In recent days around 100 applications have been submitted for the vacant managerial role at Plymouth Argyle – So we’ve put our collective heads together to try and list 100 people who COULD be announced the successor of Steven Schumacher.
Our 5 part series sees us list those who’ve sprung up on the rumour mill, feature in the betting odds, those with experience, the outsiders and the Janners themselves. Including the obvious names, the unlikely lads and some names you may have never heard of.
We’ll aim to drop a new article every day until the new year, but without further ado, here’s some names who have experience on their side:
Who’s missing? Let us know!
Read More: The Rumour Mill
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We begin with a scene straight out of the office.
Gareth Ainsworth’s QPR had just been beaten 3-1 by Blackburn in his first game in charge.
So he gets someone in to teach them how to do the haka…
Just LOOK at the faces of the players as he walks in.
— The Second Tier (@secondtierpod) December 21, 2023
Previous Club: QPR
Aaron | It wasn’t long ago that collective laughs were directed at Adam Randell deciding to head up to Ally Pally dressed in some sort of Ainsworth-undertaker fancy dress combination. However, it could be us that’s preparing for Championship-death if we were to hire the long-haired chief. Renowned for his overly defensive and combative style at Wycombe (and spending his spare time rocking out in a leather jacket in his mate’s garage), Ainsworth has often been our nemeses in both league and play-off ventures. Giving him the keys to Harpers Park could deem disastrous. He could, at a push, make us defensively sound despite his shortcomings at QPR and he’s exceptional at stirring up an us-against-the-world mentality on a tight budget but he also feels like the quickest possible way back to League One.
True Crime Pod pitch: Aidy Boothroyd’s England U21 tenure
— George Elek (@GeorgeElek) July 8, 2023
Previous Club: Jamshedpur – India
Dan | A manager whose only club role in the past decade was to do badly in the Indian Super League? It struggles to get the pulse racing. Boothroyd undeniably did a good job at Watford, but the game has moved on a lot since then, and it could be argued that he has not. His route one style of play would suit the current squad about as well as mixing gravy and ice cream.
Current Club: Mansfield Town
Jon | I wouldn’t say Nigel Clough is my least preferred candidate for the job, but he’s in the bottom one. Parts of his managerial record look impressive, at least on paper—and there’s no question that getting Burton to the Championship and keeping them there was an outstanding achievement when you consider the club’s size and subsequent trajectory. He now has Mansfield purring near the top of League Two. But to my mind he’s underperformed there to this point, given the squad at his disposal. And he’s a divisive figure with a history of publicly chewing out players. Ultimately, he neither fits the brief of being an exciting young coach nor passes the all-important vibes check.
Previous Club: Atromitos FC – Greece
Frazer | Perhaps best well known for his time as manager of Fulham and subsequently the Wales national team and Sunderland, Chris Coleman has more recently found himself managing in China and Greece. Coleman was hugely successful taking Wales to a European Championship Semi Final and into the top 10 of the FIFA rankings, but since being sacked by Sunderland in 2018, he has been somewhat in football’s wilderness. Argyle may present Coleman with an opportunity to start again in English football, but his previous successes may be too far gone to be considered a serious candidate for the job.
— The Independent (@Independent) December 29, 2023
Previous Club: Nottingham Forest
Aaron | Do you genuinely believe we would have the resources to bring in a man who is widely tipped to take over from Roy Hodgson at Crystal Palace come the end of the season? Taking Forest back to the Premier League after a 23-year absence has his stock relatively high despite his recent sacking. We’d have to sell him a serious dream to get him to even read the email.
Previous Club: Shrewsbury Town
Aaron | As a new year dawns, I hope it’s 2024 and not 2017. Steve Cotterill was an early pacesetter at the top of the betting odds, only to quickly be overtaken by Leighton Baines as online rumour circulated Everton’s former full-back. This isn’t Cotterill’s first rodeo in the Argyle betting odds and to be honest I’m quite surprised he’s there. Not to discredit his work, but I feel as though we should be fishing in a different pond to the days we were flitting between Leagues One and Two – despite his experience at the likes of Burnley, Portsmouth, Nottingham Forest and Bristol City. But it’s exactly that which rules him out; he’s hardly up-and-coming looking for his first breakthrough chance.
Current Club: Blackpool
Sam | The phrase ‘Scouse Mafia’ was invented for a reason, right. Ok, it’s a little bit tongue in cheek. Obviously messers Hallett, Parksinon and Dewsnip are committed to making the hire that’s best for the club. Yet, there’s some merit in hiring those who you’re familiar with hence the large number of people who’ve been through the doors at Home Park with links to either Liverpool, Everton, or just the Merseyside City generally. Critchley was the Academy manager at Liverpool before getting the chance to manage a first team at Blackpool in 2020. He got them promoted via the play offs in his first full season and had a very creditable mid table finish in his first season back up. He very controversially left to be Steven Gerrard’s assistant as Aston Villa and was immediately fired when Gerrard was. After a short but disastrous spell at QPR, sandwiched between Mick Beale and Gareth Ainsworth, Critchley returned for a second spell at Blackpool, themselves back in League One. Whilst a little way off the play off places, this season, he is doing a job that is certainly solid if unspectacular. He definitely fits the bill of the prototype Argyle want. He’s a coach first and foremost, he’s quite data lead and he tries to install a decent branch of football. But, as much as he’d no doubt jump at the chance to walk out of Blackpool again, he hasn’t really quite earned it.
Current club: Stevenage
Adam | I’ve actually been asked to write a short summary on Steve Evans for this site before, which had to be toned down after the ensuing war of words with a Gillingham fan channel. Luckily, I don’t think the necks in Kent are strong enough to see us so far up the pyramid, so this time around I should be safe. Evans, the Football League’s most well-fed parasite, is being linked with managerial roles again. I will begrudgingly admit that the convicted fraudster is doing well at Stevenage, battling for a play-off place against sides with portlier budgets. But that’s the exception to the rule; most have his success has come when he’s had access to fatter wads of cash, and Argyle aren’t the sort of club to allow his budget to be subsidised by the British taxpayer. Aside from Leeds, where the chunky charlatan spent a matter of months, Argyle are ranked higher than every club Evans has ever managed. Surely we’ve moved on from this level of grifter
Previous Club: Sheffield United
Sam | After his disastrous stint in the Premier League with Sheffield United this season, it’s tempting to see Heckingbottom as a bit of a joke. He was sacked following a dismal spell and The Blades are already showing signs of an upturn under Chris Wilder. However, there are levels to this game. We’ve always seen what a big step up it is from League One to the Championship. The Championship to the Premier League is an even bigger one by far. At the level we’re at, Heckingbottom’s record is more good than bad. One poor spell at Leeds (a poisoned chalice at that time) was sandwiched by his commendable promotion with Sheffield United and a remarkable run where he took Barnsley, traditionally strugglers in this league, to mid table. If he can replicate that with Argyle, a side with an equally low budget, we will be laughing. We could, perhaps, do better. But we could certainly do a lot worse.
Previous Club: Bradford City
Jon | Knows the club inside-out having been an integral part of our promotion-winning apparatus, and would echo the appointment of Schumacher two years ago. What? Not that one? Oh. This Mark Hughes (yes, that one) is an exciting up-and-coming manager—but only if you’re Welsh, it’s 2002, and you’re watching Simon Davies wheeling away after scoring against Italy. Has been around the block—and again, and again—since then, most recently at Bradford in League Two, where he underachieved, albeit with a club that seems firmly in “basket case” territory, without ever playing particularly exciting football. Yesterday’s man, unfortunately. Sparky, out.
Current Club: Ghanaian National Team
Dan | One of the most under-rated managers in the country. Yes, that title-winning Newcastle squad in 2009/10 was surely one of the most talented groups ever to grace the second tier, and therefore that accolade on the CV may have to be taken with a pinch of salt. However, his achievements of keeping Norwich (more or less) and Brighton in the Premier League were special, and whilst the latter have gone on to further success post-Hughton, he arguably set the foundations for that. It is hard to ignore his most recent club job, the blot on his copybook, being the guiding of Nottingham Forest to their worst season start in 108 years. However, that aside, Hughton’s career is ladened with both firefighting success and taking clubs to the next level. Could we persuade him away from the Ghana job?
Previous Club: Ipswich Town
Adam | A manager I’d have taken a few years ago but wouldn’t be particularly keen on now? I may as well write “see M. Appleton.” That may be a bit harsh – Paul Lambert does at least have a wealth of Championship experience. And he’d add to an illustrious list of Scottish managers at Home Park should he get the job. But he’s not particularly young and has now been out of work for nearly three years. Maybe he does still have his skills, but right now he just doesn’t fit the desired profile.
St Johnstone Football Club is delighted to announce that Craig Levein has been appointed as its new First Team Manager.
Andy Kirk will also join as Assistant Manager.
The 59-year-old joins on a contract that runs until May, 2026 at McDiarmid Park. #SJFC
— St. Johnstone FC (@StJohnstone) November 5, 2023
Current Club: St. Johnstone
Sam | This list is for the experienced and Levein is certainly that. His managerial career started in 1997 with Cowdenbeath, before many of the current squad were even born. In truth, this one would be a bit of a surprise. Whilst he made a very promising start to his career in Scotland, he had a pretty disastrous spell in his only English job managing Leicester City. He since went back north of the border and had mixed success, doing poorly managing the Scottish national side. He also has a reputation as a bit of a prickly character when it comes to media management. Probably one to avoid.
Current Club: Kilmarnock
Aaron | The last man we hired from Scotland called Derek went pretty well, could Lightning strike twice? Well, no. McIness could be tempted at another crack at life in the West-Country after a somewhat indifferent stint at Bristol City – however it did begin with an eight-game unbeaten run which secured their Championship status which might be written in a slightly bigger font on his cv than his later shortcomings. Four jobs in 16 years showcases an awful lot of loyalty and long-term thinking, most of his successes coming at Aberdeen while chasing the big 2. Can’t see there being much in this one though.
— Jacob Powley (@PowleyJacob) December 19, 2023
Previous Club: Sunderland
Fin | Mowbray’s record at this level speaks for itself. A 6th placed finished with Sunderland last year continued that. Harshly sacked with them sitting just outside the playoffs this season. Despite being considered an older head, Mowbray plays progressive football and his Sunderland side impressed me a lot when they came to Home Park at the end of November, despite the results for the Black Cats. Probably my first choice all considered but aware wages and location may be an issue, as he rarely ventures South of Birmingham.
Previous Club: Sheffield Wednesday
Dan | If you rocked up to a job interview with a three-year gap on your CV, the employer might have misgivings. That’s how long it has been since Monk was sacked by Sheffield Wednesday, after an uninspiring 14-month spell which saw them 2nd bottom (albeit it would have been 4th-bottom if not for a points deduction) when he was dismissed. What has he been doing since? Well, his name seems to pop up with moderate frequency when a Championship job becomes available, but he’s not quite the full Alan Curbishley in this regard just yet. The job he did at Swansea to carry on Michael Laudrup’s good work was very impressive, and he looked to have finally cracked the curse of Leeds in 2017 as well, before an end-of-season choke that made Argyle’s in 2016 look positively minor. A lack of evidence of Monk being able to achieve with limited resources, plus the three-year hiatus, makes it very unlikely that we will be interested.
Previous Club: Stoke City
Sam | Why is Neil’s name on here? Well, as much as it would be funny to replace Schumacher with the man who he himself took the job from, Neil has established himself as a bit of a managerial equivalent of a classic championship journeyman. He’s managed games for Norwich, Preston, Sunderland and Stoke at this level so it’s natural there is a chance he puts his name in for any job that comes up. He’s done a capable if not outstanding job in most of those places. However, I don’t really think he ticks many of our boxes. He doesn’t have a particularly good brand of football, nor is he outstanding at youth development. And after his pretty poor job at Stoke City, one would imagine that he will probably need to drop into League One and earn another promotion back to the second tier.
Current Role: Northern Ireland National Team
Sam | Right, so we’ve covered pretty much every other manager to have managed Stoke in living memory so we may as well add this last one. After spells managing at semi-pro level in Ireland, O’Neill rose to prominence when he was given his big chance managing the flailing Norther Irish international side. His tenure there was possibly the best of any manager in their history, remarkably getting them to the last 16 of Euro 2016, getting knocked out in a narrow defeat to fellow home nation Wales. He was poached by Stoke and did… about as well as anyone has done at Stoke since they were relegated to this league. Not great but not as poorly as some others. He’s now back at Northern Ireland and would require compensation. Given his rather dour style of football, he doesn’t seem a good fit.
Last Club: Leeds United (Assistant)
Last Managerial Role: Oxford United
Aaron | Another Scouser, anyone? It’s a good job we’ve recently acquired a whole lot of land, we’re going to need it for his endless filling cabinets. Like a several on this list, Robinson may have excited me far more when we were mid-to-lower League One, however I’m not sure he’s earned a step up to the hot seat of a Championship club. His first tenure in management came at MK Dons at the expense of Paul Ince, his appointment making him the youngest manager in the EFL at the time and though he worked wonders getting everyone’s second favourite club to the Championship – the subsequent relegation and lack of success at Charlton and Oxford mean he’s only found his way back to the second tier as an assistant to Sam Allardyce. Can I see him applying, interviewing well, and giving the board a taste of that Merseyside-twang in which they love? Yes to all.
Previous Club: Millwall
Dan | Stoke City fans (entitled bunch) might have thought it unacceptable that their club was as low as 14th, a position that saw Rowett sacked in January 2019. However, they are yet to finish any higher than that in the five seasons since. Derby fans too, might have thought that getting rid of him after a Championship playoff semi-final defeat would see an improvement in their fortunes – well, look how brilliantly that turned out. Only time will tell whether Millwall, 15th when sacking him, will suffer a similar fate. What is really impressive however is the job done at Birmingham City. Rowett took them from 23rd to 10th in the space of six months, and then even higher the following year. City then took leave of their senses, deciding to replace him with Gianfranco Zola, who barely won a game in half a season as the Blues tumbled from the edge of the play-offs to a relegation battle. The facts speak for themselves – Rowett is a quality manager at this level. The only misgiving may be that Rowett likes his teams to be robust and organised – quite the opposite to the high-risk, creative approach we currently take.
Anyone we missed? Let us know:
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