Coral’s hit or miss? Five managers who returned to former clubs

As manager Nigel Clough is welcomed back to old club Burton Albion with open arms after almost seven years away, succeeding now QPR coach Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Coral cast an eye over five other bosses to have returned to former pastures.

They say never go back, but is that always true? We rate whether the following reunions were hits or misses. If you agree, or rather don’t, let us know on Twitter.

Kenny Dalglish (Liverpool): Miss

Anfield Kop idol Dalglish’s prodigal return to Merseyside in a moment of instability, following cult hero coach Rafa Benitez’s departure and the subsequent struggles of replacement Roy Hodgson, promised much but failed to deliver and was dotted with controversy.

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Newcastle United v Liverpool - Sports Direct Arena

Having first coached the Reds as player-manager from 1985-1991, guiding them to their first-ever league and FA Cup double and capturing four top-tier trophies on the trot before resigning due to health problems, Dalglish’s return in 2011 filled Liverpool (10/1 with Coral to win the Premier League this term) with excitement.

Yet, despite quenching a trophy drought with a League Cup victory, the Scot eventually paid for his poor Premier League performances and recruitment policy, which saw a reported outlay of around £70m on Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson. Though, to his credit, King Kenny did bring Luis Suarez to the club.

Kevin Keegan (Newcastle United): Miss

From one former Reds star to another, Keegan never quite hit the heights of his playing career, which included two Ballon d’Ors with German giants Hamburg, as a coach consistently.

Soccer - Carling Cup - Second Round - Coventry City v Newcastle United - Ricoh Arena

The affable character’s first stint in charge at St James’ Park allowed Keegan to capitalise on an underdogs tag, guiding his Magpies guys to Premier League promotion as old Division One champions and then UEFA Cup qualification.

Though, in 1997, Keegan announced his intention to resign, just a season after being accused of crumbling following his famous outburst of “I will love it if we beat them! Love it!”, regarding Newcastle’s ultimately unsuccessful title race with Manchester United.

His shocking return in 2009 was hugely popular with the Toon Army’s faithful and fanatic fans, but did not bring the best results, as the ex-England boss won just seven of 22 games, before reportedly resigning again after a dispute with owner Mike Ashley over funds and control of transfers. In the present day, Newcastle can now be backed at evens to be relegated.

Jose Mourinho (Chelsea): Hit

The decision to rate Mourinho’s romantic return to Stamford Bridge as a hit may ruffle some feathers at the moment, as his current record is certainly far from spotless, but there are still miles to go this season, with the Blues still in contention for several cup crowns at the time of writing.

Controversial coach Mourinho is still Chelsea’s most successful ever manager, after a sensational haul of six major titles, including back-to-back Premier League trophies, between 2004-2007, before things began to go sour behind the scenes.

Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea - Barclays Premier League - White Hart Lane

Yet, the Portuguese is a proven winner and, having returned to guide the capital club to their first Premier League trophy since 2010 plus a Capital One Cup so far in his second stint in charge, Mourinho’s Chelsea reunion would currently only be judged a miss by his incredibly high standards.

Harry Redknapp (Portsmouth): Hit

Wheeler-dealer Redknapp was a brave man, as he sandwiched a season with Southampton in between his two stints with their bitter south coast rivals Pompey.

Portsmouth proved by far the greater success for the Englishman, however. The original relationship between club, owner and manager broke down in 2004 despite Redknapp having driven Pompey to Premier League promotion and then stability.

Soccer - FA Cup - Final - Portsmouth v Cardiff City - Wembley Stadium

A new owner saw Redknapp return for unprecedented success in the modern era, as he took his side all the way in the FA Cup, but after that feat was lured away by Tottenham, leaving a mixed legacy in the view of many fans.

Neil Warnock (Crystal Palace): Miss

A true character of the game, Warnock is a serial returnee to old stomping grounds, having recently performed a caretaker manager role for former club QPR, a team he originally bossed from 2010-2012.

Britain Soccer Premier League

Yet, it is his Crystal Palace history which qualifies the quirky coach for selection here. Warnock was the Selhurst Park’s only saleable asset in March 2010 after Palace received a 10-point reduction for poor financial management, with the manager switching across London after the Hoops paid the Eagles £500k in compensated.

Palace turned to Warnock again in 2014 when Tony Pulis departed. However, the gaffer lasted just five months after taking his team into the bottom three.

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