Just days after leaving as head coach at Fujairah, Diego Maradona found himself with another job in a move that really came out from nowhere. On Tuesday night, the 1986 World Cup winner was officially unveiled to the media in Abu Dhabi as his new role as the club chairman of Dynamo Brest. Yes, you might be scratching your heads where that is but it’s a side that compete in the top-flight of the Belarusian league.
As strange as it may seem, Maradona isn’t the only one to have taken the decision that left the sporting world baffled by their move.
Here, we look at five bizarre appointments in sport.
SVEN GORAN ERIKSSON TO NOTTS COUNTY
With spells in the top-flight in Italy and the England and Mexico national teams, Sven Goran Eriksson ended up in lower league with Notts County in July 2009. The Swede had been attracted by the club consortium’s ambitions to take the world’s oldest club to the Premier League. Sol Campbell and Kasper Schmieichal arrived but large debts and unpaid tax bills meant Eriksson’s stay lasted just seven months.
EDGAR DAVIDS TO BARNET
Barnet bosses wanted someone local and with plenty of experience to take charge and Edgar Davids was that man. After spells with Crystal Palace and Tottenham, the Dutchman continued to live in north London and although he had plenty of European experience under his belt, even that could not stop him saving the Bees from relegation on goal difference. Handed himself the ‘No.1 shirt’ before resigning in January 2014.
GARY NEVILLE TO VALENCIA
The football pundit swapped the television studios for the Mestalla in December 2015 in a move that stunned English and Spanish football. Neville’s only coaching experience came with England as an assistant but answered Peter Lim’s SOS call to step in the hot seat of the La Liga side. With a language barrier, his lack of coaching experienced showed as Los Che won 10 of 28 matches before being given the boot in March 2016.
CLIVE WOODWARD TO SOUTHAMPTON
When the name Clive Woodward springs to mind, you would think a 2003 World Cup-winning coach. Not the performance director of Southampton Football Club. That exactly what happened in 2005 when the ex-England rugby coach arrived at the south coast. Manager Harry Redknapp wasn’t happy and while he left, Woodward went on to become the club’s director of football before being shown the door eight months’ later.
CARLOS TEVEZ AND JAVIER MASCHERANO TO WEST HAM
In one of the Premier League’s most sensational deadline day transfers, Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez made the move from Corinthians to West Ham that left all fans scratching their hands on how it came about. Nobody was sure what the fee was at the time or whether Jia Joorabchian or Corinthians held their registration at the time. Carlos Tevez went on to save the Hammers before moving to Manchester United that summer.
Diego Maradona has vowed to build a “competitive” team after the Argentina legend was unveiled as Dynamo Brest’s new chairman on Tuesday night.
The 57-year-old was appointed by the Belarusian outfit on a three-year deal, just days after leaving his position as Fujairah coach following their failure to secure automatic promotion to the Arabian Gulf League.
His immediate task is to build on Dynamo Brest’s success following their Belarusian Cup triumph at the weekend.
Speaking at his unveiling press conference at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi late on Tuesday, the World Cup 1986 winner said he is looking forward to a new challenge in Europe.
“I have signed a contract and I’m very honoured,” Maradona said. “I have lived beautiful times in Dubai and moving to Belarus is looking for new horizons and work.
“And I will do it with the same passion I did here in the UAE.
“In my heart there is a ball beating. I can be the chairman of Dynamo Brest and of course this is a new challenge for me.
“From player to coach and from coach to chairman, it’s not something that can be taught in a meeting.
“Of course we will have meetings with the club and we’ll do our best with Dynamo Brest. I want a very competitive team.”
Speaking on the club’s chances of making an impact in Europe, where they will enter the Europa League second qualifying round in July, he said: “I would say it, but I am not a wizard. I am a man who wants to work in football, that wants to be a chairman for the first time at Dynamo Brest.
“I want the team evolve with the club. And to say that we will work very hard to achieve this.
“There is no other way than the hard work.”
It appears inevitable that Patrick Vieira will be a manager in Europe and according to Manchester City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak, the current head coach of New York City has the credentials to succeed on the touchline.
Vieira’s name has been thrown around recently in relation to manager vacancies, with the 41-year-old building his coaching resume across the Atlanta Ocean in the MLS.
While Arsenal chose not to appoint Vieira – who had great success with the Gunners as a player from 1996 to 2005 – and have instead gone with Unai Emery, the 41-year-old remains a candidate for the job in Nice.
Wherever Vieira goes, Al Mubarak is confident the former Manchester City star will thrive at the helm of a club.
“I really have a strong belief that Patrick is going to be a great manager,” Al Mubarak said.
Prior to his tenure with New York City, Vieira began his managerial career with the Manchester City Elite Development Squad in 2013. He led the group of talented youngsters to a Premier League International Cup in 2015 before heading to the United States to take the next step as a coach.
As Vieira has progressed through City Football Group, Al Mubarak has watched him develop.
“I’m very proud of Patrick. I remember the days when he played for us at Manchester City. I respected him as a player very much. We’ve had a great friendship since then,” Al Mubarak said.
“He started coaching at the academy at Manchester, he started coaching our under-19s and really, really developed and evolved. We as an organisation stood by him and supported him. When he was ready to take on the next challenge, New York presented itself, he stepped in and he’s again started his journey into first-team coaching.”
Al Mubarak also feels the Premier League have more work to do in growing the women’s game.
According to the Emirati, the growth of the women’s game should be assessed on three parameters: the football side, the demand from fans and sponsorship.
As far as the fans, Al Mubarak pointed to the 3,000 people that showed up to Academy Stadium to watch the Manchester City Women take on Lyon in the semi-final of the Champions League as proof of there being an appetite for the women’s game.
Now, clubs in the Premier League need to do their part.
“I believe ultimately there is a responsibility that all of us in the Premier League should have jointly in respecting the women’s game, supporting the women’s game and making that competition more competitive,” Al Mubarak said.