Roy Keane and Steve Bruce during the Premier League match between Wigan Athletic and Sunderland in Wigan, England, September 2008.

The 36 Man Utd players under Ferguson that became managers

After working under Sir Alex Ferguson, several former Manchester United players have tried to follow in the manager’s footsteps. 

While the likes of Steve Bruce, Mark Hughes and Roy Keane are well-known examples, plenty of lesser-known names have also tried their hand in the dugout.

We’ve looked at the 36 former United players who played under Ferguson and decided to go into management to see how they’ve fared.

Bryan Robson

Robson won the Championship title with Middlesbrough in 1995 and famously helped West Brom become the first team to avoid relegation from the Premier League after being bottom of the table on Christmas Day.

But the Baggies were relegated in the following season and the 65-year-old has been out of the managerial game since quitting as Thailand boss in 2011.

Gordon Strachan

Strachan began his managerial career with a five-year stint at Coventry City before taking charge of Southampton in 2001.

His most successful spell came at Celtic, where he won three consecutive league titles, two Scottish League Cups and a Scottish Cup.

The 63-year-old last managed the Scotland national team between 2013 and 2017. We miss his post-match press conferences…

READ: A tribute to Gordon Strachan and the lost art of manager wit and sarcasm

Clayton Blackmore

Blackmore worked as a player-manager with Bangor City and Porthmadog and was part of the coaching staff of Dynamo Brest Academy between 2018 and 2019.

Chris Turner

Turner worked in the English lower leagues after retiring in 1994, enjoying stints in charge of Leyton Orient, Hartlepool United, Sheffield Wednesday and Stockport County.

Frank Stapleton

Stapleton spent three years as player-manager at Bradford City in the fourth division before being sacked by the club in 1994.

He had a nine-month spell in charge of the New England Revolution in the MLS but has not taken up any further roles since then – although he was assistant manager for the Jordan national team for a short period.

Peter Davenport

Davenport took over the manager’s hotseat at Macclesfield Town in 2000 but was sacked after refusing to work alongside a new joint-manager.

His high-point came when he oversaw Bangor City’s UEFA Cup victory against Yugoslavia’s FK Sartid in 2000 but has not managed since 2010.

Steve Bruce

While Bruce has never been regarded as a fashionable manager, he has won promotion to the Premier League on four separate occasions.

The 61-year-old is currently in charge of West Bromwich Albion, having held 10 other managerial positions in the last two decades. Only five managers, including Fergie himself of course, have taken charge of more Premier League games.

He may not win any popularity contests in the Newcastle area but Bruce has probably been one of the better managers on this list.

Viv Anderson

Anderson was appointed player-manager of Barnsley in 1993, keeping them in the second tier, but quit the role after just a year to become Bryan Robson’s assistant at Middlesbrough.

Mark Hughes

After impressing with Wales and Blackburn, Hughes joined the blue side of Manchester in 2008 but was replaced by Roberto Mancini 18 months later.

He then had spells at Fulham, Queens Park Rangers and Stoke City and has been out of work since getting sacked by Southampton in 2018.

Embarrassing his players in training like this probably hasn’t helped his cause…

Mark Robins

Robins, whose winning goal against Nottingham Forest in 1990 famously saved Ferguson’s job, started his managerial career in the dugout at Rotherham.

The 50-year-old is currently enjoying his second spell in charge of Coventry City and helped the Sky Blues win League One in 2019-20.

After re-establishing the club back in the second tier, Robins walks on water in that corner of Warwickshire.

Mike Phelan

Phelan worked as Ferguson’s assistant at Old Trafford before leaving the club in 2013 to pursue his own managerial career.

He had a disastrous 82 days in charge of Hull City during the 2016-17 campaign and returned to United as a first-team coach in 2018 – and has survived the post-Ole cull of late 2021.

Plenty of United fans would be sad if Phelan was to leave the club for good…

Paul Ince

Ince impressed early in his managerial career at Macclesfield and MK Dons, but his first Premier League gig at Blackburn went significantly less well.

The manager was dismissed after six months and a return to MK Dons was followed by spells at Notts County and Blackpool.

READ: Paul Ince: The Man Utd side of 1994 was better than the Treble winners

Neil Webb

Webb quit his role of player-coach at Weymouth after just 70 days and also had a short-lived spell with Reading Town in 2001.

Darren Ferguson

Ferguson, son of Sir Alex, decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and pursue a career in management.

The 49-year-old had a lot to live up to and is currently in charge of Peterborough United, his third spell with the League One side.

“I don’t think it affected me because the hardest thing to do would be to go into management,” Ferguson told the Beyond The Pitch podcast in June 2020. “But I made that decision early in my playing career. At 28 I started taking my badges.

“I thought I might have a chance of the Wrexham job when it came up but a week later I had the Peterborough job, so it’s worked out well. But I did feel I had to get right my first job, given my name. Fortunately it went very well.”

Paul Parker

Parker spent four years managing non-league teams Chelmsford City and Welling United before moving into media work.

READ: Paul Parker: English football isn’t getting better with this money

Andrei Kanchelskis

Kanchelskis turned his hand to management in 2010 and was most recently in charge of Navbahor Namangan in the Uzbekistan Super League.

“I’ve made sure I have the right education and built my CV with the clubs I have managed, which has been very tough but I felt was important to give me the skills I need to manage a team in the UK,” Kanchelskis told the Daily Record in June 2020.

“Now I have my UEFA Pro license, and with the experience I have, I believe I’m one step closer to managing in British football.”

It hasn’t happened yet, but that shouldn’t dull memories of Kancheslskis as a player…

READ: The incredible story of Andrei Kanchelskis and his time in England

Pat McGibbon

McGibbon returned to Northern Ireland after retiring in 2006 and had spells in charge of Lurgan Celtic, Newry City and Portadown.

He only made one appearance for United under Ferguson, in a League Cup tie, and his managerial career was equally underwhelming.

Simon Davies

Davies had eight months in charge of Chester City before joining Manchester City as part of their youth coaching programme.

He followed Vincent Kompany to Anderlecht in 2019 and became their head coach when the defender decided to step down from managerial duties.

But the 46-year-old was demoted back to assistant manager after just five games in charge.

Michael Appleton

Appleton replaced Steve Cotterill as Portsmouth manager in November 2011 but couldn’t prevent their relegation to the Championship.

He had two incredibly brief stints at Blackpool and Blackburn and joined League One side Lincoln City in 2019.

He’s doing an impressive job in the third tier and remains one of the most terrifying-looking managers in the Football League.

Ryan Giggs

After spending two years as Louis van Gaal’s assistant at Old Trafford, Giggs was appointed manager of the Wales national team in 2018.

The 46-year-old helped the country book their place at Euro 2020 but didn’t coach Wales at the tournament after being charged with actual bodily harm and common assault against two women, and coercive and controlling behaviour in April 2021.

Gary Neville

Neville was surprisingly named Valencia manager in December 2015, having previously worked as a pundit for Sky Sports after hanging up his boots.

He was in charge for just 28 games, which included a 7-0 drubbing by Barcelona, and swiftly returned to the comfort of the TV studio.

“I never should have said yes to the job,” Neville said in 2019. “I wasn’t qualified for the job and didn’t wake up every morning and think about coaching.

“There was already far too much going on with the Sky stuff, writing articles for a newspaper and doing all the stuff in Manchester with Salford.”

Shkodran Mustafi of Valencia battles Luis Suarez for the ball, Camp Nou, April 2016.

READ: Where are they now? Gary Neville’s Valencia humiliated 7-0 by Barca

Phil Neville

Neville became England women’s manager in 2018 and led the Lionesses to SheBelieves Cup glory and a fourth place at the 2019 World Cup.

But the 45-year-old didn’t win over his critics and resigned before guiding the side into their home Euros this summer. The former utility man now manages Inter Miami in the MLS, owned by none other than David Beckham.

Paul Scholes

Scholes spent 31 days in charge of Oldham Athletic between February and March 2019 before resigning amid claims of chairman interference.

“In the last week there was a couple of issues with a couple of players,” Scholes told BT Sport in 2019. “Experienced pros that I felt didn’t deserve to be treated the way the club wanted to treat them.

“I didn’t need the hassle of that. I really like the players, really respected them and would have done anything for them. But once I get told ‘don’t play him’, that’s when it is time for me to go…

“That only happened once, but that was the end of it. There were subtle hints along the way, but that was the end of it.”

Chris Casper

Casper was forced to retire from professional football at the age of 25 due to injury problems and moved into coaching, spending two-and-a-half years in charge of Bury.

Roy Keane

Keane was United’s leader on the pitch and had a sensational start to management, lifting struggling Sunderland into the Premier League.

But things soon started to unravel at the Stadium of Light, and he hasn’t worked as a head coach since leaving Ipswich Town in 2011.

The former Ireland international has spent much of the last decade getting very angry at Manchester United’s performances on Sky Sports – but has been tipped for a sensational return to Sunderland in February 2022.

READ: ‘Man management? Zero out of 100’: 12 quotes on Roy Keane the manager

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Solskjaer helped former club Molde win consecutive Tippeligaen titles in 2011 and 2012 but was relegated from the Premier League with Cardiff City in 2013-14.

His time as United manager may have ended ignominiously but Solskjaer has retained his popularity with the fans at Old Trafford and you sense that time will be kind to him.

Jordi Cruyff

Cruyff became manager of the Ecuador national football team in January 2020 but resigned six months later without overseeing a match in the dugout.

The 46-year-old then returned to the Chinese Super League with Shenzhen FC, having previously coached Chongqing Dangdai Lifan.

Teddy Sheringham

Sherringham took his first foray into management with Stevenage in 2015 but was sacked a few months later with the club 19th in League Two.

He then won just three of his 10 games in charge of Indian Super League club ATK and has been out of work since January 2018.

Henning Berg

After starting out in Norway, Berg returned to the Premier League with Blackburn Rovers in 2012 but his reign at Ewood Park lasted just 57 days.

The manager went on to win the Polish league with Legia Warsaw and is now in charge of AC Omonia in Cyprus.

Jaap Stam

Stam reached the Championship play-off final in his first season with Reading but lost his job in March 2018 following a run of one win in 18 league games.

The 49-year-old returned to the Netherlands with PEC Zwolle and Feyenoord and was most recently in charge of FC Cincinnati in the MLS.

David Healy

Healy, who played just one Premier League game for United, has brought considerable success to Linfield over the last five years, winning four NIFL Premiership titles, the Northern Ireland Football League Cup and two Irish Cups.

Laurent Blanc

One of the biggest success stories on this list, Blanc has won four Ligue 1 titles during his time at Bordeaux and Paris Saint-Germain.

He also took France to the quarter-finals of Euro 2012 but hasn’t coached since leaving the Parc des Princes in 2016 – although he was mentioned as a contender for Ralf Rangnick’s current interim role at Old Trafford.

Diego Forlan

Forlan was sacked by hometown club Penarol in September 2020 after winning just four of his 11 games in charge.

“I have no complaints, this is football,” he tweeted. Fair enough, Diego.

Gabriel Heinze

Despite transforming Velez Sarsfield’s fortunes over the last three years, Heinze chose not to continue past the end of the 2019-20 season.

He was appointed as Atlanta United manager in December 2020, and hoped to emulate the success of fellow Newell’s Old Boys alumnus Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino at the MLS outfit.

But Heinze was sacked last July after winning just twice in 13 games as boss.

Henrik Larsson

Larsson began his managerial career in his native Sweden, doing a good job to keep Falkenberg afloat and being rewarded with a move to former club Helsingborg in 2015.

He decided to leave the role in 2016 after disappointed fans attacked him and his son following their defeat in the Swedish relegation play-off

The 50-year-old returned to Helsingborg for a second spell in 2019 but quit after just two months due to verbal abuse from the team’s own fans.

Larsson then joined Ronald Koeman‘s coaching staff at Barcelona in August 2020, less than a year after he came close to being named manager of Southend United, but left the club after Koeman was sacked last October.

Wayne Rooney

Manchester United and England’s all-time top goalscorer has signed a two-and-a-half-year deal to become Derby County’s new head coach, having seen out the final year of his playing career at Pride Park.

The 35-year-old took over on an interim basis following the sacking of Phillip Cocu, with the Rams sitting rock bottom of the Championship. After keeping the club in the division, Rooney’s side were hit with a transfer embargo and a 21-point deduction for the 2021-22 season.

But England’s record goalscorer is making an admirable attempt at survival and his man-management skills have won plenty of admirers from across the football world.

He was linked with the Everton job last month, but turned down the chance of an interview at Goodison Park. Nevertheless, we expect Rooney to manage in the Premier League before too long.

More Manchester United

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The incredible story of Andrei Kanchelskis and his time in England