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Top 5 unexpected managerial exits

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Sir Alex
Sir Alex Ferguson and Zinedine Zidane called quits on their respective managerial roles at the least expected time

Managers are, most often than not, the driving force behind a club's campaign. Right from cherry-picking the players that should be signed, to forging the tactics the team runs with, managers frequently possess a lot of power within a club and are expected to wield it a way most beneficial to the club.

Now, while most managers dream of establishing themselves and setting up a legacy, only a fractional few actually manage to execute their plans to perfection. As a result, not a lot of managers succeed in spending long careers with a single club.

Sometimes, a manager's departure boils down to personal wishes, while the rest depends on factors such as the equation between manager and management, or the accomplishment of targets laid down for a manager.

Modern-day clubs have frequently been impatient with managers, often replacing former ones with newer ones in a matter of heartbeats, for a plethora of reasons. Conversely, managers have also begun to shockingly call time on their career at a particular club, again, for a number of reasons.

On that note, here is a look at the top 5 surprising managerial exits that we have seen thus far:

#5 Kevin Keegan - Newcastle United

Kevin Keegan helped Newcastle United become a force to reckon with before suddenly quitting

In 1992, languishing at the bottom of the table in England's Second Division, Newcastle United stared at the possibility of relegation to the Third Division for the first time ever when they brought in Kevin Keegan to replace outgoing manager Ossie Ardiles.

For someone who had spent 8 seasons outside the game, having hung up his boots in 1985 claiming to never want a managerial role, naturally, not much was initially expected from Keegan, who took over the reins of the club during their darkest days.

What followed, stunned most. Keegan didn't just lead Newcastle's resurgence in the Second Division, he led them to the limelight in the Premier League. After surviving in the Second Division, Newcastle went on to win Division One the very next season, earning a promotion to the Premier League.

In the next 4 years under Keegan, Newcastle rose to the top of the Premier League, finishing 3rd, 6th, 2nd and 2nd in the 1993-94,1994-95, 1995-96 and 1996-97 seasons respectively. Further, Keegan was also responsible for bringing in club legend, Alan Shearer, in 1996, for a then world-record fee of £15 million.

For all terms and purposes, things couldn't have been better at the Tyneside club, which is why the world was stunned when Keegan unexpectedly announced that he would be leaving the club at the end of the 1996-97 season.

While the real reasons behind his exit are still unknown, several rumours claim that it was because a long-term commitment was going to be demanded of him - something he felt he wasn't ready for. Other rumours claim that it was because of the toll that the unsuccessful league challenge took on him.

Regardless, considering the circumstances Newcastle United were in, it was a shocking decision to leave from the English tactician. Notably, he returned to the club's helm in January 2008, albeit hanging around for only a few months before controversially leaving for good.

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