Neville, Parker set low Champions League bar for Howe; Newcastle hero ahead of Liverpool saviour

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard, Newcastle coach Sir Bobby Robson and Gary Neville of Valencia Credit: Alamy
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard, Newcastle coach Sir Bobby Robson and Gary Neville of Valencia Credit: Alamy

Eddie Howe has an obvious Newcastle example to follow but it might be an idea to make sure he clears that low bar set by Gary Neville and Scott Parker first.

Howe will become the 12th English manager to take charge of a Champions League game proper when Newcastle take on Milan. Here is how the others fared.


Graham Potter
P7 W5 D1 L1 (71.4% win rate)

Biggest win: 3-0 v AC Milan

Biggest defeat: 1-0 v Borussia Dortmund

Furthest stage reached: Quarter-final

There was some mild media-manufactured surprise when Potter revealed, on the eve of his first game as Chelsea manager, which just so happened to represent his Champions League bow, that he had never even attended a match in the competition as a spectator.

The former Brighton coach nevertheless took to the competition admirably but domestic struggles meant he was unable to finish what he had started. Potter guided Chelsea to the top of a kind enough group before navigating a way past Dortmund after a first-leg defeat, but the Blues sacked him about a week before they started their quarter-final in earnest against holders Real Madrid.

Ex-Chelsea head coach Graham Potter looks dejected during a match. Credit: Alamy
Ex-Chelsea head coach Graham Potter looks dejected during a match. Credit: Alamy

Ex-Chelsea head coach Graham Potter looks dejected during a match.


Gordon Milne
P2 W1 D0 L1 (50% win rate)

Biggest win: 2-1 v Goteborg

Biggest defeat: 2-0 v Goteborg

Furthest stage reached: First round

A Besiktas legend though Milne undoubtedly is, the former Liverpool player could not take them past Swedish champions Goteborg in the first season of the revamped Champions League. There was some Turkish delight with a home win in the second leg but it was ultimately not to be.


Frank Lampard
P16 W7 D4 L5 (44% win rate)

Biggest win: 4-0 v Krasnodar and 4-0 v Sevilla

Biggest defeat: 3-0 v Bayern Munich

Furthest stage reached: Quarter-final

“Those things are in the past for me but I’m excited fighting in that competition again,” said Lampard upon his appointment as Chelsea caretaker in April, more than two years after the club sacked him. Thomas Tuchel went on to guide the Blues to barely fathomable Champions League glory then; Lampard oversaw a 4-0 aggregate schooling by Real.

Lampard held his own on the continent, qualifying from groups in successive seasons with little actual jeopardy. But when it came to the knockout stages he was proven to be utterly out of his depth by Bayern Munich and Los Blancos. It seems unlikely right now that he will get a third bite of that particular cherry.


Harry Redknapp
P10 W4 D3 L3 (40% win rate)

Biggest win: 4-1 v FC Twente

Biggest defeat: 4-0 v Real Madrid

Furthest stage reached: Quarter-final

Only Redknapp could turn his Champions League record into a formation. He had but one dalliance at Europe’s top table but what a tilt it was, from Gareth Bale versus Maicon to Peter Crouch in the San Siro and finally Real ending that dream in the Bernabeu.


Howard Wilkinson
P5 W2 D0 L3 (40% win rate)

Biggest win: 3-0 v Stuttgart

Biggest defeat: 3-0 v Stuttgart

Furthest stage reached: Second round

In the inaugural Champions League season it was Leeds who flew the flag for England, albeit more briefly than they would have hoped. After edging past Stuttgart thanks to a play-off after each side won their home legs 3-0, Leeds were drawn against Rangers but lost at Ibrox and Elland Road.

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Craig Shakespeare
P3 W1 D1 L1 (33% win rate)

Biggest win: 2-0 v Sevilla

Biggest defeat: 1-0 v Atletico Madrid

Furthest stage reached: Quarter-final

Another benefiting from the work of his predecessor, Shakespeare stepped into the void Claudio Ranieri left at Leicester when the Foxes sacked him the day after a 2-1 Champions League last-16 loss to Sevilla in February 2017.

Wes Morgan and Marc Albrighton helped turn things around against the Spaniards in the return leg to set up a meeting with Atletico Madrid in the final eight. Leicester lost the first game to a penalty and never did manage to claw back that momentum, perhaps distracted by the sheer level of cojone-based antagonism in a stadium simultaneously containing Jamie Vardy and Diego Simeone.


Sir Bobby Robson
P26 W8 D7 L11 (30.8% win rate)

Biggest win: 3-0 v HJK Helsinki and Bayer Leverkusen (twice)

Biggest defeat: 4-1 v Inter

Furthest stage reached: Semi-final

The only English manager to lead more than one club into Champions League battle, Robson instead steered three with largely mixed results.

He hopped aboard the Porto bandwagon late, replacing Tomislav Ivic about eight weeks after being fired by bitter rivals Sporting, and in time for the Portuguese club’s penultimate group game of the 1993/94 season. Porto drew that 0-0 against Milan, confirming the runners-up spot in Group B and booking a semi-final date with Barcelona, who promptly slapped them 3-0.

Robson would technically never go any further than the group stages again. He was back a couple of seasons later with Porto to no avail. An ill-fated season-long return to the PSV hotseat included finishing a distant third to Kaiserslautern. And then the fun ensued as Robson steered Newcastle, in only their second-ever Champions League campaign, through the first group phase before a valiant elimination in the second.

The Magpies became the first club – and until Atalanta almost two decades later the only one – to advance from a group despite losing their first three games. Defeats to Dynamo Kyiv, Juventus and Feyenoord were all avenged by Andy Griffin, Gary Speed, Alan Shearer, Hugo Viana and, in the most dramatic of circumstances, Craig Bellamy.

Drawn in a second group containing Barcelona, Inter and the previous season’s runners-up Bayer Leverkusen, Newcastle were given little chance. And losing their first couple of games might have induced some difficult flashbacks. But Shola Ameobi engineered one special night in Germany, while Shearer bagged a hat-trick at home to Leverkusen and sparked some San Siro delirium in a pulsating draw.

Newcastle striker Craig Bellamy celebrates scoring against Feyenoord Credit: Alamy
Newcastle striker Craig Bellamy celebrates scoring against Feyenoord Credit: Alamy

Craig Bellamy celebrates scoring against Feyenoord


Phil Thompson
P8 W2 D5 L1 (25% win rate)

Biggest win: 2-0 v Borussia Dortmund

Biggest defeat: 3-1 v Barcelona

Furthest stage reached: Second group stage

When Gerard Houllier was taken ill during the 2001/02 season, Liverpool were placed under the watch of the assistant with the middle name Bernard. It was Phil Thompson who stepped up during a five-month interim reign in which the Reds fared really quite well.

It was their first Champions League season, a return to the European Cup stage after 17 years away following their 1985 defeat to Juventus, subsequent ban for Heysel and relative fall from grace. And in difficult circumstances, Thompson fared well.

Liverpool were already well-placed in a group containing Dynamo Kyiv, Boavista and Dortmund but they secured top spot and went into the second phase against Barcelona, Roma and Galatasaray unbeaten. Patrick Kluivert and friends immediately saw to that at Anfield.

A 3-1 defeat to Barca was an unideal start but Thompson steadied the ship with four consecutive draws, providing the platform for Houllier’s triumphant return to the dugout for the final game: a 2-0 win over Roma at Anfield which qualified Liverpool for the quarter-finals.


Ray Harford
P6 W1 D1 L4 (16.6% win rate)

Biggest win: 4-1 v Rosenborg

Biggest defeat: 3-0 v Spartak Moscow

Furthest stage reached: Group stage

Worried about Ray? Don’t be. Blackburn followed Premier League glory with a forgettable campaign of regression which featured a fairly miserable shot at the Champions League until the very end. Rovers failed to score in their first five games, losing four and mustering only a draw against Legia Warsaw at home. Then they created a small piece of history with Mike Newell’s nine-minute hat-trick in a win over Rosenborg – the quickest treble in competition history until Bafetimbi Gomis 16 years later.


Scott Parker
P2 W0 D0 L2 (0% win rate)

Biggest win: N/A

Biggest defeat: 5-1 v Benfica

Furthest stage reached: Last 16

A truly bizarre appointment of Parker was predictably disastrous for Club Brugge, who saw his Bournemouth demise unfold and culminate in a 9-0 thrashing four months before they made the call to bring him in.

Parker won two of his 12 games in charge, but was on the receiving end of some harsh Champions League lessons taught by Benfica. The Belgians were battered and Brugged yet did manage to score one goal in the tie. Shame it came after Benfica knocked in seven home and away.

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Gary Neville
P1 W0 D0 L1 (0% win rate)

Biggest win: N/A

Biggest defeat: 2-0 v Lyon

Furthest stage reached: Group stage

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