Jurgen Klopp’s much-publicised departure from Borussia Dortmund at the end of the season may yet bring about one of the more surprising turnarounds in the recent history of football management.
Paul Lambert was sacked as Aston Villa manager on the 11th of February with his side mired in the Premier League relegation zone, having scored just 12 times in 25 games.
Not much more than two months later, the Mirror have reported the Scot to have ‘refused to rule himself out of the running to take over from Klopp at Dortmund’.
Lambert is 50/1 to become the next manager of the club where he won the Champions League as player and, believe it or not, stranger, or at least equally strange, things have happened…
Alan Pardew – Southampton > Newcastle
Pardew led the Saints to the 2010 Football League Trophy in his first season in charge, but got the boot ten games in to 2010/11 with the side 15th in League One, amid rumours of low player morale and a rift with chairman Nicola Cortese.
Four months later, he was miraculously installed as the manager of Premier League Newcastle United despite receiving less than six per cent of the vote in a supporters’ poll.
A season and half later he had guided the Magpies to a sensational fifth-place finish, earning himself the division’s manager of the year award in the process.
Dunga – Brazil > Internacional > Brazil
The Selecao’s 1994 World Cup–winning skipper enjoyed decent success in his first spell managing his nation, winning consecutive Copa Americas, but fell on his sword after exiting South Africa 2010 at the quarter-final stage.
He returned to management two years later with Internacional, but lasted just ten months before he was jettisoned on the wrong end of four-match losing streak.
Hardly an ideal preparation for the job of resurrecting the corpse of the Canarinho in the wake of their 7-1 home-soil humbling in 2014…
Unless you are the CBF of course and they may yet be proven right – Brazil have won eight games in a row since Dunga’s return to the role.
Harry Redknapp – Portsmouth > Southampton >Portsmouth
Redknapp curtailed his first, Division 1-winning, spell at Pompey when resigning over Milan Mandaric’s appointment of director of football Velimir Zajec.
Just over a fortnight later he became manager of their hated rivals Southampton, much to the disgust of fans that hastily crafted ‘Judas’ and ‘Scummer’ t-shirts in his honour.
Against all odds, a day short of year later he was back in the Fratton Park hotseat to lead Portsmouth on the most successful period in their history, culminating with victory in the 2008 FA Cup, for which he was gifted the freedom of the city.
Doubtless the fact that he had presided over the Saints relegation from the top-flight made his return easier to swallow.
Louis van Gaal – Netherlands > Barcelona > AZ > FC Bayern Munchen > Netherlands
LvG arrived for his first stint in charge of the Oranje packing a bona fide Midas touch evident from at least one club trophy in the six of the preceding eight seasons.
It all made the disaster that was to follow, not qualifying for the 2002 World Cup, all the more shocking.
A second, ill-fated, spell at Barcelona followed and between then and 2012 he managed only two more trophy-winning campaigns.
It’s highly probable he returned to the national side hot-seat at least a slightly more humble manager, going on to erase all memories of his earlier ignominy by guiding an unfancied squad to semi-final shootout defeat at Brazil 2014.