Top 10 player-managers in English football include legends from Chelsea, Liverpool and Rangers as Vincent Kompany takes up new role at Anderlecht

21 May

Vincent Kompany announced that he would be returning to his former club Anderlecht to be their player-manager over the weekend.

The centre-back signed out in style after 11 seasons with Manchester City by completing a domestic treble.

The 33-year-old now has the tough job of balancing two roles at the Belgium club.

Vincent Kompany won 10 major trophies during 11 seasons with Man City

It is something not seen too much in modern football with the Premier League’s last permanent player-manager being Gianluca Vialli in 1999.

Here are the top 10 as selected by

10. Attilio Lombardo – Crystal Palace, 1998

Lombardo joined Crystal Palace in 1997 from Juventus and was made player-manager in 1998 after Steve Coppell took the role of director of football.

Palace were relegated at the end of the season, although Lombardo initially stayed on under new manager Terry Venables.

He eventually returned to Italy in 1999 with Lazio but found himself back in England in 2010 as Roberto Mancini’s assistant at Manchester City.

Attilio Lombardo lasted less than a season with Crystal Palace

9. Dennis Wise – Millwall 2003-05

Wise was named as player-manager in 2003 when Mark McGhee left the club.

He led Millwall to their first ever FA Cup final in 2004, which they lost to Manchester United. They were the first team outside the top flight to reach the final since 1992.

Dennis Wise led Millwall to the FA Cup final

They also qualified for Europe but were knocked out at the first round by Hungarian champions Ferencvaros.

8. Steve Gritt and Alan Curbishley – Charlton, 1991-95

Gritt and Curbishley were named as joint player-managers in 1991 when Lennie Lawrence left the Addicks.

The pair laid the foundations for a successful future for the club as they returned to The Valley in that period and brought through youngsters like Lee Bowyer, Richard Rufus, John Robinson and Shaun Newton.

Curbishley took sole charge in 1995 and got them promoted to the Premier League, twice, and established Charlton as a top flight club.

Alan Curbishley and Steve Gritt were appointed as joint player-managers in 1991

7. Gordan Strachan – Coventry City, 1996-2001

Strachan arrived at Coventry from Leeds United in 1995 as a player-coach under Ron Atkinson. But after Atkinson took the job of director of football in 1996, Strachan took charge.

The Scottish midfielder ended his playing career in 1997 but remained in charge until 2001, shortly after Coventry were relegated from the Premier League.

He has since managed Southampton, Celtic and Middlesbrough.

Gordan Strachan was appointed as Coventry manager in 1996

6. John Toshack – Swansea City, 1978-84

After persistent fitness problems brought an end to his career at Liverpool, Toshack dropped down to the Fourth Division to take charge of Swansea and become the youngest manager in the league at 28-years-old.

Toshack hit the ground running with two successive promotions – the second of which was clinched courtesy of a goal from the boss himself – and then after a season of consolidation took Swansea into the top flight for the first time in their history in 1981.

Swansea lasted two seasons before suffering relegation and Toshack departed for a role at Sporting Lisbon.

John Toshack spent six seasons at Swansea City

5. Peter Reid – Manchester City, 1990-93

Reid was appointed as player-manager when Howard Kendall went back to Everton.

He guided City to two consecutive fifth place finishes, and one of those seasons saw them finish above rivals Manchester United.

In the inaugural Premier League campaign, City slipped down to ninth and he was sacked the next season following a poor start.

Peter Reid enjoyed early success as Man City player-manager

4. Ruud Gullit – Chelsea, 1996-98

The great Dutchman was the natural choice to replace Glenn Hoddle as he commanded great respect at Chelsea thanks to his illustrious achievements in the game.

He guided Chelsea to FA Cup success in 1997, their first trophy for 26 years, becoming the first foreign coach to win one of England’s major trophies.

He left in 1998 after a dispute with chairman Ken Bates.

Ruud Gullit replaced Glenn Hoddle at Chelsea

3. Gianluca Vialli – Chelsea 1996-1999

When Ruud Gullit left in 1998, the Blues continued their habit of handing senior players the top job by appointing Vialli, the player who had moved to London on a free transfer from Juventus in May 1996.

The Italian led Chelsea to double success in 1998 as they won the League Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup as well as the FA Cup in 2000.

However, he was sacked shortly after the start of the 2000/01 season, despite winning the Charity Shield and UEFA Super Cup.

Gianluca Vialli led Chelsea to three trophies during his spell as player-manager

2. Graeme Souness – Rangers, 1986-91

The Glasgow side brought Souness back to Britain following a two-year spell with Sampdoria and the Scotland international set about revolutionising football north of the border with some high-profile signings such as Terry Butcher and Trevor Steven.

He won the Scottish League title three times in 1987, 1989 and 1990 as well as the League Cup in 1987, 1988, 1989 and 1991. He left to succeed Kenny Dalglish at Liverpool in 1991, ending his playing career after taking the job at Anfield.

Graeme Souness won the league title three times with Rangers

1. Kenny Dalglish – Liverpool, 1985-1987

King Kenny was already one of the greatest players to don the Liverpool shirt having dazzled after arriving at the club as a replacement for Kevin Keegan in 1977, but in 1985 his hero-status took on a new dimension when he accepted the challenge of managing the club following the disaster at Heysel.

In his first full season in charge he won the league and FA Cup double, even underlining his status as a key player by scoring the goal to win the title against Chelsea and Stamford Bridge.

Kenny Dalglish won a league and FA Cup double in his first season as Liverpool player-manager

He remained in charge after hanging up his boots in 1987 and led Liverpool to league titles in 1988 and 1990 as well as the 1989 FA Cup. He announced his shock resignation in 1991 but returned as manager of Liverpool between 2011 and 2012.


Ryan Giggs – Manchester United caretaker player-manager, 2014

The United legend was appointed as player-coach under David Moyes but then was named interim coach when he was sacked in his first season.

He stopped playing at the end of the 2013/14 season but was appointed as Louis van Gaal’s assistant.

Ryan Giggs was interim player-manager when David Moyes was sacked

Garry Monk – Swansea caretaker player-manager, 2014

The defender was named as interim player-manager when Michael Laudrup was sacked in February 2014.

That season they reached the round of 32 in the Europa League and survived relegation from the Premier League.

He was appointed as permanent boss the following season but had hung up his boots by then.

Garry Monk took over from Michael Laudrup at Swansea

Leon Britton – Swansea caretaker player-manager, 2017

Britton took charge of two games for the club following Paul Clement’s sacking.

After a 5-0 defeat at Anfield in the second game, Carlos Carvalhal was named as the new manager.

Leon Britton was interim player-manager for just two games