Top 10 Coaching Returns


Ziziou is back at the Bernabeu and it’s almost like he never left!

A mere 282 days after resigning from Real Madrid, the enigmatic Frenchman is back and ready to help the club forget a nightmare campaign… at least by their standards.

Of course he was already a club legend and probably didn’t need to do anything to enhance his reputation at the place he became a footballing icon but this will no doubt be a popular move.

For certain managers, some clubs just hold a special place in their heart and the allure of going back is just too strong to ignore.

Jose Mourinho

After the departure of Santiago Solari, many assumed that it would be the Portuguese boss who would return to Real Madrid where he managed from 2010 to 2013.

After bursting onto the footballing stage with his Champions League victory with Porto in 2004 he was hired by Chelsea and departed the club in September 2007.

After collecting plenty of trophies with Inter Milan and Real Madrid, Mourinho was brought back to Chelsea in 2013 where he won yet another Premier League title and the League Cup in his second season.

Unfortunately for the self proclaimed “Special One”, his grating style wore out his welcome at Stamford Bridge and he left the club once again in December 2016.

Say what you want about Mourinho, but he’s always been confident… if not arrogant.

Kenny Dalglish

Already a legendary player, Dalglish became player-manager of Liverpool in 1985 following Joe Fagan’s retirement.

Of course his role was reduced to a bit part player at that time and over the five seasons he was pulling double duty, he made less and less appearances as he moved into his late 30’s.

He also guided Liverpool to its last League title back in 1990, making his lone appearance of the season on the final day as the club celebrated it’s win at Anfield.

With his playing career finished, Dalglish only lasted another half season in charge as manager, resigning from Liverpool in February 1991.

After winning the Premier League with Blackburn in 1995 and time with Newcastle and Celtic, it appeared his time as a top flight manager was over after leaving Celtic in 2000 after serving as interim manager.

Dalglish would not manage another club until returning to Liverpool in January 2011.

After guiding the club through to the end of the season, Dalglish was appointed as permanent manager but only lasted one season as the club won the League Cup and lost the FA Cup Final but produced their worst Premier League effort since 1994 finishing eighth.

Throughout both of his stints with Liverpool, he was never one to mince words.

Jupp Heynckes

One homecoming was not enough for the German manager who has had a crazy career.

After almost a decade at Borussia Monchengladbach, Heynckes began his first stint with Bayern Munich where he oversaw two Bundesliga titles and a DFB Supercup in four seasons in charge.

He began the 1991-1992 season with Bayern but was sacked early in that season in a decision that Uli Hoeness later described as a big mistake.

Heynckes spent time managing in Spain and Germany after that, including one season at Real Madrid where he won the club’s first Champions League since 1966, of course finishing fourth in La Liga was still cause enough to sack him.

Heynckes had his first return as a manager joining Athletic Bilbao for two seasons between 2001 and 2003.

In 2006 Heynckes returned to the club where he had made his name as a player and began his coaching career, rejoining Borussia Monchengladbach however that spell only lasted a season as the club was relegated and Heynckes retired… temporarily.

That retirement ended in 2009 when he returned to Bayern Munich as caretaker replacing Jurgen Klinsmann for the final two months of the season.

Apparently that lit a fire under Heynckes as he returned to full time management a month later joining Bayer Leverkusen for two seasons before coming back to Bayern Munich where he won the League, Cup and European treble in his second and (apparently) final season.

Some people just can’t get away and Heynckes came back for one more season in 2017-2018 replacing Carlo Ancelotti and winning another Bundesliga title before retiring again.

Claudio Ranieri

The Italian manager will always be remembered for his masterminding of Leicester’s unlikely Premier League triumph in 2016 but he will always have a special place for his home club of Roma.

He guided the club to a runner up finish in Serie A and the Coppa Italia final but clashes with Francesco Totti pushed him out of Roma in February 2011.

This month he was brought back to Roma to finish the season off and the club is currently in fifth place in Serie A.

Wayne Bennett

For most of their history, you could not think of the Brisbane Broncos without thinking of Wayne Bennett.

The coach of few words was in charge of the Broncos for their first 21 seasons, guiding them to six Premierships before departing at the end of the 2008 season.

After six seasons away from Red Hill Bennett returned in 2015 and took the club to within seconds of its seventh Premiership in his first season back with the club where he stayed for a total of four seasons, bringing his overall tally to 25 with the Broncos.

Ivan Cleary

Cleary was in charge of the Panthers for exactly 100 games between 2012 and 2015, managing 45 wins and 55 losses.

The highlight of that first stint came in 2014 when the side reached the Preliminary Final before losing to Canterbury.

In October last year, the Panthers confirmed that Cleary would be back as coach after two seasons with the Wests Tigers.

One of the biggest advantages of his return to the Panthers is the fact he will be coaching his son Nathan this season as well.

Norm Smith

The obscure sacking and then re-instatement of the iconic Demons coach Norm Smith has haunted the Demons since their last premiership in 1964.

For some strange reason, Melbourne decided to part ways with their six-time premiership winning coach midway through the 1965 season.

Many believe it had to do with bikering between coach and boardroom.

It was the biggest scandal and still remains one of the biggest stories in the history of the game.

Norm Smith called on the Demons members and supporters to support him and he would be reinstated four days later as club coach.

The Dees missed the finals for the first time in eleven seasons and have not won a premiership since.

Tony Jewell

Prior to their 2017 premiership, the 37 year premiership and finals drought can be traced to the clubs vicious “eat ‘em alive’ attitude that saw coaches come and go for simply not winning a Grand Final.

Tony Jewell had coached Richmond to a famous premiership in 1980, but at the end of the 1981 season the club saw fit to sack him in a season where the Tigers battled injury and just missed the then final five.

Along with a bitter player trading war with Collingwood, The Richmond coaching job became a poison chalice, with club legend Francis Bourke getting them to the 1982 grand final but losing his job a year later.

Paul Sproule had a crack in season 1984, only to be shown the door.

Then the Tigers hired Mike Patterson in 85, he lasted only a season.

Richmond saw fit to bring back their premiership coach in 1986 – Tony Jewell to bring glory back to Tigerland.

It didn’t quite work out with Jewell’s second stint as Tiger coach from 1986-87 resulting in a total of 12 wins and 32 losses.

Jewell would be replaced by club legend Kevin Bartlett the following season

Joe Gibbs

There is little doubt that Gibbs is the best coach in Washington Redskins history thanks in large part to his first stint where he guided the franchise to three Super Bowl titles and reached a fourth.

Gibbs retired from the game at the end of the 1992 season, citing health problems and went into television work with NBC and created his own NASCAR racing team where he has also enjoyed plenty of success.

Eventually, after 12 seasons out of football, Gibbs finally returned to the sideline once again with Washington where he spent four seasons.

In his second year he made the playoffs, beating Tampa Bay before losing to Seattle who would reach the Super Bowl.

His fourth and finals season with Washington saw the toughest stretch of his career as he was forced to coach around the death of a player, guiding the Redskins to the playoffs however that strain took its toll on Gibbs and he retired again a few days after their playoff exit.

Phil Jackson

The “Master of Zen” Phil Jackson is one of the NBA’s most successful coaches, winning 11 titles in his time in the NBA.

In Chicago, Jackson combined with Michael Jordan to win six titles for the Bulls before leaving in 1998 for a year off.

In 1999 Jackson was hired by the LA Lakers where he won the title in his first three seasons in charge, however he resigned as coach at the end of the 2004 NBA Finals wanting to take time off, breaking up the trifecta of Jackson, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal.

Three days short of the first anniversary of Jackson leaving the Lakers, Jackson was back in charge and immediately brought the Lakers back to the playoffs.

He made the finals in 2008 losing to the Boston Celtics before claiming the next two Championships to bring his tally to a remarkable 11.

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