Top 15 managers in history never to win a major trophy – from Keegan to Poch

Football management is a cruel job with so many near misses in the pursuit of success.

Twenty-six years ago, Kevin Keegan donned a pair of headphones in a Sky Sports post match interview before launching a furious rant at Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United.

“I would love it if we beat them,” Keegan raged before Newcastle lost the title race by four points.

Mauricio Pochettino’s quest for a trophy also looks set to continue as they trail Manchester City in the Champions League semi-finals after missing out with Tottenham in 2019.

There’s been many more manager stumbles and we look at 15 of the best ones to never lift a trophy.

Avram Grant

There were two occasions where Avram Grant could have skipped this list if results had gone his way.

Grant was rushed in by Chelsea after the sudden resignation of Jose Mourinho in 2007 and almost landed a Premier League title. Manchester United snatched it from them by two points.

United prevailed again on penalties in the 2008 Champions League final and Grant was sacked three days later.

It wasn’t a bad run considering the Israeli didn’t have a UEFA coaching licence at the time of his appointment.

Tony Pulis

Who else misses this tracksuit and baseball cap fashion icon in the Premier League?

Tony Pulis is a Stoke City legend after guiding the club to the top flight and narrowly missed out on a momentous day in the 2011 FA Cup final, where they were beaten 1-0 by Manchester City.

More Premier League spells followed at Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion where he always had the tough task of a relegation fight.

Graham Taylor

Graham Taylor was a well-respected man and you could tell by the tributes that poured in after his untimely passing in 2017.

Taylor took Watford through three leagues to a second place finish in the First Dvision within five years along with an FA Cup final – a 2-0 defeat to Everton in 1984.

He managed England for three years from 1990 and resigned after they failed to qualify for the 94’ World Cup. BBC Pundit Mark Lawrenson said: “Every one still loved him.”

David Moyes

“Give it Moyesy til the end of the season.” He didn’t even make it that far with Manchester United.

After 11 years with Everton, David Moyes was tipped for greatness as Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor only to be booted after 10 months.

The Community Shield win against Wigan in 2013 doesn’t count but the closest he came to winning a big prize was Everton’s 2009 defeat to Chelsea in the FA Cup.

We’ll remove him from the list if he takes West Ham to the Champions League as that will be a major achievement.

Glenn Hoddle

Glenn Hoddle is better remembered for his playing days in Tottenham Hotspur’s FA Cup double between 1981-82 with a UEFA Cup in 1983-84.

He couldn’t transfer his trophy record into management when he led Spurs for the 2002 League Cup final after a 2-1 loss to Blackburn.

His time with England couldn’t be any stranger. Hoddle hired a “faith healer” as part of his coaching staff for the 98’ World Cup, where England exited without a prayer against Argentina.

Hoddle was then sacked for controversial comments in an interview where he said disabled people are “punished for sins in a former life.”

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Mark Hughes

Another one who was very good at building trophy cabinets as a player but not a manager.

Mark Hughes won two league titles and three FA Cups with Manchester United before getting a fast-track management job as the boss of Wales.

He went on to manage Manchester City in 2008-09 but he could not deliver Sheikh Mansour any riches.

Mauricio Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino has come agonisingly close and won’t be on this list anymore if he guides PSG to the Champions League.

The Argentine was devastated by Divock Origi when the Belgian sealed a 2-0 win to give Liverpool their sixth European trophy in 2019.

After being sacked by Spurs, he moved to Paris and has won the Trophee des Champions in 2020 but that’s just the French version of the Community Shield.

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Kevin Keegan

Without doubt, Kevin Keegan was an awesome player for Liverpool as a two-time Ballon d’Or winner. But he was unlucky as the boss for Newcastle.

Newcastle and Manchester City will owe him a lot of gratitude after helping both clubs enter the Premier League and with it he provided some great TV moments.

“I would love it if we beat them” became his most famous quote challenging Sir Alex Ferguson and hugging sideboards as his former team Liverpool downed Newcastle 4-3 in 1996.

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Sam Allardyce

He’s managed more Premier League teams than you can count on one hand (seven) but has never lifted a cup with either one of them.

“Big Sam” also has the unwanted record of shortest reign as England boss for one game after he was secretly filmed agreeing to take £400,000 for advice on how to get around the FA’s third party ownership rules.

He was caught red handed and it wasn’t the first time with reported allegations of taking bribes from agents to sign players stretching back to 2006.

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Steve Bruce

Another multi-club veteran that is looking likely to avoid a Premier League drop with Newcastle, who are nine points clear of relegation.

Birmingham, Wigan, Sunderland, Hull City and Aston Villa have all had previous dealings with Steve Bruce but it was the Tigers who came closest to delivering a big win.

Bruce boosted Hull into the Premier League and in an epic 2014 FA Cup final with Arsenal, an extra-time sinker from Aaron Ramsey crushed Hull’s hopes in a 3-2 defeat after leading 2-0.

Chris Coleman

Chris Coleman was once nicknamed “cookie” for his eating habits and his hopes for a trophy with Wales crumbled at the last European Championships in 2016.

Under Coleman, Wales topped their group and reached the final four where they lost out to eventual champions Portugal, which earned them a top-10 place in the FIFA rankings.

He went on to manage Sunderland before travelling to Hebei in China for his last job.

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Jack Charlton

Jack Charlton was never short of drink offers when he guided the Republic of Ireland to the World Cup quarter-finals in 1990.

The 1966 World Cup winner passed away last year and Sir Geoff Hurst said he was “a loveable character.”

He will be remembered for trophies at Leeds after spending his entire 21-year career at Elland Road winning the 1969 league title and 1972 FA Cup.

David Pleat

David Pleat came closest to success in his only full season as Tottenham Hotspur boss in 1986-87.

They finished third in the First Division and lost to Coventry City in the FA Cup final.

He resigned when allegations of visiting prostitutes were widespread in newspapers after a caution from police. He returned to Spurs for two spells in 2001 and 2003 but didn’t reach any lofty position.

Neil Warnock

If promotion to the Premier League was a major trophy then Neil Warnock wouldn’t be here.

He’s guided three teams to the top flight including Sheffield United in 2006, Queens Park Rangers in 2011 and Cardiff City in 2018.

The Middlesborough boss is now in charge of his 17th club but top flight promotion is as good as it gets.

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Alan Pardew

Alan Pardew broke the internet when his dancing took centre stage in the 2016 FA Cup final against Manchester United.

Memes were uploaded everywhere when Jason Puncheon scored a 78th minute opener for Crystal Palace but goals from Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard made Pardew cringe with embarrassment at the final whistle.

He’s doing okay now though in Bulgaria as a Technical director for CSKA Sofia.

READ MORE: 7 best rants in football history – 25 years on from Keegan's "I would love it" speech

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