Football Mystery: Will Alan Curbishley ever work again?
Hunting around the betting sites looking for the bookies’ choices to be the new Manchester United manager this week, we were reminded that perennial vacant job dark horse Alan Curbishley is still out of work and featuring surprisingly high in some lists of contenders to replace Sir Alex Ferguson.
Despite the fairly generous odds on offer – though not as generous as you might expect – we doubt even Curbs would have had a punt on that.
Which begs the question: will Alan Curbishley ever work again?
He was essentially the David Moyes of his day, taking Charlton to several overachieving Premier League finishes ahead of teams with much bigger budgets during a 15-year managerial stint at the club. Like Moyes, he left on amicable terms after choosing not to sign a new contract.
He departed at the end of the 2005-06 season having decided he had taken the Addicks as far as he could.
Curbs was back in work with West Ham in December 2006. Despite the Hammers being in dire straights at that point, he steered them away from what had looked like the certainty of relegation.
The following season he had won two of the club’s first three games of the season before quitting over the decision to sell players without his permission.
He pocketed £2.2 million in compensation from West Ham for constructive dismissal because a clause in his contract said he had the final say over transfers.
Since then, nothing.
At the height of his Charlton success in 2004, he was a front-runner for the Liverpool job. And in 2006 he was interviewed for the England job before losing out to Steve McClaren.
He’s still only aged 55, but has been out of work for four-and-a-half years now. We doubt he’s spent all his compensation money yet, but you’d imagine he’d want another job and you’d think there would be a team on the lookout for a manager with his track record.
So, will he ever work again?