The Oldest Premier League Managers: Experience in the Dugout
Who is the oldest Premier League manager of all time? We look back across the history of the competition to give you a run down of the top 10 oldest to take charge of a match.
Roy Hodgson (74y, 286d)
Watford vs. Chelsea (May 22, 2022)
At the end of 2020-21, Roy Hodgson ended his 45-year managerial career as Crystal Palace manager with their Premier League trip to former club Liverpool at Anfield. That was until January 2022, when the former England manager decided to have one last crack at the big time when taking over at Watford.
Hodgson hadn’t ever suffered relegation from the Premier League before this managerial spell, and when taking over there was a good chance that he could continue that run – Watford were just two points from safety with two games in hand on 17th-placed Norwich City. It didn’t work out well for the veteran, however.
Hodgson helped Watford win just nine points in 18 games as manager, with his 0.50 points per game at the club by far the lowest he’d ever achieved at a Premier League side. This average was even lower than his predecessor Claudio Ranieri – the fifth oldest Premier League manager – who averaged 0.54 points-per-game at the Hornets.
Overall, Hodgson managed 382 matches in the Premier League and won 125 of them (32.7%) across spells at Blackburn, Fulham, West Brom, Liverpool, Palace and Watford, with his best spell coming at the Baggies, where he averaged 1.34 points per game between February 2011 and May 2012.
Hodgson has now retired again following the end of 2021-22, and considering how it went at Watford this season, it’s unlikely he’ll make yet another return.
Bobby Robson (71y, 192d)
Newcastle United vs. Aston Villa (August 28, 2004)
The much-admired Bobby Robson was 71 years, 192 days old on his final Premier League game as a manager, with Newcastle’s 0-0 draw at Aston Villa his last. This was only the Magpies’ second Premier League game of the 2004-05 campaign, but club chairman Freddy Shepherd decided that it was time for a change in management at Newcastle, albeit with strange reasoning.
This wasn’t Robson’s only stint as a top-flight manager in England, but it was his only spell as a Premier League manager. He secured 83 wins and a points-per-game average of 1.60 across his 188 games in the competition.
Robson had previously spent over 13 years as boss of Ipswich Town between 1969-1982, winning the UEFA Cup there in 1981. He also managed in Portugal, Spain and the Netherlands, winning a major trophy in each country and picking up league titles with Porto and PSV Eindhoven.
His job at Newcastle United was his final managerial role in football, with him managing his first game at 66 years and 205 days old – that would have put him 11th in this list as it was, and just 11 days shy of the age that Sam Allardyce was when he managed his final game in 2021.
Former Barcelona boss Robson might not have won a trophy at the Magpies, but he’ll be forever remembered as one of the best English club managers of all-time, as well as one of the most respected England coaches following the Three Lions’ 1990 World Cup performance. He died in July 2009 aged 76, less than five years after his last game as a manager.
Alex Ferguson (71y, 139d)
Manchester United vs. West Bromwich Albion (May 19, 2013)
There’s only been one 5-5 draw in the entire history of the Premier League, but it came in Sir Alex Ferguson’s final game as a manager. The Scotsman took charge of Manchester United for the 1,500th and final time at the Hawthorns in this Premier League meeting with West Brom, aged 71 years and 139 days old.
Ferguson won 13 top-flight English league titles as a manager during his 27 years at Manchester United – more than twice as many as any other manager in the history of the league and seven more than his closest rivals. One of these 13 arrived in this final season (2012-13), with United having won the title nearly a month before this meeting with WBA. In the eight seasons since Ferguson’s retirement, the Red Devils haven’t won a single Premier League title under David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho or Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Obviously – with Robson and Hodgson never having done so – Fergie is the oldest manager to win a Premier League title. If Pep Guardiola was to break this record, he’d need to be managing in the competition in 2042-44 while Jürgen Klopp could do it in 2038-39. Either that, or Claudio Ranieri could shock the world again and win the league with Watford next season to break it.
Ferguson has won the most games (528) and most points (1,752) as a Premier League manager, with only Arsenal’s Arsène Wenger (828) having managed more games in the competition than the former Man Utd boss (810).
Neil Warnock (70y, 162d)
Cardiff City vs. Manchester United (May 12, 2019)
Neil Warnock is the oldest in this list to still be managing in professional football, with the now 72-year-old still going strong in the Championship with Middlesbrough. With him turning 73 in December, should Boro be promoted and if he was still in charge in 2022-23, he’d have every chance of breaking Hodgson’s record. He holds the record for the most promotions in English professional football, with eight under his belt – so never rule it out.
Warnock’s last game as a top-flight coach came in May 2019 with a shock 2-0 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford, despite his Cardiff City side already having been relegated to the Championship.
Cardiff’s victory in this match came courtesy of a Nathaniel Mendez-Laing brace and was their first victory over Manchester United since April 3, 1954, when Warnock was just five years old.
Claudio Ranieri (70y, 93d)
Watford vs. Norwich City (January 21, 2022)
Claudio Ranieri became only the fifth man aged 70-plus to manage a team in a Premier League game when he took charge of Watford at Everton on October 23, 2021, celebrating the occasion with a brilliant 5-2 victory against the Toffees at Goodison Park.
However, his spell at Watford didn’t last long – 112 days to be exact. Ranieri was sacked for poor performance after just 13 matches and two wins. At the time of his sacking, he was the oldest manager in the Premier League (70) and he was also the oldest to manage in Serie A last season (69) by nearly six years. Overall, he’s taken charge of over 850 top-flight games across the Premier League, Ligue 1, Serie A and La Liga with 227 of these games coming in the Premier League across his career at Chelsea, Fulham, Leicester City and the Hornets – famously winning the Premier League title against all the odds with Leicester in 2015-16.
Ranieri could have moved up to fourth in this ranking, and overtaken Neil Warnock in the process, had he still been in the charge of Watford at the end of March this season. But as we all know, that was very unlikely to happen at the Hornets, where nobody seems safe from the dreaded sacking.
Guus Hiddink was nudged out of fifth place earlier in 2021-22 by Ranieri, with the Dutch boss now in sixth place in the oldest Premier League manager ranking at 69 years, 189 days old when he took charge of Chelsea versus Leicester City in May 2016 at Stamford Bridge. This was his final match in the competition, before relinquishing his short-term position as boss of the Blues to Antonio Conte.
Arsène Wenger may top the Premier League ranking for games managed (828), but he’s only the seventh oldest to manage a match in the competition. His final game saw him lead his Arsenal side to a 1-0 away win at Huddersfield Town in May 2018 at the age of 68 years, 203 days old. Wenger has famously won the FA Cup more often than any other manager (7) but couldn’t end his managerial reign at the Gunners with an eighth in 2017-18.
The eighth-oldest boss in Premier League history was Dick Advocaat, who was 68 years and six days old when he took charge of Sunderland versus West Ham in October 2015. He quit the club just a day after this game, with Sunderland winless in eight top-flight matches in 2015-16.
Harry Redknapp was 67 years, 335 days old in his final match as a Premier League manager, with his QPR side losing 3-1 to Stoke City in January 2015. He resigned just days later with the Hoops in the relegation zone, where they eventually finished before dropping to the Championship. Redknapp took charge of 641 games in the Premier League, with the majority of these coming at West Ham United (269), but his most successful spell came at Tottenham Hotspur, with Spurs averaging 1.74 points per game under him.
The 10th oldest Premier League manager was Sam Allardyce. At the age of 66 years and 216 days old, Allardyce took charge of West Brom in their 3-1 defeat to Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United. This was his first top-flight relegation as a manager and he’s not taken a job since.
Enjoy this? Check out the top 10 youngest managers in Premier League history, here.