Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is making a great case to be named Manchester United manager, but how have other Alex Ferguson pupils got on?
After being appointed by Oldham Athletic, Paul Scholes becomes the latest former Manchester United star to have played under Alex Ferguson and gone on to become a manager.
Their record is mixed but the strong start made by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer since taking temporary charge at Old Trafford shows why Ferguson’s old pupils continue to be in such strong demand.
Unlike former England team-mates Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, Scholes has opted for a low-key start to life as a manager by taking charge of his boyhood club.
The list of Ferguson’s former players to have stepped into the dugout is a long one but here are some of the biggest names to have tried their luck.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 9, 2019
Saturday’s 3-0 win at Fulham gave Solskjaer 10 wins from 11 unbeaten games since replacing Jose Mourinho at United. He is making an excellent case to be given the job on a permanent basis, although Mauricio Pochettino continues to be linked with the role. Solskjaer flopped in his previous Premier League job at Cardiff City but rebuilt his reputation in his homeland Norway with Molde.
One of United’s greatest players, Robson has been unable to hit the same heights as a manager. His career started well at Middlesbrough, but after seven years in charge he was replaced by Ferguson’s assistant, Steve McClaren. Robson made little impression in subsequent spells at Bradford City, West Brom and Sheffield United – although he did mastermind Albion’s remarkable escape from Premier League relegation in 2005-06 – and was last employed as a club manager in 2008. The 62-year-old led Thailand between 2009 and 2011.
Ince has claimed he could have done a similar stabilising job at United to Solskjaer but little in his record suggests that is realistic. After a spell as player-coach at Swindon Town, Ince broke out on his own at Macclesfield Town in 2006, steering the club away from being relegated out of the Football League. That earned him a chance at MK Dons, where he won both the Football League Trophy and the League Two title, before taking charge at Blackburn Rovers. But he lasted only six months in the Premier League and a return to MK Dons fell flat, as did subsequent stints at Notts County and Blackpool.
Bruce has carved out a reputation as a reliable Championship manager and recently took charge of Sheffield Wednesday. The Owls will hope he can add to his strong record, with two promotions to the Premier League at Birmingham City and another couple at Hull City, while he also led the Tigers into Europe. Bruce had solid spells at Wigan Athletic and Sunderland, although he left his previous club, Aston Villa, shortly after one fan threw a cabbage at him.
— Sheffield Wednesday (@swfc) February 9, 2019
Former Wales boss Hughes established Blackburn Rovers as a top-half Premier League side during the 2000s, taking them into the UEFA Cup. The ex-Barcelona and Chelsea forward was headhunted by Manchester City in 2008 but sacked the following December. He bounced back at Fulham by finishing eighth but cut short his tenure in 2011, citing his status as “a young, ambitious manager” as a reason for moving on – something struggles at Queens Park Rangers underlined as being ill-advised.
The 55-year-old was consistent at Stoke City, with three consecutive ninth-place finishes from 2013 to 2016, but progress stagnated and he was axed prior to their relegation last season. Hughes is without a job after lasting eight months at Southampton.
Former United captain Neville surprisingly left a lucrative and high-profile broadcasting position in December 2015 for his first managerial job. A close friend and confidante of Valencia owner Peter Lim, the United great’s tenure came to an undignified end following dire results amid fan vitriol. Neville was sacked in March after just 10 wins from 28 matches in all competitions. The 43-year-old has returned to punditry and he remains heavily involved at non-league Salford City alongside Lim, brother Phil Neville, Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt and David Beckham.
Irishman Keane, who captained United and won 17 major titles at Old Trafford, was appointed Sunderland manager shortly after retiring in 2006. His impact was immediate, taking the club from 23rd in the Championship to Premier League promotion. That Wearside romance fizzled out and Ipswich Town were next for Keane, who started the 2009-10 season with no wins from their first 14 matches. Assistant positions with Republic of Ireland and Aston Villa followed but concerns over his no-nonsense approach persist. He has now re-joined former Ireland boss Martin O’Neill at Nottingham Forest.
When David Moyes was sacked in 2014, many viewed Giggs as the ideal long-term replacement at United. The most decorated British player in history was named interim player-manager for the final four matches of the season and he recorded two wins, a draw and a defeat before the United board turned to Louis van Gaal. Retained as an assistant manager to the Dutchman, many tipped Giggs as his successor in Manchester but again he was overlooked in favour of Jose Mourinho in 2016. That snub led him to finally leave Old Trafford and he succeeded Chris Coleman as Wales manager last year.