It was always likely to end in tears. Everton fans were protesting against Rafael Benitez taking over as Carlo Ancelotti’s replacement before he was even confirmed as their new manager and, after a horror run of results, the final straw was a defeat away to Norwich City over the weekend. While the Spaniard is one of the best Premier League managers of all time, his reign is one of the worst we’ve ever seen.
Benitez leaves with Everton in danger of being sucked into relegation danger, with the former Liverpool manager having negatively affected his own reputation in a terrible spell at the club. While it is fair to say Benitez did not have a lot of cash to spend at Goodison Park, moves such as ostracising Lucas Digne – who has moved to Aston Villa – did not seem particularly wise.
Benitez’s ill-fated time as Everton boss will go down in history among the most disastrous reigns in Premier League history, so let’s have a look back at some of its other worst managers.
Who are the worst Premier League managers ever?
Brian Laws (Burnley, 2010)
When Owen Coyle opted to leave Burnley for Bolton Wanderers in January 2010, he left the Clarets above the drop zone, though his departure had a huge impact on squad morale.
Appointing a serial failure in former Burnley player Laws could not have helped matters and from a position of relative safety, they lost 15 of their last 18 games to be relegated with two matches to play. After a poor start to Burnley’s next campaign, Laws was sacked in December.
Laws’ next job was at League One Scunthorpe United and he lasted just over a year before again being dismissed. That says it all for one of the Premier League’s oddest appointments.
Frank De Boer (Crystal Palace, 2017)
In terms of results, De Boer’s brief spell in charge of Palace in 2017 will take some beating in terms of the worst Premier League managers ever.
The Dutchman had been considered something of a coup for Palace when he took charge, although there were warning signs as he had lasted just three months in his previous job in Italy with Inter. Somehow, ex-Ajax boss De Boer could not even make it that far at Selhurst Park.
Palace failed to score in each of their four Premier League matches under De Boer and he was sacked after a 1-0 loss away to Burnley, though they did beat Ipswich Town in the EFL Cup. Roy Hodgson came in to replace De Boer and the veteran led Palace to survive comfortably.
De Boer somewhat rebuilt his reputation by winning both the the U.S. Open Cup and Campeones Cup in MLS with Atlanta United, though a poor performance in charge of Netherlands at Euro 2020 saw him sacked once again last year.
Billy Davies (Derby County, 2007)
Davies became a Derby hero when he led them to promotion in 2007. But he undid a lot of that hard work and goodwill with a diabolical start to the following Premier League campaign. After losing 10 of their first 14 games, the Rams and Davies parted ways with relegation already virtually a certainty. They had won just once and collected only six points before he left Derby.
In fairness to Davies, his successor Paul Jewell could also be on this list as he could do no better with an under-powered squad that limped to the finish line. They were relegated in March and ended the campaign with 11 points, which remains a record low for the Premier League.
Remi Garde (Aston Villa, 2015-2016)
Villa were bottom of the league when they turned to Garde in the winter of 2015. They were still bottom of the Premier League when he was sacked after just four months in charge.
Relegation may have been likely for Villa that season regardless of who was in the dugout, but Garde’s time at Villa Park was nothing short of a disaster. They won just a couple of games during his reign, while a row with star man Jack Grealish was just one of a series of lows for Garde, who was also sacked by Montreal Impact in MLS in 2019. The former Arsenal player is undoubtedly one of the worst Premier League managers ever.
Felix Magath (Fulham, 2014)
Magath had won consecutive Doubles with Bayern Munich, as well as another Bundesliga title with Wolfsburg, so there were eyebrows raised when he went to Fulham in 2014 and became the first German manager in the history of the Premier League in the process.
The Cottagers made Magath their third manager of the season and they needed a miracle, with a four-point deficit to make up on 17th place in the table. Magath, known as a tough taskmaster, immediately ordered extra training but four points from his first six matches was a poor initial return.
Fulham were relegated, bringing an end to their 13-year stay in the top flight with the German’s strong methods failing to make an impact on his players. Magath lasted just seven games of the new campaign and was sacked with Fulham bottom of the Championship.
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