For most managers, the allure of the English Premier League is the pinnacle of coaching.
From perching in the iconic Anfield dugouts to pacing the historic touchlines of Old Trafford, the opportunity to manage in the most watched league in world football is a role that only a select few ever experience.
Though with success hard to come by in the management industry, sometimes it doesn’t quite work out at the top of the English game. Sometimes success is better found further afield.
In today’s world of multi-cultures and globalisation, many managers have found themselves ditching the English game for positions in more exotic countries with emerging leagues such as Australia, China and India.
However, for others, management has taken them to even more remote locations across the globe.
We take a look at those who couldn’t quite cut it in English football and were left to take a less-trodden managerial path in some of the wildest and wackiest places going.
Lee Clark – Sudan
One of the more recent names to ply his trade off the managerial beaten track was former Huddersfield and Birmingham boss Lee Clark, who rocked up at Sudanese club Al-Merrikh in March of this year.
Clark described the opportunity to work in North Africa as ‘different’ and ‘exciting’, however that enthusiasm would soon fall by the wayside.
A mere three months after his unveiling, Clark resigned in June, bringing an end to his brief stint in Sudan which included a 3-0 defeat in the CAF Champions League to Tanzanian side Simba, a result he blamed on ‘sabotage’.
Steve Kean – Brunei
Former Blackburn boss Kean enjoyed a far more successful stint over in Brunei where he guided DPMM FC to the Singapore Cup and delivered a first ever Singapore S.League title in 2015.
The Scot earned the much-coveted honour of the S.League’s Coach of the Year in the same year and success at club level led an appointment as head coach of the Brunei national team for the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup qualification tournament in Laos.
Following his four-year stint in Brunei, which involved him working closely with the nation’s royal family, Kean has since tried his hand at coaching over in Australia.
Which of these is the most obscure country to manage in? Let us know what you think in the comments section
Harry Redknapp – Jordan
Who could forget when Redknapp, formerly of West Ham, Portsmouth and Tottenham Hotspur among others, ditched England in favour of the Jordan national team?
Alongside former assistant Kevin Bond, Redknapp’s very brief stint at the helm saw him manage two of Jordan’s 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in March 2016.
An 8-0 hammering of Bangladesh was followed up by a 5-1 defeat at the hands of Australia before the unlikely pair parted ways.
Sven-Goran Eriksson – Philippines
The Swede’s illustrious managerial career saw him oversee the likes of England, Mexico and the Ivory Coast at international level, as well as, err, the Philippines.
The former Leicester and Manchester City boss signed a six-month contract in 2018 and led the Philippines at the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.
However, the less said about the tournament the better as three straight defeats to South Korea, China and Kyrgyzstan, in which his side scored one solitary goal, marked the end of his time in charge.
Peter Reid – Thailand
Former Sunderland, Manchester City and Leeds gaffer Reid ended a four-year managerial absence when he took up the reins of Thailand back in September 2008.
Despite the ambitious aim of taking Thailand to the 2014 World Cup, Reid only lasted a year.
The former England international admitted to knowing nothing about Thai football when he accepted the role and was even reported to have addressed players by their squad numbers instead of their Thai names.
David O’Leary – UAE
The Irishman, arguably most remembered in England for managing Leeds United during their epic Champions League run to the semi-finals in 2000-01, turned heads when he accepted the head coach role at United Arab Emirates club Al-Ahli in July 2010.
Despite boasting a squad containing former Italian World Cup winner Fabio Cannavaro as its captain, O’Leary was sacked by Dubai-based Ah-Ahli less than a year into the job following a 5-1 thumping at the hands of Al Jazira.
O’Leary only won six of his 15 league games in charge, but it wasn’t all bad news for as he reportedly received a compensation pay package of more than £3million following his dismissal.
John Gregory – Kazakhstan
After managing a number of clubs in England, Gregory’s coaching career has seen him take up eye-catching posts in Israel and India.
However, perhaps the most obscure former club on his long managerial list is Kazakh outfit FC Kairat, who appointed Gregory back in 2011.
The first Englishman to ever manage in Kazakhstan helped the Almaty-based club narrowly avoid relegation to the second tier before the sack saw him leave Borat country after only six months.
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