High profile names that managed small clubs
Northern Premier League strugglers Ilkeston FC have announced the appointment of Manchester City cult hero Shaun Goater as manager.
The Derbyshire club, who play in the 7-8th level on the English football league system, are currently second from bottom in the division, so hope that the Bermudian can inspire them to safety.
It’s not the first time that a footballing legend has taken the reins of a lower league football club, though.
We’ve picked out our 10 favourite top stars that have done so in England, in League Two or below in the modern era.
So, read on to find out the following high profile names that managed small clubs in English football…
Edgar Davids: Barnet
We start with one of the most surprising appointments on this list.
Having played for the likes of Ajax, Juventus, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Tottenham and national team the Netherlands during his career, not many predicted that his first managerial job would be for League Two team Barnet.
As it happened, he was living near the area at the time, so it was certainly convenient.
Davids was player-manager for the Bees, though despite getting them relegated decided to stick with them the following season. He resigned half-way into that campaign.
Chris Sutton: Lincoln City
Being a former most expensive player in English football, and known for his strong character, Sutton was touted to succeed in management.
The former Norwich City, Chelsea and Celtic striker’s first (and still only) attempt was with Lincoln in League Two.
However, his only achievement of note was helping the Imps reach the FA Cup third round, and guiding them to football league safety.
Sutton later quit that summer, but you can back Lincoln at 5/1 with Betfair and shock Burnley in this year’s FA Cup 5th round.
Jimmy Bullard: Leatherhead
Bullard was unlucky not to earn an England cap during his career, but will be most remembered for his light-hearted approach to football.
Four years after he hung up his boots, the former midfielder took charge of Isthmian League side Leatherhead, who like Ilkeston are currently second from bottom in their division.
Ian Rush: Chester City
Slightly further back, Liverpool legend tried his hand at managing the club he first played for.
Chester at that time were in the fourth-tier, and while Welshman Rush was able to string together one or two decent runs, he eventually resigned after his assistant was sacked.
Rush at least was able to leave the Seals safe from relegation.
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink: Burton Albion
Hasselbaink is one of the very few on this list of high profile names that managed small clubs who was a success.
After a spell in charge of Belgian club Royal Antwerp, not many could predict what was to come at Burton.
The Dutchman lead them to promotion to League One for the first time in their history after wining the league.
Then, he left the club in a great position, while they were top of the table, and they eventually made it to the Championship.
His tenure in charge of QPR was nowhere near as successful, and Hasselbaink was sacked after a year.
Kevin Nolan: Leyton Orient/Notts County
Some may argue that Nolan went into management too early, as it impacted his playing career.
He still turned out for League Two team Leyton Orient while he was in charge, and is also registered as a player for current club Notts County.
Nolan was unable to get the former promoted, while has a tough task of keeping the latter in the football league this term.
Paulo Di Canio: Swindon Town
Another former West Ham United star, Di Canio reached hero status for the club during his playing days.
Like Hasselbaink, the controversial Italian, got promoted in his first season in charge of Swindon.
However, after financial troubles he later resigned, and shortly after took over as Sunderland boss.
Paul Gascoigne: Kettering Town
Going back again to over a decade, troubled star Gascoigne’s one and only managerial position was at Kettering – then in the Conference North.
But personal issues and poor results on the field meant that he was sacked after just 39 days.
Paul Ince: Macclesfield Town/MK Dons
Ince’s first taste in management was at Macclesfield, who he took over when they were rock bottom of League Two by seven points.
The former England captain somehow led them to safety, and that later earned him a move to MK Dons.
He was highly successful at the Milton Keynes outfit, guiding them to the League Two title and Football League Trophy.
Dennis Wise: Swindon Town
Swindon can count the likes of Di Canio, Glenn Hoddle, Ossie Ardiles and Roy Evans as former bosses.
Chelsea legend Wise also had a brief spell at the Wiltshire club, with Gus Poyet as his assistant.
Wise was doing well with Swindon, after joining in the summer of 2006, as they topped the table.
But at just October, he’d decided he’d had enough, and left the club to join Leeds United, with the Robins in 3rd place.