The Premier League is the most popular football league globally. Since the old First Division was revamped into the Premier League, the league in England has grown manifold with every passing year. Foreign players started coming in at a rapid rate to ply their trade in England. The Premier League of today shows how much the game has evolved over the past three decades.
This millennium has seen a massive influx of foreign coaches and managers, with foreign players dominating the Premier League now. This domination is clearly visible when we take a look at various Premier League managers.
Even though the Premier League title has been lifted by ten different managers from six different nationalities, none of them are English. This is a clear indication that the most successful managers in the Premier League are foreign coaches. They come to England with different tactics, ideologies, systems and playing styles and get their teams playing at a superior level.
This doesn't mean that the Premier League hasn't had top managers managing various EPL clubs all these years. However, when they have come up against legendary managers like Sir Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho, Arsene Wenger and Pep Guardiola, the homegrown managers have often come up short.
As Premier League clubs are in a continual pursuit of success, managers who have failed to deliver the desired results often end up facing the sack. Numerous managers in the Premier League end up becoming journeymen. They move from one Premier League club to another, either after achieving their targets and leaving by mutual consent, or by facing the sack after a run of poor results.
As many as six managers have ended up managing five or more different Premier League clubs in their careers. In this article we take a look at these managers who have managed the most number of Premier League clubs.
Premier League managers who have managed the most EPL clubs:
#1 Sam Allardyce
7 clubs (Bolton Wanderers, West Ham United, Blackburn Rovers, Sunderland, Everton, Newcastle, Crystal Palace).
Sam Allardyce is the man who tops the list of most Premier League clubs managed, having being at the helm of seven clubs in the last twenty years.
Allardyce began his playing career as a defender at Bolton Wanderers in the early 1970s. He spent nine years at Bolton before moving to a bunch of different clubs. Towards the end of his player career, he began coaching. Allardyce landed his first major job in 1994 at Blackpool, who were then in the second division.
After narrowly missing out on promotion to the First Division, Allardyce was sacked by Bolton and appointed manager of Notts County. After three seasons at his new club, he made a return back to his boyhood club Bolton Wanderers, who were then in Division One.
Big Sam had eight successful years at Bolton as the Trotters won back promotion into the Premier League. After two successful relegation escapes, Allardyce transformed Bolton into an efficient team that began finishing in the top half of the table. Bolton even qualified for the UEFA Cup for the first time in their history after finish sixth in the 2004-05 season. They recorded successive top eight finishes between 2003-04 and 2006-07 before Allardyce departed with the club at its peak.
Allardyce then moved to another Premier League club, Newcastle. However, after a string of poor results, he was sacked after just 21 games, failing to last a full season.
In December 2008, Allardyce was appointed the manager of 19th Blackburn and took the club to safety. After two decent years where he was able to keep Blackburn in the mid-table, new owners Venky's sacked Allardyce who began the next season at recently relegated West Ham United. He immediately secured Blackburn promotion to the Premier League the next season and got the Hammers playing attractive football after completing a bunch of big signings.
After four relatively successful seasons in London, Big Sam moved to the North-east to manage Sunderland where he performed probably his greatest escape act. When Allardyce was appointed, Sunderland, with three points from eight games, sat 19th in the Premier League table but managed to avoid the drop. The Sunderland job saw Allardyce rewarded with the post of manager of the England national football team. But the partnership lasted for only one game before both sides ended the contract by mutual consent.
In December 2016, Allardyce moved to a struggling Crystal Palace where he engineered another relegation survival. The Englishman then moved to another floundering Premier League side, Everton, in the middle of next season. Despite an improvement in their league position by the end of the season, Allardyce left the club as his tactics failed to impress the Everton faithful.
Since then, Allardyce has remained unemployed. It might be plausible that the Everton job might have been his last as he could have made up his mind on retirement. Big Sam nevertheless, will always be synonymous with Premier League for his survival acts at different clubs, despite never going on to manage any of the top teams in the league.
#2 Mark Hughes
6 clubs (Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City, Fulham, Queens Park Rangers, Stoke City, Southampton).
Mark Hughes had a long and successful career as a forward for Manchester United and also enjoyed stints at big clubs like Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
Hughes hung up his boots in 1999 and took his first foray in his managerial journey by managing the Wales national team. Following five difficult years, he took charge of Blackburn Rovers in the Premier League.
After managing to stay clear of the drop zone, a fine second season saw Hughes lead Blackburn to sixth and also secure a place in Europe. He built a formidable side at Blackburn before leaving when big hitters Manchester City came calling. After one and half years in Manchester, where the club's progress under new owners seemingly stalled, change was inevitable, leading to the sacking of the Welshman.
Hughes was then appointed manager of Fulham in July 2010. A fine season saw him lead the London club to a creditable eighth-placed finish before he announced his resignation as he looked to move on to bigger and better things. A move to QPR materialised, where Hughes arguably had his most disappointing managerial stint. Despite making a number of high-profile signings in 2011-12, QPR only narrowly survived Premier League relegation that led to another sack for the Welshman.
The more Wales international took on the reins of Stoke Citys where he transformed the team from a physical side to a moderately attractive one. Hughes led the Potters to three consecutive ninth-place finishes. A disappointing start to the 2017-18 saw the Welshman being shown the exit door.
Hughes made an immediate move to a relegation-threatened Southamption in March 2018, leading the Premier League side to safety. However, he was dismissed midway into the next season after a disappointing run of results. Currently the Welshman remains unemployed.
#3 Harry Redknapp
5 clubs (West Ham United, Portsmouth, Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur, Queens Park Rangers).
After his playing career that included long spells at West Ham United and AFC Bournemouth, Harry Redknapp began his managerial stint at Bournemouth in 1983.
Bournemouth were the Division champions in 1987 as Redknapp led the side into the second tier of English football for the first time. His nine-year successful relationship with the south coast club ended after he opted to join Premier League club West Ham. Redknapp played a major role in establishing the London club's position in the top-half of the Premier League. At West Ham, the Englishman introduced a number of young players like Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick and Frank Lampard, who went on to become future stars.
Redknapp led Portsmouth to an unexpected promotion in 2003, managing to keep the Premier League club in the top tier the next season. Midway through the 2004-05 season, he left the club after disagreements with the owner before joining Portsmouth's south coast rivals Southampton.
Tasked with the job of keeping the club afloat in the Premier League, Redknapp failed to do so as Southampton suffered relegation. A poor run in the Championship forced the Englishman to resign just a year into the job as he returned to his old club Portsmouth.
Redknapp's second stint at Portsmouth was equally successful as his first was. He first led the club to their highest finish in over 50 years and secured the FA Cup trophy the next season. Redknapp's success saw him move to another Premier League club Tottenham, which marked the biggest managerial job of his career.
His time at North London was a huge success as he made wholesale changes to the club and led them to the Champions League for the first time. Spurs made it to the quarterfinals of the competition and finished fifth the next season, making it to the Europa League. In 2011-12, Redknapp led the club to a fourth-placed finish before he was sacked after stalled contract negotiations. He moved to city rivals Queens Park Rangers the next season.
Having joined QPR in the middle of the 2012-13 Premier League season, Redknapp had a mixed time at the London Club. Having failed to guide the club to safety in his first season. Redknapp managed to secure QPR's promotion back into the Premier League the very next season. However, a disastrous first half of the new season saw him resign from his post.
Harry Redknapp had two more managerial jobs but has been out of work since 2017. It's highly unlikely that we will see him again in the Premier League.
#4 Alan Pardew
5 clubs (West Ham United, Charlton Athletic, Newcastle, Crystal Palace, West Bromich Albion).
Alan Pardew was a popular player during his time at Crystal Palace and Charlton Athletic. After hanging up his boots, Pardew began his managerial career at Reading. After nearly 5 years at Reading, West Ham, who were in the Championship, came calling and he moved to the London club in October 2003.
After a playoff final defeat in his first season with the London club, Pardew managed to secure Premier League promotion for West Ham in the next season. A fine first season in the English top tier saw Pardew lead the Hammers to a ninth place finish in the Premier League and a FA Cup final. However, a dismal run in the 2006-07 season saw him dismissed from the West Ham job.
Pardew was back in business within just two weeks as a struggling Charlton Athletic in 19th place offered him the managerial post. Despite an improvement in form, he was unable to steer Charlton to safety as the club suffered relegation into the Championship. The inability to lead the club back into the Premier League at the first attempt followed by a terrible run of form in the second saw Pardew sacked in October 2008. After a stint at Southampton, he was appointed the manager of Newcastle, where he saw both massive success and 'sink to the trenches' moments.
In his second season at Newcastle, Pardew revamped the squad. He won the Premier League Manager of the Season award for guiding the Toons to a fifth-place finish, as Newcastle narrowly missed out on a Champions League spot. However, he was unable to reach the same heights over the next two and half seasons at the club, as Newcastle began languishing in the bottom half of the table. Pardew left the Magpies in December 2014 after deciding to manage his former playing club Crystal Palace.
Pardew led Palace to a tenth-place finish. He enjoyed a fabulous start to the 2015-16 Premier League season as the London club found themselves in fifth position at the halfway point of the season. But a terrible 2016 ensued, that included the second half of the 2015-16 season and the start of the following campaign, which saw Pardew relieved of his duties.
After almost a year out of work, West Brom decided to offer Pardew the managerial duties. It turned out to be a decision both parties stood to regret. He was sacked just four months into the job as the club found itself at the bottom of the table, before ultimately suffering relegation from the Premier League.
Pardew was managing Dutch club ADO Den Haag in the Eredivisie before the COVID-19 pandemic struck and he decided the leave the club shortly thereafter. The Englishman, who still has age on his side, might look to work his way back into the top tier of the Premier League.
#5 Roy Hodgson
5 clubs (Blackburn Rovers, Fulham, Liverpool, West Bromich Albion, Crystal Palace).
Roy Hogdson's playing career never took off and he moved into management in 1976 when he was just 29.
After managing numerous clubs and the Switzerland national football team, Hodgson's first entry into Premier League football was only twenty years later. In 1997, Hodgson was offered the job of managing Blackburn Rovers. After a successful first season in the Premier League where Blackburn finished sixth, things began to go downhill. He was sacked just four months into the next season. After spending almost a decade away from England, Hodgson returned to the Premier League in December 2007 to manage Fulham.
The London club were struggling in 18th in the 2007-08 Premier League when the Englishman took over before guiding the club to safety. In his second season, Hogdson guided the Cottagers to a seventh place finish and a spot in the Europa League. The next season saw Hodgson lead the Premier League side on a fairytale journey to the Europa League final and a 13th place finish.
His impressive performances saw Liverpool come calling and he was appointed the Anfield club's manager for the 2010-11 Premier League season. However, Hodgson's time at Liverpool turned out to be disastrous, and he'd go down as one of the worst managers in the club's long and decorated history.
Hodgson was sacked just six months into the job but made a move to West Brom who were hovering near the relegation zone. He led the club to an eleventh-place finish in the Premier League, eliciting a good run of form from the club after his appointment. Hodgson bettered his first season exploits by leading the Baggies to a 10th-place finish in the 2011-12 Premier League season that marked the club's best finish in over three decades.
The well-respected manager's fine showings in the West Brom dugout saw him rewarded with a contract by the England national football team. After four years that included disappointments in major tournaments, Hodgson returned to the club fold with his boyhood club Crystal Palace in September 2017. He has been managing the Eagles since and has ensured that they remain a stiff challenge for all the teams in the Premier League.
#6 Steve Bruce
5 clubs (Birmingham City, Sunderland, Hull City, Wigan Athletic, Newcastle).
After a highly successful playing career, where he starred in the centre of the defense for Manchester United, Steve Bruce, took up management after retirement.
He began his management career at Sheffield United in the Championship and then had stints at Huddersfield Town, Wigan Athletic and Crystal Palace before moving to Birmingham City. When Bruce arrived at Birmingham, the club was in a mid-table position but a fine second half of the season saw him secure Premier League promotion for the Blues.
After three fine seasons in the Premier League, a difficult fourth season saw Birmingham City drop back into the Championship. However, they climbed back into the Premier League at the first attempt after securing an automatic spot promotion.
Bruce moved back to Wigan, who were now in the Premier League, and led the club to an 11th-place finish in his second stint at the club. He then secured a move to another Premier League club, Sunderland, with whom he secured consecutive mid-table finishes in 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons before being sacked in November 2011 after a poor run of form.
In June 2012, Bruce was appointed as manager of Championship club Hull City, who he led to Premier League promotion in his very first season at the club. After one respectable season in the Premier League that included an appearance in the FA Cup final, Bruce suffered a relegation for the third time in his managerial career as the Tigers went down in the 2014-15 season.
After nearly four years away from the Premier League, Bruce was appointed as Newcastle manager at the start of the 2019-20 season. As things stand, Newcastle are outside the relegation zone in the Premier League. But nobody knows what the future holds for Steve Bruce as Newcastle's ambitions are definitely a lot more than just surviving the relegation battle.