Managers with three or more spells at the same club

Matthew Gault by Matthew Gault / 16 October 2017, 16:05

More often than not, managerial reigns end on somewhat acrimonious terms. There are always diplomatic well wishes in the club statements announcing a manager’s departure, sure, but it’s often the case that tensions have very much come to the fore.

When managers go, they aren’t in a hurry to go back. Which makes it somewhat jarring when they do. Like Jupp Heynckes, for example, the doyen of German football management, who last week stepped in to take charge of Bayern Munich for a fourth time following Carlo Ancelotti’s departure.

Four times. Pretty remarkable. Especially for an elite club like Bayern. But he isn’t the only manager to return and give it another crack more than once.

With that said, here are 12 gaffers who have managed the same club at least three times.

Takis Lemonis (four at Olympiakos)

The 57-year-old has won five Superleague titles with Greek giants Olympiakos across four tenures dating back to 2000. Lemonis’s most recent return was in September of this year, succeeding Besnik Hasi, who lasted just three-and-a-half months in the job after a poor start to the season.

Lemonis is charged with returning Olympiakos to domestic glory, although they are currently four points behind leaders PAOK and face a daunting trip to Barcelona in the Champions League this week.

John Sheridan (five at Oldham)

The former Republic of Ireland international finished his playing career at Oldham, and has been back on a semi-regular basis ever since. Two of Sheridan’s spells were as caretaker when he was still playing, before taking over on a permanent basis for the first time in 2006. During that spell, he led Oldham to 6th in League One in the 2006/07 season, before being beaten in the play-off semi-finals by Blackpool.

His first tenure ended somewhat abruptly, parting ways following reports of a brawl involving Sheridan and the Oldham players at a greyhound track. He returned in January 2016, to save Oldham from relegation to League Two before joining Notts County.

His most recent spell may well be his last (but you can never be too sure), leaving the club last month by mutual consent with the Latics bottom of League One.

Howard Kendall (three at Everton)

A true Toffees legend, Howard Kendall managed the club three times and led the club through their most successful era in the 1980s, building a brilliant side with Neville Southall, Peter Reid and Andy Gray which stood toe-to-toe with rivals Liverpool.

In 1984, Kendall led Everton to FA Cup success before winning the league title by 13 points a year later. Kendall’s Everton also beat Bayern Munich to win the European Cup Winners’ Cup. Liverpool edged them to the league and cup in 1986 but the Toffees won the league title back in 1987.

Kendall left that year for an ill-fated spell with Athletic Bilbao, but returned in 1990, helping the club avoid relegation to the second tier. A tumultuous third spell followed in 1997 but, to Everton fans, he will always be regarded as a titan of the club’s history thanks to his innovation and ingenuity during the previous decade.

Davide Ballardini (three at Palermo and Cagliari)

Davide Ballardini, who played under Italy’s World Cup winning manager Arrigo Sacchi, has had three spells at both Palermo and Cagliari, none of which have lasted longer than a year.

He is well-accustomed to operating under extreme pressure, having worked for notoriously trigger-happy club owners Massimo Cellino and Maurizio Zamparini.

His third spell at Palermo started in April 2016 (three months after being sacked), at the end of an extraordinarily chaotic season which had seen no fewer than nine managerial changes.

He resigned two games into the next season, and hasn’t been back in management since.

Francesco Guidolin (four at Palermo)

Maurizio Zamparini went through 40 managerial changes in 15 years as Palermo owner. Francesco Guidolin, who was sacked on his 61st birthday by Swansea, is responsible for four of those. He guided the Rosanero to the Serie B title in 2004 in his first spell before guiding them to sixth in Serie A, earning them a place in the then named UEFA Cup.

He decided to step down at the end of that season but returned in 2006. He was sacked in April 2007, only for his dismissal to be revoked when Renzo Gobbo failed to impress. He was sacked again in 2007 after guiding them to fifth in Serie A. His fourth spell was short-lived, gaining only 18 points in 17 matches.

He may not be asked back after criticising the fans and then ‘hellish atmosphere’ during his fourth time at the helm.

Senol Gunes (four at Trabzonspor)

Senol Gunes, who is currently at Besiktas, has never won the Turkish Super Lig title with his beloved Trabzonspor. He has won it twice with Besiktas, but was always the bridesmaid with Trabzonspor, finishing runner-up on four occasions.

Gunes memorably led Turkey to third-place in the 2002 World Cup, earning him the UEFA Coach of the Year award.

Zdenek Zeman (three at Foggia)

The 70-year-old, renowned for an unwavering devotion to attacking football, has had three spells at Foggia, spanning 25 years between 1986 and 2011.

It was his second spell, though, a five-year stint between 1989-94 (his longest time in charge of a club), which gave birth to the cult of ‘Zemanlandia’ as the coach guided Foggia from Serie C to the top-flight.

Zeman earned plaudits for deploying an attack-minded 4-3-3 system which, in Serie A had hugely varying degrees of success. Having taken jobs in Rome, Belgrade and Istanbul after leaving Foggia in 1994, he returned in 2010, but failed to guide the club back to Serie A.

He is currently in charge of Pescara.

Fatih Terim (three at Galatasaray)

‘The Emperor’ of Turkish football, Fatih Terim is Galatasaray’s most successful manager. It started in 1996, when he took over after his first spell in charge of the Turkish national side. He went on to win four consecutive league titles and clinched the UEFA Cup in 2000, beating Arsenal on penalties.

Spells with Fiorentina and AC Milan followed, but Terim returned to Gala in 2002 but it was a two-year stint plagued by financial difficulties engulfing the club, resigning in 2004.

He returned in 2011, though, and guided the Istanbul club to back-to-back league titles ahead of rivals Fenerbahce. Terim is currently out of management having left his post as Turkey manager in July following an incident in which he was involved in a fight in a kebab shop.

Cesar Luis Menotti (three at Independiente)

Menotti, the chain-smoking football intellectual who guided Argentina to World Cup glory in 1978, had a less illustrious club managerial career, with brief spells at Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Boca Juniors and River Plate.

He also had three spells at Independiente.

Franz Smuda (five at Widzew Lodz)

One of Polish football’s senior statesmen, Franz Smuda had five spells at Lodz, the first of which came in 1995 and lasted three years. During that time, he led the club to two Polish league titles. Three short-lived spells between 2002 and 2004 followed before he was re-appointed again this year.

Smuda also managed Poland at Euro 2012, but was sacked after a disappointing performance in which the co-host nation finished bottom of their group.

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