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Mourinho to Spurs and five of the most shocking managerial appointments

The football world has reacted with a mixture of disbelief and amusement to the news that Jose Mourinho had been named manager of Tottenham Hotspur.

It is rare in modern football that a move such as this one catches everyone so totally of guard, but the move is not without precedent.

While there are plenty of managerial appointments that in hindsight are judged as disastrous, but there are a few that raised eyebrows from start to finish. 

Why Jose Mourinho’s Spurs appointment is such a shock

916925840 - Mourinho to Spurs and five of the most shocking managerial appointments
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 11: Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Manchester United at St. James Park on February 11, 2018 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Ian Horrocks/Getty Images)

Mourinho remains a club legend at Chelsea and despite two acrimonious departures from Stamford Bridge he is held in high regard by Blues fans.

The charismatic Portuguese coach once said he would never consider a Premier League appointment in London anywhere other than Chelsea.

Tottenham Chairman Daniel Levy either did not anticipate the appointment would prove to be divisive or he simply did not care what the fans think.

Mourinho’s last few managerial appointments have ended with him seemingly losing the dressing room but he has been charged with bringing energy and belief to a team struggling to reach the heights of the previous campaign.

The appointment gives Mourinho a chance to show that he isn’t just a chequebook manager and prove his legendary status once and for all, the same cannot be said for the five men on this list.

5 Alex McLeish to Aston Villa

Aston Villa fans weren’t so much split by the decision to appoint Alex McLeish as their manager in 2011 as they were united in their disgust.

McLeish had just guided Villa’s second city rivals Birmingham City to relegation from the Premier League and his hiring incensed hardcore supporters who vandalized the training facilities in protest.

The Scotsman’s time at Villa was forgettable, and despite avoiding the drop in the 2011/12 campaign, he got the sack after just one season.

4 Avram Grant to Chelsea

Replacing somebody with the presence and managerial skills of Mourinho is never going to be easy. In 2007 Chelsea appointed somebody whose pitch-side demeanour could not be more different that the fiery Portuguese boss.

Avram Grant seemed at odds with Chelsea fans image of their club, flush with the successes brought by Mourinho, he seemed a far cry from the kind of manager they envisioned guiding Chelsea onto higher honours.

Grant was sacked after one season despite reaching the Champions League final and finishing the Premier League in second place.

3 Tony Adams to Granada

Former England and Arsenal defender Tony Adams has enjoyed little success as a boss in his home land, so it came as an enormous surprise when he was given the job of saving Granada from relegation from Spain’s second tier. 

Adams reign was short, but it was amusing in a sadistic way. He had seven matches to save the club from the drop but couldn’t turn things around at the sinking ship and they lost all seven.

Videos of Adams training sessions included his unconventional training methods that included some truly amazing dance moves.

2 Edgar Davids to Barnet

The Dutch legend was winding down his playing career when he agreed to a move to Barnet that would allow him to neatly transition into managing as joint boss with Mark Robson.

Robson was soon axed which saw Davids take up a player/manager role but there were rumours of bizarre demands on the part of the Dutchman including not travelling to away games that required an overnight stay.

Tellingly Davids has not been employed as a manager since ending his stint at Barnet in 2014.

1 Gary Neville to Valencia

The managerial appointment that still has everyone scratching their heads is the decision by Valencia owner Peter Lim to appoint a former player and pundit with zero managerial experience to direct one of the biggest club’s in Spain in late 2015.

Neville didn’t speak a word of Spanish when he took the job and was almost instantly shown to be woefully underprepared for the task.

The club’s exit from both European competitions and a 7-0 league loss to Barcelona saw the club pull the plug on the experiment that everyone knew was doomed to failure.

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