The 2012-13 Premier League season was marked by one major shift in the fortunes of the league and its more successful team. Sir Alex Ferguson decided to stick around for one more season to prove that he can overcome anything football throws at him before walking off into the sunset, or the pouring rain at Old Trafford in this case.
The rest of them will be covered here, and we start with Arsenal where Arsene Wenger predictably guided his team to a solid fourth-place finish. He led the Gunners to three more FA Cups (seven in total) before retiring in 2018, ending a 22-year spell in North London, and he has served as FIFA’s Chief of Global Football Development since November 2019.
Aston Villa brought in Paul Lambert to replace Alex McLeish at the beginning of the season, who guided them to 15th. He would spend two more seasons at Villa Park followed by stints at Blackburn, Wolves, Stoke and Ipswich. He is currently unemployed after leaving the Ipswich job in 2021.
Chelsea, who were coming off the most unlikely Champions League win in history, kept Roberto Di Matteo around until November when he was sacked after a 3-0 loss to Juventus that knocked them out of the UCL. Rafa Benitez arrived the very same day to take the reins and under his tutelage Chelsea finished third.
Di Matteo kept receiving his £130,000-a-week salary from Chelsea well into 2014 as the two parties could not agree on a termination. The payments finally stopped for him once he joined Schalke where he lasted half a season, before spending four months at Aston Villa in 2016. He is currently employed as a technical advisor to the South Korean football club Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors.
As for his replacement, Rafa Benitez spent two average years in Naples and half a season at Real Madrid, which Madridistas would love to forget. The following years would not be any kinder, managing to keep Newcastle in the Premier League, spending some time at Chinese side Dalian Professional and crashing at Everton. He is currently unemployed.
Everton finished sixth this season under the steady hand of David Moyes. We all know what followed next. The absolute disaster at Manchester United was followed by stints at Real Sociedad and Sunderland before finding his feet again at West Ham. This season after a shaky start he guided West Ham to the Europa Conference League and seems poised to replicate his Everton success in East London.
Martin Jol finished 12th with his Fulham side but would be sacked in December 2013 after six straight defeats. He took charge of Egyptian side Al Ahly and led them to the league title only to leave in August 2016 after seven months at the helm. He has not returned to management ever since, and at 67, it seems that the Dutchman has called it quits after a quarter-century in the industry.
Manchester City also had two managers this season, with Roberto Mancini being sacked in May after losing the FA Cup final to Wigan. Stints at Galatasaray, Inter and Zenit followed before he took charge of the Italian National team in 2018 and guided them to the Euros in 2021. His replacement Brian Kidd stayed on as Manuel Pellegrini’s and Pep Guardiola’s assistant before departing in 2021.
Sir Alex Ferguson left Manchester United at the end of the season and has been spending his retirement watching United from the stands, which I imagine is akin to someone taking a car you meticulously restored and hitting it with every blunt object imaginable.
This season was to be the first of Alan Pardew’s eight-year contract at St James’ Park, but he would only complete one and a half of them at Newcastle before stumbling around from job to job managing Crystal Palace, West Brom, ADO Den Haag, CSKA Sofia and most recently Aris Thessaloniki, where he was sacked in February of this year.
Chris Hughton’s successful first season at Norwich City saw the Canaries finish eleventh. However, the next season, he would find himself out of a job after poor performances. His next five years would be spent at Brighton, where he took the outfit to the Premier League and managed to keep them there. A brief spell at Nottingham Forest did not yield much success and he is now currently the head coach of the Ghana national team after moving into the hot seat from his position as a technical advisor.
Harry Redknapp’s career took a turn this season, as he was relegated with his QPR side and lost his job. From there he managed the Jordan National Team and Birmingham City before retiring in 2017. He has kept busy since then, spending time as an advisor for Yeovil Town and Bournemouth and making an appearance on EastEnders.
Reading and Southampton will be grouped together as they both featured the same manager this season, Nigel Adkins. After Southampton sacked him, he was appointed at Reading but could not manage to keep them in the Premier League. He is currently and advisor at Tranmere Rovers after having managed Sheffield United, Hull City and Charlton Athletic. The man who he replaced at Reading, Brian McDermott, moved on to a scout role at Arsenal and is currently the director of football at Scottish side Hibernian.
Adkins’ replacement at Southampton was none other than Mauricio Pochettino, who kickstarted his career on the south coast of England. We all know of his amazing spell at Spurs and the indifferent time he had at PSG and the footballing world is currently waiting to see if he can rectify the car crash that is Chelsea Football Club.
Sunderland’s season represented a close call in terms of staying in the Premier League, with two managers being employed by the club in that time. Martin O’Neill, who they sacked in March went on to manage the Ireland National Team and Nottingham Forest and is currently unemployed, His replacement, hand signal enthusiast Paolo Di Canio lasted until the end of the season and hasn’t managed since.
Swansea City finished ninth and thrashed Bradford City 5-0 in the League Cup Final with Michael Laudrup at the helm, who stayed on for two more years before moving on to Qatar with Lekhwiya and Al-Rayyan — he hasn’t managed since 2016.
Jose Mourinho regen Andre Villas-Boas guided Spurs to their highest points tally ever at the time before presiding over Gareth Bale’s departure and signing seven players with the funds. Sacked in December 2013 he could never seem to find his spot managing Zenit, Shanghai SIPG and Marseille, where he fell out with the club’s leadership and has been unemployed since 2021.
Current Scotland boss Steve Clarke managed to finish eighth with West Bromwich Albion, before being sacked the following season and spending time at Reading, Aston Villa and Kilmarnock, before taking charge of Scotland in May 2019.
Two spots below West Brom, Sam Allardyce took West Ham to tenth before losing his job in 2015. From there he kept Sunderland up, which landed him the England job. After an amazing spell at England’s helm where he held a 100% win rate, he worked his magic at Crystal Palace and Everton, keeping both in the Premier League. His last two jobs at West Brom and Leeds however, smashed his un-relegatable reputation and he is currently unemployed and looking to make as many podcast appearances as possible.
As usual, I saved the best for last, namely the most upwards failing manager in world football, Roberto Martinez. His relegated Wigan side shocked everybody by winning the FA Cup against Manchester City. After that he had a steady spell at the helm of Everton before somehow being put in charge of Belgium’s golden generation and leading them to abject failure at every tournament, they took part in. Which brings us to the 9th of January of this year when Portugal decided that a dullard manager like Fernando Santos needed a worthy replacement in Martinez.
By: Eduard Holdis / @He_ftbl
Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Rafal Oleksiewicz – PA Images – Getty Images