Over the last 30 years, we have seen numerous managers in the English game become almost synonymous with having an extensive CV, when it comes to the number of jobs that they have had – there are even those who have returned to clubs that they have managed previously.
Of course, a number of factors determine this – often to do with the relationship that they have with the fans of a particular club, which can make a difference when it comes to understanding what the supporters expect as well as the culture.
Typically, the managers that have had the most jobs in English football are usually from England and know the game inside out, these usually being former players of yesteryear who subsequently started their managerial career lower down the football pyramid and grew their reputation.
There are quite a few iconic managers associated with English football and, it is often these that have had the most jobs or developed a niche based on what they can do, whether it is trouble-shooting in terms of helping a club avoid relegation, operating on a budget or getting them promoted to the Premier League.
Let’s take a look at some of the managers who have had the most jobs in English football and how they have earned a reputation for themselves.
Managers with the most jobs in English Football
|Manager||Number of English Jobs (includes repeat clubs)|
*Pardew fifth due to one caretaker role, **Hughes sixth due to still being active
The archetypal managerial ‘firefighter’ who is known for his controversial, opinion-splitting demeanour, the Yorkshireman has certainly carved a reputation for himself in English football over the last couple of decades. Currently in charge of Huddersfield Town (his second spell), this is his 19th job (solely in England), having started his managerial career at Gainsborough Trinity in 1980.
Arguably, his most successful spell as manager came while in charge of Sheffield United – a post that he took up in 1999 until 2007. During his time with the Blades, he achieved promotion to the Premier League as runners-up of the Championship in the 2005/06 season.
During the 2001/02 season, he also led the club to the semi-finals of the League Cup and FA Cup, in which they lost to Liverpool and Arsenal respectively. All in all, he has had a record 19 managerial jobs in English football.
Another who is fondly regarded in English football, Redknapp has had eight jobs in English football, though earned a reputation for himself as the perennial ‘wheeler-dealer’ – able to identify a good player for a bargain price.
He has had many memorable jobs, where he has performed exceptionally, though may be best remembered for his time in charge of West Ham United (1994 – 2001), where he helped to develop his nephew Frank Lampard, in addition to a number of other young English talents, including Jermain Defoe, Joe Cole and Rio Ferdinand.
Having had two relatively successful stints with Portsmouth (his second yielding an FA Cup final victory over Cardiff City) and a period with fierce rivals Southampton sandwiched in between, he joined Tottenham, which was arguably the highlight of his career.
The squad that he compiled was made up of a couple of players that he had managed previously, including the prolific Defoe, in addition to Niko Krancjar (Portsmouth), while, during his four-year spell in charge (2008-2012), he also signed Robbie Keane, Peter Crouch and Emmanuel Adebayor. Guiding the club to a fourth placed finish in 2009-10, he won Premier League Manager of the Year – just the second top-flight manager to do so, without winning the title.
Despite finishing fourth again the following season and guiding Spurs to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, the club failed to qualify, due to Chelsea beating Bayern Munich in the final. He was subsequently sacked in June 2012, after failing to agree terms of a new deal. He would then go on to manage QPR and Birmingham City in the second-tier, without having too much impact, before retiring in 2017.
Commonly known as ‘Big Sam’, the Englishman has been in charge of 11 English football clubs, in addition to his infamous spell in charge of the England national team. Having started his managerial career at Preston North End in 1992, originally as caretaker boss, he then had spells at Blackpool and Notts County before arguably his most successful stint as a manager at Bolton Wanderers – the club where he began his playing career.
During his time at the club (his longest in football – 1999-2007), he achieved promotion to the Premier League, with a talented squad that included Eidur Gudjohnsen, Jussi Jaaskelainen, Dean Holdsworth and Ricardo Gardner.
Steering the club into the then UEFA Cup, this was achieved following astute signings of iconic players that included Stellios Giannakopolous, Kevin Davies, stalwart defenders Fernando Hierro and Ivan Campo from Real Madrid, Jay Jay Okocha, Tal Ben Haim and the prolific Nicolas Anelka.
He followed this up with relatively successful spells that included most notably being in charge of Newcastle United and West Ham United, before England came calling. Since, he never reached his previous heights while in charge of Crystal Palace, Everton and West Bromwich Albion and is currently without a club.
Having taken the helm of seven English clubs during his time as a football manager, Pardew on the face of it, has had a relatively successful career. His first post at Reading, saw him achieve automatic promotion to the then Division One (Championship), with the club then finishing fourth, losing to Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Play-off final.
He then joined West Ham and after a couple of attempts guided the club into English football’s top flight, which resulted in a ninth placed finish 2005-06 season, in which the club lost to Liverpool on penalties in one of the most entertaining FA Cup finals of the last couple of decades.
A couple of relatively unsuccessful stints at Charlton Athletic and Southampton followed, before Newcastle courted his signature where he implemented some of the most entertaining football on Tyneside, not seen since the days of Sir Bobby Robson. Astute signings included Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse, Yohan Cabaye and Moussa Sissoko among others, while he also won Premier League Manager of the Year for the 2011/12 season.
Following his time in the Northeast, he then spent time at Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion, before moving abroad. He has since managed Dutch club ADO Den Haag and CSKA Sofia of Bulgaria, while he is currently in charge of Greek outfit Aris Thessaloniki.
Currently in charge of Bradford City, the Welshman can look back on a career in football management and be proud of what he has achieved. Remarkably, his first ever post was at the helm of the Welsh national team (1999-2004), before taking a leap into club management.
Blackburn Rovers took a gamble on him and he more than repaid the faith shown in him. The side earned a glowing reputation for the attractive football that they played, while Hughes was also able to attract some top talents to the club which influenced a sixth-placed finish in the Premier League and UEFA Cup qualification.
With the likes of signings, Roque Santa Cruz, Benni McCarthy, David Bentley and Christopher Samba in their ranks, alongside existing talent, Damien Duff, David Dunn and Brett Emerton, the side were formidable with Hughes in charge and became known for some memorable performances.
His work in Lancashire, earned him a move to Manchester City, who in 2008 were taken over by the Abu Dhabi United Investment Group, affording Hughes with an almost bottomless pit of financial backing. He assembled a fearsome squad, re-signing Santa Cruz, alongside the likes of Craig Bellamy, Shay Given, Gareth Barry, Carlos Tevez, Adebayor and Kolo Toure, among many more and, sensationally, Brazilian forward Robinho from Real Madrid.
Without any major improvement, where he failed to win any honours, Hughes was subsequently replaced a season later (2009). He would then go on to have steady spells at Fulham, QPR, Stoke City and Southampton, before joining the Bantams.
Despite managing seven English football clubs, he has held 22 different managerial posts in eight different countries (including national and club teams – most notably England) and is one of the most respected managers in the game.
His first English side (and his second as a manager), was at Bristol City in 1982, though it would be 15 years before he resurfaced on English shores, when he took the post at Blackburn – though just for one season.
In 2007, he was appointed by Fulham, where he would arguably have his most successful spell, guiding the club to a Europa League final before a respectable performance saw them only narrowly beaten (2-1) by an exceptional Atletico Madrid side.
Such impressive exploits earned him a move to Liverpool in the summer of 2010, succeeding Rafa Benitez, though questionable signings and many underwhelming performances saw him dismissed in January 2011, raising speculation that he couldn’t cope with the pressure of being in charge of a ‘big’ English club.
He has since had an impressive spell in charge of Crystal Palace, adopting his almost trademark pragmatic approach that saw the Eagles become defensively solid, before spending the second half of the 2021/22 season in charge of Watford, where he was unsuccessful in his endeavours of keeping the club in the Premier League.
The former Manchester United player has managed 12 clubs in English football – his last being West Brom. He began his career at Sheffield United in 1998 until 1999 when he took the post at Huddersfield Town. After very brief and unsuccessful spells at Wigan Athletic and Crystal Palace in 2001, he then joined Birmingham, where he would spend a respectable six years in charge.
It was here, where he would really earn his stripes as a football manager, guiding the club to the Premier League and establishing it as somewhat of a notable force, consolidating the Blues as a respectable top-flight side, though one which never finished higher than 12th place.
Since then, he has held numerous posts, including a sensational stint in charge of hometown club Newcastle, in addition to a return to Wigan, Sunderland, Aston Villa and Hull City among others.
Many people often forget the fact that the Scot has had a number of jobs in English football. Currently in charge of West Ham, he began his managerial career at Preston North End where he guided them to the Division Two title, before narrowly losing out to Bolton the following season in the play-off final.
His exploits then earned him a move to Everton, where he really started to carve a reputation for himself, over the course of 11 years (2002-2013), establishing the side as almost ‘regulars’ in European competitions, namely the Europa League.
From bringing through a young Wayne Rooney, to developing a track record for astute signings that included James McFadden, Leighton Baines, Tim Cahill, Mikel Arteta, Yakubu among many more and guided Everton into Champions League qualification in the 2004/05 season, finishing fourth in the Premier League.
A move to Manchester United beckoned, succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013, though it represented an unbelievable fall from grace for the club, with Moyes unable to steer the club any higher than seventh – their lowest placed finish in Premier League history and was ultimately sacked.
Following a brief hiatus in Spain at Real Sociedad, he returned to the Premier League with Sunderland, replacing (Sam) Allardyce in July 2016, though he was unable to keep them in the English top-flight and resigned.
His time at West Ham has been relatively admirable. He is in the second of two consecutive stints – the first being a firefighting situation where he kept them in the Premier League. Two years later, the Hammers reappointed him and in the 2021-22 season achieved the club’s highest points tally (65), as they finished in sixth place.