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Arsene Wenger will end his 22-year relationship with Arsenal when he steps down as club manager at the end of the season.
The Frenchman made the dramatic decision to quit on Friday, April 20, with the club now scrambling to find a successor by the summer.
Wenger leaves Arsenal as the club’s longest-serving manager but he does not hold the record for the longest serving manager in the history of European football, according to a UEFA ranking.
The shortest tenure in this list is 19 years, while the longest is a massive 44 years. Several won dozens of trophies during their reigns, while others just managed to build up a credible team from nothing.
Some on the list even juggled day jobs when not working for their teams.
Keep scrolling to see which European teams have had the longest serving managers:
10. Vittorio Pozzo, Italy — 19 years
Years as manager: 1929-48
We begin with a manager who has lifted two World Cups, taking Italy all the way in 1934 and 1938. Considered a tactical pioneer, Pozzo was one of the first managers to instigate pre-match training camps for the players, saying “I want players I can trust so I can work with a group of men who are both physically and mentally strong.”
9. Valeriy Lobanovskiy, Dynamo Kyiv — 19 years
Years as manager: 1974-1982, 1984-1990, 1997-2002
Lobanovskiy coached teams as diverse as the Soviet Union, UAE, Kuwait and Ukraine, but he’s best known as the coach for Ukrainian Premier League club Dynamo Kyiv. He won 13 league titles with Dynamo and became known for his highly scientific and discliplined approach.
8. Juan Santisteban, Spain Youth — 20 years
Years as manager: 1988-2008
Santisteban played for the legendary Real Madrid of the 60s before taking on Spain’s national under-16 side. He won six European titles with the team – many of them with players who weren’t even born when he was appointed.
7. Arsene Wenger, Arsenal — 22 years
- Reuters / Alex Morton
Years as manager: 1996 – 2018
One of the giants of the Premier League era, Wenger led Arsenal to three Premiership titles and seven FA Cups. Wenger dramatically announced his decision to quit in 2018, terminating a 22-year relationship with the club. Former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry, the club’s all-time leading goalscorer, paid tribute to his old boss by claiming Wenger’s legacy is “untouchable.”
6. Francky Dury, Zultse VV/Zulte Waregem — 25 years
Years as manager: Zultse VV 1990-1993, 1994-2001, Zulte Waregem 2001-2010, 2012-
Dury managed Belgian side Zultse VV for all of the 90s before the team merged with KSV Waregem to become Zulte Waregem, which he continues to manage to this day. Dury didn’t leave his job as a policeman until Waregem made it to the last 32 in the 2006/07 UEFA cup, having just won the Belgian league.
=5. Alex Ferguson, Manchester United — 27 years
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Years as manager: 1986-2013
It’s hard to imagine another manager in English football having a run as successful as Alex Ferguson’s reign at Manchester United. He won an astonishing 13 Premier League titles with the club, as well as five FA Cups. Perhaps his crowning achievement was in 1999, when United won the Champions League, Premier League, and FA Cup to claim a hallowed treble.
=5. Ignacio Quereda, Spain Women — 27 years
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Years as manager: 1988-2015
Quereda enjoyed a nice run with the Spanish women’s team, taking them to the 1997 UEFA European semi-finals and the quarters in 2013. His best moment was probably beating Slovenia 17-0 in 1994, which is still the equal record margin of victory in any UEFA senior competition fixture.
4. Ronnie McFall, Portadown — 30 years
Years as manager: 1986-2016
McFall joined Northern Ireland’s Portadown, a team he used to play for, in the same year as Alex Ferguson joined Manchester United – which gives some idea at how long his reign lasted. He took the team to four Northern Ireland Football League Premiership titles before stepping down in 2016.
=3. Mickey Evans, Caersws — 34 years
- Sport Network
Years as manager: 1983-2007, 2009-
Evans was 36 when he became a player-manager for Welsh second division side Caersws. He’s still there at 70, having won three league cups and coached the team into a place in the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 2002. When he’s not managing football or scouting for players he continues his job as an oil worker.
=3. Bill Struth, Rangers — 34 years
Years as manager: 1920-1954
Bill Struth holds a special place in Rangers fans’ hearts after a brilliant tenure of 18 Scottish league titles. His greatest moment came in 1947, when the team won the Scottish treble of league title, Scottish Cup and League Cup. His portrait still hangs in the team’s trophy room.
2. Willie Maley, Celtic FC — 43 years
- CelticFC405 / YouTube
Years as manager: 1897-1940
Rangers rival Celtic also had an extremely long-serving manager, and under Maley the team won 16 league titles and 14 Scottish Cups. In fact Maley won 1,045 of his 1,614 Celtic games, and went against the wishes of the club’s owners by focusing on training youth rather than spending lots of money on established players.
1. Guy Roux, Auxerre — 44 years
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Years as manager: 1961-2005
The longest serving manager of a single football team is Guy Roux, with a remarkable 44 years under his belt. His association with French side Auxerre actually spans 53 years, having begun his career there as a player back in 1952. It’s safe to say Roux played the long game with Auxerre who were an amateur team when he became manager but reached the French Cup final in 1979, were promoted to Ligue 1 in 1980, and finally became champions in 1996.