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Longest manager tenures

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By Adam Smith

Last Updated: 30/05/17 4:39pm

Arsene Wenger is set to extend his long stay at Arsenal

Arsene Wenger is set to extend his long stay at Arsenal

Arsene Wenger is set to extend his long stay at Arsenal

As Arsene Wenger signs up for another two years at Arsenal, we reveal where his reign ranks among the longest managerial tenures.

After months of speculation the Frenchman – who has been at Arsenal since 1996 – agreed a new contract, which will be officially announced on Wednesday.

No active manager across Europe’s top five leagues comes close to matching his current 20 years and eight months in charge of one club. In fact, Wenger has the fifth-longest reign in our study.

We have scanned the tenures of managers across 252 clubs from England’s current top four tiers and the top two leagues in Spain, Germany, Italy and France since 1960. Here are the 50 longest serving managers, according to data…


The four front-runners

From managers appointed since 1960, Guy Roux holds the longest continuous managerial term in Europe, overseeing French club Auxerre for over 36 years between 1964 and 2000, having also managed the club for a period in 1961/62 and a third spell between 2001 and 2005.

Roux lifted the club from lower league origins to Ligue 1 champions in 1995/96 and managed the likes of Eric Cantona and Laurent Blanc.

Guy Roux (right) managed Auxerre in three spells

Guy Roux (right) managed Auxerre in three spells

Guy Roux (right) managed Auxerre in three spells

Sir Alex Ferguson’s 26 years as Manchester United boss is the second longest in recent history. The Scotsman stepped down in 2013 after winning 38 trophies, including 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups, four League Cups and two Champions League titles.

In third place is a possibly unfamiliar name – Michel Le Milinaire. He was in charge of French Ligue 2 side Stade Laval for 24 years between 1968 and 1992, taking them through the tiers to France’s top flight, while Dario Gradi coached Crewe Alexandra for more than 23 years until 2007.

The rest

In the list of 50 longest managerial tenures since 1960, only four managers remain with their respective club: Wenger (Arsenal), Paul Tisdale (Exeter), Frank Schmidt (FC Heidenheim), Torsten Lieberknecht (Eintracht Braunschweig).

Brian Clough’s spell at Nottingham Forest is the sixth-longest term – he masterminded two European Cup titles, four League Cups, the league title and a European Super Cup during his 18 years at the helm.

Other stand-out tenures include Alan Curbishley (14 years and 10 months at Charlton), David Pleat (14 years at Luton), Sir Bobby Robson (13 years and six months at Ipswich), Joe Royle (12 years at Oldham) and David Moyes (11 years at Everton).

Liverpool legend Bob Paisley ranks 45th with his nine-year spell as Reds boss between 1974 and 1983, winning six league titles, three European Cups, three League Cups, a UEFA Cup and UEFA Super Cup.

Notable managers who were appointed in England pre-1960 include Ted Bates (18 years at Southampton), Bill Nicholson (16 years at Tottenham) and Bill Shankly (15 years at Liverpool). A Sky Sports study of all-time manager tenures in England revealed West Brom’s Fred Everiss holds the record term after managing the Baggies for 46 years between 1902 and 1948.

*Only managers who oversaw campaigns in the leagues covered are included

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