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Ranking The Best And Worst Of Ireland's Ill-Fated Premier League Managers

Jeremy Fullam
By Jeremy Fullam
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Brendan Rodgers dismissal yesterday was greeted with cheer from many Liverpool fans, however it's somewhat bitter-sweet for Irish fans as the news means that there are now no managers from the island of Ireland plying their trade in The Premier League.

Whilst it may disappointing not to have any managers in the Top Flight it gives us an opportunity to reflect on some of the managerial maestro's to have graced The Premier League. They may not have set the world alight, but from Keano to Kinnear they've all managed provide ample entertainment for football fans up and down the country.

Here are the best of Ireland's Premier League Managers:

Iain Dowie

English born Dowie squeaks his way onto the list by virtue of his Belfast born father which led him to earn 59 caps for Northern Ireland.  Dowie somehow guided Crystal Palace from 19th in Division one into the Premier League in 2004. Palace only lasted a season in the top division and Dowie was poached in controversial circumstances by Charlton a year later.

Dowie unfortunately suffered a torrid time at the London club and was given his marching orders after only 15 games and vanished into the Managerial abyss.

Despite his best managerial efforts, Dowie's legacy is still and always will be this stunning own goal.

Roy Keane

ireland's premier league managers

Roy Keane's initial appointment at Sunderland could have been lifted out of a Dream Team script. The fiery midfielder was given an unlikely call by none other than arch nemesis Niall Quinn to  help guide Sunderland away from the foot of the Championship.

What happened next was more Dream Team than Monday Bandele and his Irish wife as Keane guided Sunderland from the foot of the table into the Premier League.


The adventure lasted a season and a half in the top flight before Keane took the decision to stand down, sparking rumours of celebration from his playing staff who had grown tired of his aggressive management style.

Owen Coyle

Coyle's management career has certainly proved more prominent than his playing career. The Scottish born one cap wonder spent his playing days moving around the Scottish league before he hung up his boots to become a manager.

His claim to fame was guiding Championship minnows Burnley into the Premier League before he was poached by another top flight club in Bolton.  He kept Bolton afloat in first full season but suffered relegation in his second season in charge.


The likeable manager will no doubt be remembered for his persistence to dress as a full kit wanker on the sidelines, pairing small shorts with socks pulled up to his knees regardless of the weather.

David O' Leary

Former Ireland and Arsenal hero David O'Leary was the unlikely choice to succeed George Graham at Leeds in 1999 after the Yorkshire club missed out on Martin O'Neil.

O'Leary succeeded all expectations, guiding the Yorksire outfit to a string of high finishes and a Champions League semi final, he was even given his own game, O'Leary Manager 2000. His bubble soon burst however when he found out that the millions he'd been given to spend wasn't monopoly money and that he had in fact plunged the club into debt so severe they are still recovering from it today.


His success at Leeds led him to Villa where he performed well for three seasons before leaving the Premiership for pastures new.


ireland's premier league managers

Martin O'Neill

Next is the man who was supposed to take O'Leary's job back in 1999 and current Ireland boss Martin O'Neill. O'Neill started his Premier League career at Leicester City where he had a string of top ten finishes before embarking on a successful spell with Celtic.


He made his return to the Premier League with Aston Villa in 2006. He started successfully and had a number of high league finishes,  and UEFA Cup adventures.

He resigned due to problems with transfers and took the vacant Sunderland job in 2011. Despite managing his boyhood team O'Neill failed to work any of his magic on Sunderland and was let go in 2013 leaving the Black Cats flirting with relegation.

Joe Kinnear

Kinnear somehow guided Wimbledon to a series of high profile finishes in the early 90's and even pipped Arsenal and Liverpool to 6th in 1994.

He continued to defy the odds throughout the nineties until he was unfortunately forced to step down after suffering a heart attack in 1999. The Dons were relegated the season after, something which further emphasised the job he'd done.

Kinnear made a welcome return to the Premier League in 2008 as Newcastle manager, replacing Kevin Keegan. It didn't take long for him to make an impact, unfortunately for Newcastle fans it wasn't on the pitch. Less than a month into his tenure he launched an attack on a reporter in a press conference, swearing 52 times in the process before deciding it was the last piece of media he'd perform as Magpies boss.

The comedy of errors continued when he was sent off against Stoke, he later went on to rename Charles N'Zogia, "Charlie Insomnia" prompting a transfer request from the Frenchman.

Another spot of poor health meant he had to step down prematurely once again in 2009 and the club were soon relegated after his departure.

Mick McCarthy

Mick took to the Premier League after his successful spell with the Irish national team. In two Premier League spells with the Black Cats he failed to re-create any of the form he'd shown as national boss. He was sacked in 2006 before his old buddy Roy Keane came in to show him how its done.

He was given a second chance at the Premier League with Wolves in 2009 where he kept them up for two consecutive seasons, earning wins over Man United, Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool during the period.

He was eventually relieved of his duties in 2012, but he certainly can pat himself on the back for a job well done...

Chris Hughton

After spending the majority of his career biding his time as an assistant, Chris Hughton was eventually given his chance to shine as a manager for Newcastle. He was unfairly sacked after guiding them back to the Premier League in 2010 despite a strong start.

Hughton was granted another chance in the top flight when Norwich came calling in 2012. He guided them to an 11th placed finish before being relieved the following season with the Canaries sitting 17th in the table.

Lawrie Sanchez

After being taken under the wing of Joe Kinnear at Wimbledon, Sanchez traded the crazy gang lifestyle for a successful period as Northern Ireland manager. Sanchez was doing such a stellar job up at Windsor Park that Fulham came calling in 2007 with an SOS message to keep them in the Premier League.

He somehow convinced the owners he was the man to lead the Cottagers forward despite a pretty dire caretaker record of WDLLL, and so he resigned from his role with Northern Ireland. It turned out to be a terrible decision for Lawrie who couldn't even make it to Christmas the following season, leaving Fulham well in the relegation zone.

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