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The time Swansea City appointed the world's worst manager

Jonny Keen
ANALYST
Feature
Timeless

Kevin Cullis
Kevin Cullis

In 1996, Swansea City were expecting a new manager. The fans and the media were excited as they speculated on who the new man could be; perhaps it would be former Welsh international Ian Rush, or ex Sheffield Wednesday manager Trevor Francis.

But when the announcement finally came, there was more than a little head-scratching amongst the Swansea faithful.

No one seemed to have heard of the club's new manager, Kevin Cullis. The local papers even ran the headline "Kevin Who?". As it turned out, Cullis had previously worked as youth team manager for non-league side Cradley Town and had never played or coached in professional football.


Cullis was overthrown in the Vetch Field changing rooms
Cullis was overthrown in the Vetch Field changing rooms

But Swansea's board were unfazed by their new acquisition's lack of experience, with the chairman stating: "We intend to disprove the theory that the way forward is to appoint a big name manager", whilst Cullis himself claimed: "Football is the same whether it's Inter Milan or Cradley".

Cullis brought in Liverpool scout Paul Molesworth as his assistant and immediately began trying to stamp his influence on the then Second Division club, claiming he would bring in multiple new players.

He had also told members of the existing squad they were "not good enough", although Cullis did not take training sessions himself. The players quickly realized their new boss knew very little about the beautiful game, with goalkeeper Roger Freestone later writing that he was "horrified" and thought the appointment was a joke.

As might be imagined, things did not go well for Cullis. His first match ended in a 1-0 defeat, but it was his second game in charge where things really went downhill.

The squad was in a mess with players deployed out of position and little organization. During the half time break of a 4-0 defeat to Blackpool, the players grew tired of his inept managerial style and pulled off a coup, demanding the inept former road worker "shut up and sit down".

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After the match, Cullis resigned, bringing a welcome end to a managerial reign that had lasted a mere seven days, as well as one of the shortest and least successful careers in football history.

Former Liverpool midfielder Jan Mølby was quickly brought in as his replacement but could not save the club from relegation.


Former Liverpool star Jan Mølby was brought in to replace Cullis
Former Liverpool star Jan Mølby was brought in to replace Cullis

Cullis received a five-figure payout after departing from Swansea. He dropped out of football, but not entirely out of the media spotlight. In 2003, he was sentenced to nine months in prison after being convicted of fraud.

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