Football’s player-managers: Dalglish, Kompany & the game’s most famous examples

Getty/Goal composite
As the former Manchester City captain gets to grips with the dual role at Anderlecht, Goal takes a look at some famous player-managers

The player-manager has become a rare phenomenon in football, but it was once a role that was very much in vogue.

Vincent Kompany's appointment as player-manager of Anderlecht in 2019 was evocative of the halycon days of the 1980s and 1990s when the player-manager could reign supreme.

There have been a number of notable, big-name examples over the years, with some ending up more successful than others.

Goal takes a look at some of the best known player-managers in football.

Kenny Dalglish - Liverpool

Kenny Dalglish is revered at Anfield for what he did for the club both on and off the pitch, applying a golden touch to Liverpool during a trophy-laden 14 years on Merseyside.

The Glasgow native took over as Liverpool boss in 1985, replacing Joe Fagan, and served as player-manager until 1990 when he finally hung up his boots.

Dalglish delivered three First Division titles, two FA Cups and a League Cup as player-manager of the Reds, including the club's first double in his first season at the helm.

He resigned as manager of Liverpool mid-way through the 1990-91 season, but returned to management soon after, in October 1991, joining Blackburn Rovers, where he won the Premier League in 1995.

Kenny Dalglish

Glenn Hoddle - Swindon Town & Chelsea

Widely considered one of England's greatest midfielders, Glenn Hoddle cut his teeth in management as player-manager of Swindon Town from 1991 until 1993.

He was appointed player-manager of Chelsea ahead of the 1993-94 campaign, guiding them to the final of the FA Cup that season only to lose heavily to Manchester United.

Hoddle could only steer the Blues to a 14th-place finish in the first season, with consecutive 11th-place finishes in the following two years.

While there was little joy in the league, Hoddle's team performed well in the cups, with star names such as Ruud Gullit and Mark Hughes signing during his tenure.

He left Stamford Bridge in 1996 in order to take up the role of England manager.

Ruud Gullit - Chelsea

Chelsea followed Hoddle with another player-manager as Ruud Gullit stepped up to take over, becoming the first Dutch manager in the history of the Premier League.

Gullit was 33 when he became Chelsea player-manager and got off to a flying start by winning the FA Cup in his first season, ending a 26-year trophy drought for the club in the process.

Despite continued improvement in his second season at the helm, Gullit was sacked by Chelsea, with then-Blues owner Ken Bates reportedly clashing with the Dutchman.

Ruud Gullit

Gianluca Vialli - Chelsea

Chelsea hired their third player-manager in a row following the sacking of Gullit, with Gianluca Vialli taking up the reins mid-way through the 1997-98 campaign.

Vialli, who had been signed by Gullit, built on the foundation laid by his predecessor and under his stewardship the club lifted five trophies.

The former Juventus and Italy star masterminded success in the FA Cup, the League Cup, the Cup Winners Cup, the Super Cup and the Charity Shield (now Community Shield).

As well as that, he also had the club consistently challenging at the top end of the table, finishing third in his first full campaign.

Vialli departed his post at the beginning of the 2000-01 season and was replaced by his compatriot Claudio Ranieri.

Gianluca Vialli Chelsea

Graeme Souness - Rangers

One of the most accomplished midfielders of his generation, Graeme Souness made his first foray into the world of management with Rangers in 1986 after signing from Sampdoria.

The former Liverpool star won three Scottish league titles and four Scottish League Cups before leaving the club in 1991 to replace Dalglish at Anfield.

Souness went on to manage a number of different clubs, including Galatasaray, Torino, Benfica, Southampton and Blackburn Rovers.

His last managerial job was at Newcastle United, where he worked from 2004 until 206.

Bryan Robson - Middlesbrough

Bryan Robson brought the curtain down on an illustrious 13-year stay at Manchester United in 1994 when he agreed to become Middlesbrough's player-manager.

The former England midfielder hit the ground running on Teesside, earning promotion to the Premier League in his first campaign as boss.

Robson signed players such as Fabrizio Ravanelli from Juventus and Brazilian playmaker Juninho, who sparked plenty of excitement around the club.

The 1996-97 season was a bitter experience for Robson as Boro suffered relegation and while they reached the finals of the FA Cup and League Cup, they lost both.

Bryan Robson Fabrizio Ravanelli Middlesbrough

Vincent Kompany - Anderlecht

Following his departure from Manchester City at the end of the 2018-19 season, Vincent Kompany returned to his boyhood club Anderlecht to become player-manager at the age of 33.

The former City captain secured the role after a six-hour (yes, six) meeting with the club's technical director Frank Arnesen.

"I was really amazed and when we went home after this meeting I fully agreed [with Kompany's vision]," Arnesen said.

The defender has not enjoyed the most impressive of starts with Anderlecht, though, and his role has been altered to reduce his coaching duties on matchdays.

Article continues below

Not everyone is convinced by Kompany's credentials either, with former Anderlecht striker Marc Degryse expressing doubts.

“Kompany is only human – but I feel he thinks he is God," Degryse told HLN

“Some people like to be busy, but they can become too preoccupied. Kompany should think about this. There are limits to everything."