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Never go back: six managers who tried to rekindle that old flame

Kenny Dalglish and Darren Ferguson this week returned to former clubs. But is it a good idea?

THEY SAY YOU should never return to an old love. But in the past week both Kenny Dalglish and Darren Ferguson have returned to former clubs where they had previously enjoyed success.

Ferguson led Peterborough United to successive promotions while King Kenny was the last Liverpool manager to lift the league title.

But…can they ever really rekindle that old flame in the same way again?

Of course, Dalglish and Ferguson aren’t the first managers in history to return to an old stomping ground but how have some of the game’s highest profile prodigal sons fared upon their return.

Never go back: six managers who tried to rekindle that old flame
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  • Fabio Capello - Real Madrid

    After a trophy-laden spell at Milan Fabio Capello took the managerial reins at Madrid for one season in 1996/97. The Italian worked his magic to guide Real to the title, two points ahead of arch-rivals Barcelona. The notoriously cautious Italian played three up front and helped to develop the talents of Roberto Carlos and Clarence Seedorf. When Capello returned to Los Merengues for the 2006/07 season Madrid were playing second fiddle to a free-flowing and all-conquering Barcelona team. Despite some early criticism for his negative tactics Capello carved out enough results to secure the La Liga title again. It wasn’t enough to hold on to his job as Real deemed the negative approach against the club’s ethos.Source: ARIEL SCHALIT/AP/Press Association Images
  • Kenny Dalglish - Liverpool

    The jury is out about whether King Kenny can rescue his beloved Liverpool from the freefall in which they find themselves in. It is a big ask. He has the supporters on his side and the players will respect a man who achieved so much during his playing days but it remains to be seen whether his time away from the managerial limelight has left him unable to cope with the increasing demands made on Premier League managers. He is charged with steadying the ship and although he has suffered two defeats in two games he will hope to be judged on his achievements at the end of the season. The reality is that he will at that time be asked to leave the club to which he returned in such dramatic fashion.
  • Kevin Keegan - Newcastle

    Kevin, ‘I’ll love it if we beat them,’ Keegan was hailed as the Messiah by the Newcastle faithful when he took the Toon heartbreakingly close to the Premier League title in the 95-96 season. After almost five successful years at the club the pressure became too much and Keegan walked away in January 1997. His return 11 years later in 2008 delighted Newcastle fans who had been contemplating relegation. Keegan failed to win any of his first eight games in charge but turned Newcastle’s fortunes around. Newcastle were safe but Keegan’s second tenure came to an end after his relationship with club owner Mike Ashley became fractious.Source: SCOTT HEPPELL/AP/Press Association Images
  • Bobby Robson - PSV Eindhoven

    Bobby Robson was lauded as a fantastic manager and one of the first Englishmen to achieve success abroad. The former Ipswich town boss consequently became a heroic figure for PSV Eindhoven supporters after leading them to successive league titles in 1991 and 1992. Robson returned to the Dutch club after spells at Porto and Barcelona. The Englishman signed Ronaldo for the Catalan club from the club he formerly managed, PSV. Bobby returned to Holland and although another league title eluded him he nevertheless maintained his legendary status by leading the club to Champions League qualification on the last day of the season.
  • Damien Richardson - Cork City

    The one-time Gillingham striker brought the Leesiders to a whisker of the league title after taking the Turner's Cross job in 1993. He left after a dispute with the chairman before moving on to manage county rivals Cobh Ramblers. Over a decade later he returned to Leeside to succeed Pat Dolan. They won the title in 2005.
  • Giovanni Trapattoni - Juventus

    As we all know in Ireland, Giovanni Trapattoni has some serious credentials in management from years gone by. His initial work with Juventus, when he won all UEFA club competitions, won him many admirers. It cemented his legendary status at the Turin club, so much so that he was asked to return to the job in 1991 after a stint in charge of Inter (where won the Scudetto and the UEFA Cup). Trap’s second spell in charge of Juve didn’t quite live up to the lofty standards the Italian had set during his first spell in charge. In fact after a major medal haul first time round Trapattoni left Juventus trophy-less after his second spell in charge. He went on to win major honours across Europe but success for a second time eluded him at Juve.


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