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7 times managers did the unthinkable by joining their fierce rivals

In light of Paul Lambert joining Ipswich after his time at Norwich - we take a look at seven examples of when managers joined the 'dark side'

Paul Lambert has just joined Ipswich having been Norwich’s promotion hero.

A man The Posh once jeered is now aiming to steer them out of the relegation zone.

How the fans will take to him remains to be seen, although you can imagine there’s still a grudge or two.


Tractor Boy

News Group Newspapers Ltd
Tractor Boy

This had us thinking, what are the biggest acts of managerial treason?

Here’s our top seven in British football.

7- Owen Coyle

At least he sees the funny side

Action Images - Reuters
At least he sees the funny side

Coyle was said to be devastated when he left his job at Burnley.

Clearly the remorse wasn’t too much to handle, as he swapped Turf Moor for the Reebok when he joined Burnley’s rivals Bolton in 2010.

Having been revered by the Burnley faithful after winning them promotion to the Premier League – he was branded Judas on his return to his old club.

A game which happened to be his first in charge, and a match his new Bolton side won 1-0.

He clearly hadn’t upset enough people as he joined Blackburn in 2016.

In fact, he only needs to manage Preston North End to complete the Lancashire club crawl.

6- Rafa Benitez

The Blues fans never warmed to Rafa

The Blues fans never warmed to Rafa

Chelsea fans were dismayed when the club sacked Roberto Di Matteo in 2012, only months after their Champions League triumph.

So what did the club do? Hire the pantomime villain Rafa Benitez as his replacement.

In 2007 Benitez, ahead of a clash with Chelsea, said: “We don’t need to give away flags for our fans to wave.”

So it came as no surprise when the plump Spaniard arrived as manager at the Bridge that he was met with a chorus of, “F*** off Benitez, you’re not welcome here.”

But Rafa did end up winning the Europa League and securing Champions League football for the Blues.

Water under the bridge at the Bridge.

5- Alex Mcleish

Safe to say these Villa fans were not keen when he was appointed

PA:Press Association
Safe to say these Villa fans were not keen when he was appointed

What was the Scotsman thinking when he moved across Birmingham from the blue corner to Aston Villa?

Apparently Mcleish was still under contract at Birmingham City when he left for Villa Park.

The animosity was felt from both sides, with the Aston Villa training ground covered in disapproving graffiti.

Mcleish left Villa a year after his appointment and wont be welcome back to Birmingham any time soon.

4- Sam Allardyce

Angel of the north

PA:Empics Sport
Angel of the north

Big Sam had a blistering start to his life in the north-east, putting Newcastle in touching distance for a European place by October 2007.

By January 2008, he was sacked after two wins in 12 League games.

Years later, after Allardyce had spells at Blackburn and West Ham, he joined seemingly-doomed Sunderland in 2015.

He claimed earlier this year to be over the ‘hurtful’ sacking by Newcastle. If the spell at the arch rivals Sunderland had anything to do with that, we don’t know.

3- Jose Mourinho

How many times have you lost at the Bridge with United, Jose?

How many times have you lost at the Bridge with United, Jose?

The self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ was apparently in tears when he didn’t get the Man United job after Sir Alex Ferguson left.

Whether that was to do with the rejection, or the fact David Moyes was preferred to him remains to be seen.

He got the job in the end though, but since his appointment at United, Jose has managed to upset the west London apple cart.
With snide comments and three fingers, Mour has seriously tainted his Stamford Bridge legacy.

2- Brian Clough


Bob Thomas Sports Photography - Getty

The game between Nottingham Forrest and Derby is now labelled the ‘Brian Clough’ derby.

Having won the title with Derby in 1972, Clough then spent a year and a half at Leeds and Brighton.
Neither spell was at all successful for the enigmatic manager.

But he is best remembered for his time at Forrest – winning two Champions League titles.

Derby fans were more frustrated with the board rather than Clough, although this is still talked about as one of the most controversial local rivalry appointments.

1- George Graham

One for Spurs’ trophy cabinet

Getty - Contributor
One for Spurs’ trophy cabinet

George Graham looked set to become an Arsenal legend.

He won their first league title in 18 years, and an FA Cup/ League double a few years later.

The Scotsman also signed the club’s (then) record scorer in Ian Wright.

However, after a spell at Leeds, Graham joined Arsenal’s arch enemy in Spurs.

He led the White half of north London to a League Cup in 1999.

One of two trophies Spurs have won in the last 20 year, yet the fans never took to him after his spell at Arsenal.

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