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In association football, a caretaker manager is someone who takes temporary charge of the management of a football club, usually when the regular manager is dismissed or leaves for a different club. However, a caretaker may also be appointed if the regular manager is ill or unable to attend to his usual duties. Caretaker managers are normally appointed at short notice from within the club, usually the assistant manager, a senior coach, or an experienced player.

Famous examples include long-standing Arsenal F.C. assistant manager Stewart Houston, who stepped in after George Graham was abruptly sacked in the middle of the 1994-95 season and guided the club to the 1995 European Cup Winners' Cup final. Tony Barton was appointed manager of Aston Villa after the departure of Ron Saunders and led the club to win the 1982 European Cup after only 3 months in charge. Director Trevor Brooking was appointed as caretaker manager of West Ham United F.C. following Glenn Roeder's illness at the end of the 2002-03 season, then again following his dismissal early in the 2003-04 season.

If a caretaker proves to be particularly successful during their spell in charge, they are sometimes given the manager's job full-time. Glenn Roeder was appointed full-time manager of Newcastle United F.C. after having taken over as caretaker following Graeme Souness's dismissal in 2006. This also occurred when Ricky Sbragia got the Sunderland job permanently after Roy Keane's resignation in November 2008 but he resigned himself at the end of the season 2008-09. In Norway, a notable example occurred in 2006 when Rosenborg BK manager Per-Mathias Høgmo announced he was taking a leave of absence in mid-season, citing health concerns. At the time, Rosenborg were 10 points behind leaders S.K. Brann. His assistant Knut Tørum was appointed on an interim basis, and proceeded to lead Rosenborg to a furious comeback, clinching the league title with one match to spare. Høgmo announced his resignation two days after Rosenborg clinched, and Tørum was named permanent manager after the season.

On the other hand, Tony Parkes was named caretaker manager of Blackburn Rovers on six separate occasions between 1986 and 2004, without ever being given the role in a full-time capacity. He is still yet to be given a full-time managerial role.

In November 2007, Sandy Stewart led St. Johnstone F.C. to victory in the final of the Scottish Challenge Cup in his only game in charge as caretaker manager.[1]




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