History is filled with head-scratching decisions. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the bizarre world of football.
While players make poor moves on a regular basis, they can quickly make up for these mistakes with a timely goal or a clutch tackle. Management isn’t so lucky. A terrible decision can set a club back years — and it may even lead to relegation or financial ruin.
Ready for a good chuckle or a major eye roll? Keep reading to learn about the strangest decisions made by supposedly talented club executives.
Frank de Boer Hired by Crystal Palace
On the job at Inter Milan for only 85 days, Frank de Boer had the club in last place in both Serie A and the UEFA Europa League when he was sacked. Curiously, Crystal Palace decided de Boer was the right man for the job.
He was gone less than three months later — after leading Crystal Palace to four losses in four games and without a single goal scored. These results were — quite frankly — very predictable given de Boer’s recent track record.
Steve Kean Appointed as Manager of Blackburn Rovers
Without any credentials to his name, Steve Kean was appointed the manager of Rovers in 2010. Unfortunately, it’s possible that Kean landed the job through dubious measures. Kean’s agent was an influential figure within the new ownership group, which almost certainly gave Kean a significant leg up over the competition. After two subpar seasons and a relegation, Kean was shown the door at Rovers.
Southampton Sign Ali Dia
In 1996, a man posing as football icon George Weah convinced Southampton manager Graeme Souness to sign his cousin. Souness took the bait and offered the man a contract despite having never seen him play in person.
Against all odds as well as good sense, the man found his way into a match and managed to stay on the pitch for more than fifty minutes. The man was quickly exposed as a fraud and released from his contract with the team.
Tottenham Sack Jose Mourinho before EFL Cup Final
Consecutive North London derby victories — as well as a brief stint atop the Premier League — gave Spurs and Jose Mourinho all the momentum heading into 2021.
After hitting a rough patch that saw the club knocked out of both the FA Cup and Europa League, Spurs ownership decided to show Mourinho the door after less than 18 months on the job. This lack of patience was only exasperated by the fact that he was sacked just days before Spurs were set to play Manchester City in the EFL Cup Final. Predictably, Spurs dropped the match 1-0.
Juventus and Barcelona Swapping Arthur Melo for Miralem Pjanic
After greatly exaggerating the value of their respective players, Barcelona and Juventus swapped Melo for Pjanic in a move that some journalists — and even the Prosecutor’s Office of the Italian Football Federation — suspect was illegal. Neither player made a splash with their new club, with Pjanic appearing in only 19 games for Barcelona, while Melo has quietly existed on the Juventus roster.
Not all football decisions make sense to passionate fans, but therein lies the fun of the game: you never know what to expect. Whether foolish, unethical, or simply bizarre, these twists and turns keep us watching.