9. Kevin Keegan, Newcastle
1992-1997 and 2008
King Kev very nearly guided Newcastle to the Premier League title during his first spell in charge, but the Magpies fell away in the run-in and ultimately squandered a 12-point lead. Keegan still departed St James’ Park as a hero in 1997, though, and was welcomed back with open arms over a decade later after spells in charge of Fulham, England and Manchester City.
He only lasted eight months, however: Keegan resigned over disagreements on signings with director of football Dennis Wise, who helped to purchase Xisco and Nacho Gonzalez without the manager’s knowledge.
8. Kenny Dalglish, Liverpool
1985-1991 and 2011-2012
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.
It would be 20 years until he set foot in the Anfield dugout again, initally 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 Scotsman was sacked after an eighth-place finish in his only full season in charge.
7. Francesco Guidolin, Palermo
2004-05, 2006-07, 2007 and 2007-08 (No, really)
Italian chairmen aren’t exactly known for their patience and understanding, but Palermo owner Maurizio Zamparini is an extreme example even by his countrymen’s trigger-happy standards. Francesco Guidolin’s four separate spells in charge of the Sicilians in four years makes a little more sense in that context, although quite why the ex-Swansea boss kept going back for more is anyone’s guess.
Guidolin’s first exit – after winning Serie B and then guiding Palermo to sixth in the top tier – was of his own accord, and he returned to the Stadio Renzo Barbera after an ill-fated spell at Monaco in 2005/06. He was sent packing by Zamparini after a poor run of form in April 2007 before being brought back just a month later, but a disappointing end to the campaign saw him sacked again.
His successor Stefano Colantuono failed to oversee a turnaround, though, so Guidolin was brought back for a fourth spell in November. He lasted four months this time around, before finally deciding enough was enough. He’s steered clear ever since.
6. Nigel Pearson, Leicester
2008-2010 and 2011-2015
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 after being replaced by Paulo Sousa.
A change in ownership paved the way for Pearson’s return the following year, and Leicester were promoted as Championship champions in 2014. 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 fine job at Leicester, they didn’t do too badly without him.
5. Jose Mourinho, Chelsea
2004-2007 and 2013-2015
Mourinho famously built himself up at his unveiling as Chelsea’s new manager in 2004, describing himself as a “special one” after winning the Champions League with Porto earlier that year. He lived up to the billing at Stamford Bridge, winning the league comfortably in his first two seasons, before things began to turn sour in the 2006/07 campaign. The ill-feeling between Mourinho and Roman Abramovich had become too much to bear by the start of the former’s fourth year at the helm, and a home defeat by Rosenborg led to his exit.
After winning more trophies with Inter and Real Madrid, Mourinho – who became the self-christened “Happy One” – returned to Chelsea in 2013. Another Premier League title followed in his second season, but things unravelled spectacularly and the Portuguese found himself out of a job by Christmas 2015.
4. Fabio Capello, Real Madrid
1996-1997 and 2006-2007
Both of Capello’s two stints at the Santiago Bernebeu were short, but that doesn’t stop him being one of Real Madrid’s more successful managers. The Italian won La Liga in both 1997 and 2007, helping to develop Raul and Roberto Carlos in his first spell and going on to coach Fabio Cannavaro, David Beckham and Ruud van Nistelrooy in his second.
Capello was never universally popular in Madrid, though: a perceived negative style of football was criticised by both fans and the media. He was consequently sacked despite winning the title in 2006/07, after which Los Blancos only claimed the crown twice in the following nine seasons.
3. Tony Pulis, Stoke
2002-2005 and 2006-2013
Pulis’s first stint at Stoke came under Gunnar Gislason’s ownership, with the Welshman simply tasked with keeping the club in the second tier. While Pulis fulfilled his remit year after year, he was criticised by Gislason for failing to sign enough foreign players, which paved the way for his sacking in 2005.
The Welshman joined Plymouth shortly after, but Peter Coates’s takeover at Stoke prompted Pulis to return just a year later. His second spell was hugely successful, the former defender guiding the Potters into the Premier League and keeping them there – as well as reaching the 2011 FA Cup Final. Since leaving the Bet365 (née Britannia) Stadium in 2013, Pulis has steered Crystal Palace and West Brom away from the drop zone.
2. Harry Redknapp, Portsmouth
2002-2004 and 2005-2008
Returning to a former club is uncommon enough, but sandwiching a stint at said side’s major rivals in between is something else entirely.
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. Pompey’s south-coast rivals took advantage and lured Redknapp to St Mary’s; he was unable to prevent them from dropping into the Championship, though, and returned to Portsmouth in 2005.
His second stint brought an FA Cup winner’s medal, as Portsmouth defeated Cardiff in 2008. Redknapp left for Spurs in October that year.
1. Vittorio Pozzo, Italy
1912, 1921, 1924 and 1929-1948
Pozzo managed his country four times: in 1912, 1921 and 1924 he headed a board of selectors, before taking sole control between 1929 and 1948. Italy won their first ever World Cup on home soil during that spell, and retained the trophy by defeating Hungary in the 1938 final.
Brazil were overcome in the semi-finals that year, with Italy’s opponents having already booked their plane from Marseille to Paris – where the final was to be played – the next day. Pozzo used that nugget of information as a key part of his team talk, and the Azzurri duly ran out 2-1 winners before catching a train to the capital.