10 out of work Managers we could soon see back in the Football League
Two Football League managers have left their posts so far in October and further vacancies could well crop up in the near future, which is bad news for those bosses needing results but on the flip side new openings could represent an ideal opportunity for those gaffers twiddling their thumbs in the Job Centre.
Below, we’ve plucked out 10 out-of-work managers who we could soon see back in the EFL…
One of the most successful EFL managers of the last decade is still, quite remarkably, available for hire.
Chris Wilder boasts a promotion into the Football League with Oxford, a League Two title with Northampton, a League One title with Sheffield United who he then fired to 9th in the Premier League after winning promotion from the Championship.
Hotly linked with West Brom in the summer, and more tentatively Nottingham Forest in September, Wilder admitted last month that while he’s itching to get back into management he may consider roles outside of the UK (via Sky Sports):
"I do enjoy the English game, but I would be open to different opportunities. America intrigues me, it really does. The attitude of the Americans to sport and business, how they go about their business and sport in general, how professional they are. It's kicking in going into the World Cup in 2026.”
However, from a selfish perspective we hope the popular manager stays on these shores.
At the start of October it was suddenly revealed that Michael Flynn had parted ways with Newport County after four-and-a-half transformative years.
Meticulous, resilient and passionate, Flynn went from strength to strength during his Newport tenure and is undoubtedly one of the most promising young managers around today.
Flynn, who orchestrated a miraculous escape, two play-off final journeys and multiple cup upsets, was frequently linked with other jobs in League Two and League One during his Exiles tenure, and now he’s available the 40-year-old is sure to find his way into a number of EFL manager markets in the upcoming months.
Although, he may decide to take a little breather from now up until Christmas.
Making the step up from coach to manager can be extremely difficult. There’s more pressure, expectation and responsibility, while every decision is meticulously scrutinised. The buck stops with you.
As a young manager Jonathan Woodgate experienced this first hand in what was a testing learning curve in his first post at hometown club Middlesbrough. “I needed to do better, I got things slightly wrong at times,” he recently told BBC Fooball Daily. “It was a learning experience.”
Woodgate, 41, reverted back to coaching as part of Jason Tindall’s staff at Bournemouth, only for Tindall to be sacked two days later. Woodgate was suddenly thrust into the position of caretaker head coach; then picked up a Manager of the Month award en route to securing a play-off finish where his troops lost to Brentford, who went on to win promotion. “I think even if I’d got them up the plan was to bring in Scott Parker,” he’s since said.
Woodgate is open, honest, wears his heart on his sleeve, and is not afraid to go out of his comfort zone. It’s unlikely to be long until he’s back working in the EFL in some capacity.
Eddie Howe will harbour hopes of returning to the Premier League. We’ve already seen the Watford job come-and-go, he’s a 16/1 shot to replace Steve Bruce at Newcastle, while there may soon be a job going on his favoured south coast at Southampton.
Howe has so far seemed reluctant to return to the Championship - a division he won promotion from with the Cherries in 2015 - but the longer the 43-year-old remains out of work - it’s already been 14 months and counting - the less likely he’ll be considered for a top-flight job. So he could soon start entertaining the idea.
Plus, we’re getting tired of mentioning his name in next manager markets!
We’re sure it’s only a matter of time until Alex Neil returns to the Championship.
The Scot previously led Norwich up to the Premier League then spent four years at Preston - he left in March - where he came within a whisker of the play-offs in his first season.
"I've been out watching games for the last couple of weeks now, so I'm looking forward to getting back into it,” Neil recently told BBC's Football Daily podcast. "I've probably taken in about nine games in the last fortnight - down to London, to (Nottingham) Forest, all over.
"I'm just trying to get round to all the Championship teams to see them all, so I'm aware of their strengths and weaknesses, how they're doing and the personnel they've brought in."
Garry Monk is only 42, yet he’s already experienced a lot in management.
He kept Swansea in the Premier League as caretaker and went on to lead the club to 8th. He’s since had a cluster of Championship jobs at some top clubs: Leeds, Middlesbrough, Birmingham, and Sheffield Wednesday.
He’s been unemployed since leaving Sheff Wed a year ago, and in truth we haven’t heard too much of him since then.
Should he start craving a return he's likely to fancy a whopping fifth stint in the Championship, failing that then a league One club with lofty ambitions.
Sol Campbell has had two posts in the dugout.
In the first, he impressively saved financially-troubled Macclesfield from the dreaded drop out of the Football League.
He then jumped up to League One at another financially-troubled club, Southend, but was unable to repeat the survival feat in what was a difficult eight months.
Both departures left a sour taste in the mouth. He supported an application to wind Macclesfield up because they owed him £182,000, while his Southend tenure was plagued by poor communication with staff and players, and a confusion over his methods.
Campbell has yet to return to the touchline since leaving the Shrimpers nearly 18 months ago, but while he’s been linked with plenty of vacancies, he’s struggled to convince a club to take a chance on him.
“I’ve applied for England Under-21s, Bristol Rovers, Bristol City, I had a chat with Swansea, MK Dons, Doncaster, Ipswich, Preston – the list just goes on over the course of a couple of years in recent times," he told FourFourTwo in September.
“The sad reality is I might never get a club again. I really don’t know. Maybe I need some divine help from God, but I’ll keep pushing – I’m a trier, and I’ll keep trying. I’ll visit clubs and I’ll keep my knowledge up. If it happens, I’ll be prepared."
Paul Tisdale’s stint at boyhood Bristol Rovers just didn’t work out. 19 games was all it took for the parties to split, remarkable considering this is a manager who once oversaw 626 consecutive matches spanning 12 years at fellow EFL club Exeter.
Tisdale has since taken a back-seat but has kept himself active in an advisory role to young boss Hayden Mullins at Colchester, whom he helped guide to safety last season.
The 48-year-old has buckets of Football League experience, his big achievements include leading Exeter from non-league to League One, before adding another promotion to his CV with MK Dons.
It’s never quite gone his way in League One, but the most stylish boss in football would definitely be a valuable asset to a club operating in the fourth-tier, with both the Newport and Carlisle jobs both currently up for grabs. He’s likely to favour an opportunity close to his hometown of Bath.
Neil Harris has worked in both League One and the Championship.
In his first job Harris recovered from a relegation - not his fault - and a League One play-off final defeat to lead Millwall up to the Championship and through to two FA Cup quarter-finals.
He resigned in October 2019, then the following month took charge of second-tier Cardiff whom he managed for just over a year; finishing 5th in his one full season.
The 44-year-old is likely to target either a second or third tier return, while he’s out at 25/1 to return to non-league Southend as manager!
Slightly cheating with this one as John Terry has never managed in the EFL, or anywhere for that matter.
Yet, he has built up valuable experience as an assistant to Dean Smith at Aston Villa, and we’re sure to see the former England skipper crop up in manager markets over the next few months following his Villa Park exit.
Terry now has ambitions to become the No.1, although he’s in no rush. “You know what it’s like, we’re a month into the season, I’m sure jobs will come up and I’m there and waiting and doing what I need to do in the background, but if not, I’m enjoying my time with the family,” he told Sky Sports last month.
Other managers to keep an eye on
There are plenty of other unemployed managers waiting for their next opportunity.
Former Colchester boss John McGreal frequently features in League Two manager markets. Keith Hill has an abundance of experience, as do Ian Holloway, Chris Coleman, and Paul Lambert.
Sam Ricketts is looking for another opportunity a year after leaving Shrewsbury, veteran Mark Hughes has expressed a desire to return to the dugout, and ex-Celtic - and Bolton - boss Neil Lennon could well be on the lookout for a new post.