From Neil Warnock To Zinedine Zidane: Managers Who Have Returned To Former Jobs

Warnock has come out of retirement to take charge of Huddersfield Town for the second time in his career
11:00, 15 Feb 2023

One last job, Sharon. That’s right, Neil Warnock is back in management after agreeing to return to the dugout with Huddersfield Town on a deal until the end of the season to try to keep the Terriers in the Championship.

Warnock has returned to West Yorkshire having previously managed the club between 1993 and 1995 and guided them to promotion from the third tier in the 1994-95 campaign.

It is not the first time that Warnock has taken charge of the same club on two separate occasions as he has also had two spells with both Crystal Palace and Queens Park Rangers - although his second stint at the latter was only in caretaker charge. 


He first took charge of Palace between 2007 and 2010 and his first campaign was positive as he guided the Eagles to the play-offs. Things quickly turned sour, however, as the club’s financial problems started to unravel, including a stint in administration in 2010. They were also deducted 10 points by the Football League and Warnock left shortly after.

He returned in August 2014 to take over from Tony Pulis but his second spell was not great as he was let go exactly four months later with the side languishing in the Premier League's bottom three.

The Sheffield-born tactician is far from the only football coach to have taken charge of the same club twice. Here are some of the most notable, and not all of them were as triumphant as they would have hoped.

Sir Matt Busby - Manchester United

Matt Busby is one of the most legendary figures in Manchester United’s history. He was notable for turning the Red Devils into a dominant force domestically in the post-war era and over the course of 25 years he won 13 trophies which included five league titles and a European Cup. He was renowned for his ability to build strong teams with youthful players,

Busby is immortalised for his contributions to the beautiful game. After calling time on his tenure as manager in 1969, he briefly stepped back into the role between 1970-71 to succeed his successor Wilf McGuinness, steering them to eighth in the First Division. 

Jose Mourinho - Chelsea 

The Special One first graced Stamford Bridge in 2004 and had an instant impact on the Premier League as Chelsea stormed to the league title, losing just one game all season. He guided the Blues to League Cup glory that same year. The Portuguese boss secured a second consecutive league title the following season, before collecting a League Cup and FA Cup double in 2006-07.

Upon his return to the club in 2013, Mourinho led Chelsea to a third-place finish in the Premier League, four points behind champions Manchester City, before winning the title and League Cup double again in 2014-15. Things quickly unravelled the following year on the pitch and behind the scenes so Mourinho was fired by the club in December 2015 with just nine wins from 16 in the league.

Nigel Pearson - Leicester City

Nigel Pearson first joined Leicester in 2008 following their relegation to League One, and successfully took them back to the Championship at the first time of asking. Yann Kermorgant's failed Panenka helped end their Premier League dream in the 2010 play-offs, however, and Pearson joined Hull City after being replaced by Paulo Sousa. 

A change in ownership led to Pearson's return in 2011, and Leicester were promoted as Championship champions three years later . The ex-Southampton boss then oversaw a remarkable late-season revival to keep the Foxes in the Premier League, but off-field issues led to his departure that summer. While Pearson had done a commendable job at Leicester, the Foxes went on to have some fun without him in the campaign that followed.


Fabio Capello - Real Madrid 

Both of Fabio Capello's two stints at the Bernabeu were short, but he is still one of Real Madrid's more successful managers. The Italian won La Liga in both 1997 and 2007 but was never universally popular in Madrid. A perceived negative style of football was criticised by both fans and the media. As such, he was let go in 2007 even after winning the league. It was the second time the same thing had happened!

Sir Kenny Dalglish - Liverpool

Dalglish became Liverpool player-manager shortly after the Heysel disaster in 1985, guiding the Reds to a league and cup double in his first season and winning the title twice more in 1988 and 1990. After resigning in February 1991 under the stress of managing the club post-Hillsborough, it would be 20 years until he took charge of the Reds again.

He was initially appointed on an interim basis following Roy Hodgson's sacking in 2011. A solid start helped him land the job on a permanent basis, but the Scot was sacked after an eighth-place finish in his only full season in charge.

Kevin Keegan - Newcastle United

Toon hero Kevin Keegan did an exceptional job as Newcastle boss from 1992 to 1997. He got them promoted to the Premier League in 1993 after completely reshaping the club, including paying for the clean-up of the training ground with his own money to encourage a more professional culture.

Then, he built one of the most entertaining teams in Premier League history, falling just short of winning the division in the 1995-96 season. Keegan walked away from the job in 1997, only to return 11 years later. However, that second stint was quite short as he departed after just eight months following disagreements with the board over new signings.

Harry Redknapp - Portsmouth

Harry Redknapp took Portsmouth to the Premier League in 2003 and kept them up a year later, but a fall-out with chairman Milan Mandaric led to his departure soon after. South-coast rivals Southampton seized their opportunity to lure Redknapp to St Mary's. He was unable to prevent them from dropping into the Championship, though, and returned to Fratton Park in 2005.

His second stint brought an FA Cup winner's medal as Portsmouth defeated Cardiff City in 2008 at Wembley, before he departed for Tottenham Hotspur in October of the same year.


Zinedine Zidane - Real Madrid 

The former Galactico took charge of Los Blancos in 2016 and his first stint in charge was historic as he led the team to three consecutive Champions League titles as well as picking up a La Liga crown too.

After leaving the club in 2018, he returned only 10 months later and was able to add a second league title to his haul as Real Madrid boss. He resigned his post again in 2021 and it wasn’t on the best of terms. It is doubtful we’ll see him in the dugout at the Bernabeu again.

Walter Smith - Rangers

The late Walter Smith took over at Rangers in 1991, having previously served as Graeme Souness’ assistant manager. His first spell with the club spanned seven years, yielding 13 trophies, including seven league titles.

Smith returned to Ibrox in January 2007. He would enjoy another four-and-a-half years in Glasgow, adding eight more trophies and reaching a UEFA Cup final. The legendary Gers boss is the second most successful manager in Rangers history.

Suggested Searches:
The Sportsman
Manchester United
Manchester City
Premier League
Sportsman HQ
72-76 Cross St
Manchester M2 4JG
We will not ask you to provide any personal information when using The Sportsman website. You may see advertisement banners on the site, and if you choose to visit those websites, you will accept the terms and conditions and privacy policy applicable to those websites. The link below directs you to our Group Privacy Policy, and our Data Protection Officer can be contacted by email at: [email protected]

All original material is Copyright © 2019 by The Sportsman Communications Ltd.
Other material is copyright their respective owners.