Who is the longest serving manager in English football? Longest reigns - from Jurgen Klopp to Pep Guardiola

Simon Weaver of Harrogate Town is currently the longest serving manager in the English Football League

One of football’s longest serving managers Gareth Ainsworth left his post at Wycombe Wanderers to join Championship strugglers QPR.

Ainsworth spent a total of 10 years, four months and 26 days in the dugout as Wycombe boss. In that time he guided the Chairboys from the brink of League 2 relegation to the unprecedented heights of the Championship.

The peak of his triumphs was the 2020 League One play-off final victory over Oxford United which saw the Buckinghamshire side reach the second-tier of English football for the first time in their history.

Ainsworth was the second longest serving manager in England’s top four divisions before his departure to west London - and one of only two active managers to have remained in the same role for more than a decade.

But who is the longest serving manager in English football and what is the all-time record? Here is everything you need to know.

Who is the longest serving manager in English football?

  • Simon Weaver - Harrogate Town (13 years, 281 days)

Simon Weaver is the longest serving manager in English football by five years and he has had a total of almost 14 years of experience in the dugout at Wetherby Road.

The former Doncaster Rovers and Sheffield Wednesday defender arrived as player-manager at Harrogate on 21 May 2009 during the swansong years of his playing career.

Weaver has worked closely with his father Irving, who became chairman of the Sulphurites in 2011 and the pair have successfully steered the North Yorkshire side to unprecedented heights.

Weaver led Harrogate up to promotion from the National League North in 2018 and two years later they reached the Football League for the first time in their history.

Harrogate have since established themselves in League 2 and they are bidding to survive in the Football League for a third consecutive season.

  • John Coleman - Accrington Stanley (8 years, 161 days)

John Coleman first arrived at eighth-tier Accrington Stanley in May 1999 and he has taken charge of over 1,000 games in those 24 years, achieving four promotions in the process.

Coleman left Accrington mid-way through the 2011/12 season and had a two-year spell away from the club - managing Rochdale, Southport and Sligo Rovers.

Coleman returned to Accrington in 2014 and continued to thrive in the role. In 2017/18 he guided the Owd Reds to the League 2 title and helped Accrington reach the third tier for the first time in their history.

  • Jurgen Klopp - Liverpool (7 years, 142 days)  

Jurgen Klopp is currently the longest serving manager in the Premier League and he has enjoyed great success at Anfield.

The 55-year-old is widely regarded by many football experts as one of the best managers in world football. During his time with the Red’s, Klopp has lifted the Champions League, League Cup, FA Cup and the UEFA Super Cup.

The German manager also ended the club’s 30-year-wait for a Premier League title by winning the league in 2019/20.

  • Pep Guardiola - Manchester City (6 years, 241 days)

Pep Guardiola arrived at Manchester City on 1 July 2016 and he has taken The Citizens to new heights during his time as manager.

Guardiola guided Man City to his first league title in 2017/18 and became the first manager to attain 100 league points in a top-flight season.

In total Guardiola has lifted 11 honours during his time at Man City including four Premier League titles, one FA Cup, four League Cups and two community shields.

The Spainard holds the all-time record for consecutive league victories in La Liga, the Bundesliga and the Premier League.

  • Mark Robins - Coventry City (5 years, 358 days)

Mark Robins returned to Coventry for a second spell in March 2017 with the Sky Blues facing huge financial difficulties and a potential relegation to the fourth tier.

Robins was unable to rescue Coventry from relegation but he remarkably lifted the EFL trophy against Oxford United that same season.

The 53-year-old won two promotions in the next three seasons with Coventry and he has since established the club in the second-tier of English football.

The top 10 longest serving managers in English football. (Graphic by Kim Mogg)The top 10 longest serving managers in English football. (Graphic by Kim Mogg)
The top 10 longest serving managers in English football. (Graphic by Kim Mogg)

Longest managerial reign in English football

The longest managerial reign in English football history belongs to Englishman Fred Everiss who was manager of West Brom Albion for a staggering 45-years and 9 months.

Everiss was best remembered for winning the 1919/20 First Division title and the 1931 FA Cup.

Alex Ferguson holds the record for the longest serving manager in English football in the post-war period with 26 years, 6 months and 13 days.

The Scotsman arrived at Man United from Aberdeen on 6 November 1986, replacing Ron Atkinson in the dugout.

Ferguson was a four-time SPL champion during his time at Aberdeen but he initially struggled to win over the crowd at Old Trafford after a slow start.

Ferguson lifted the FA Cup in 1990 and it became the springboard for further success at Old Trafford.

Over the course of his stay at Man United, Ferguson lifted 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups, four League Cups and two Champions League titles.