Alex and Darren Ferguson
Alex Ferguson was still in the early years of his Manchester United tenure when he handed a debut to his 18-year-old son Darren. A central midfielder with a strong tackle, Darren Ferguson appeared in the opening 15 games of the inaugural Premier League season, standing in for the injured Brian Robson.
Ferguson junior managed to represent United enough times to earn himself a title medal but his appearances in the first team soon dwindled and his dad agreed to sell him to Wolves in 1994 for £250,000.
Sir Alex went on to achieve great success with the Red Devils, including two Champions League titles and 12 Premier League championships, whilst Darren became a manager himself, taking control of Peterborough United in 2007.
John and Kevin Bond
After a successful playing career, spent largely at West Ham, John Bond moved into management with Fourth Division Bournemouth in 1970. During his impressive spell with the south coast club, Bond senior signed his 15-year-old son Kevin, placing him in the youth side.
When John left Bournemouth in 1973 his son Kevin had yet to make a first team appearance for The Cherries, however that didn’t stop him from making his son one of his first signings at new side Norwich City. The two both enjoyed successful seven-year spells at Carrow Road, John guided the Canaries to a League Cup final and promotion to the First Division, whilst Kevin collected the Player of the Year award in 1980.
After managing to consolidate Norwich’s place in the First Division, John Bond was appointed Manchester City manager in 1980 and Kevin left to play in America.
It didn’t too take long for the formidable duo to link up again, and Kevin joined his father at City in 1981. The Bonds enjoyed another two years together at Maine Road before they finally went their separate ways with John resigning in 1983 and Kevin securing a big-money transfer to Southampton a year later.
John’s managerial career continued for another 25 years with spells at Burnley, Swansea and Birmingham amongst others whilst Kevin played for returned to Bournemouth in 1998 and followed in his fathers footsteps by taking charge of The Cherries in 2006.
Zlatko and Niko Kranjcar
Premier League fans will be well acquainted with former Portsmouth and Tottenham midfielder Niko Kranjcar, but may not know that he owes much of his success to his father, Zlatko.
As a 16-year-old Niko was given his Dinamo Zagreb debut by his father, who himself had played for both Zagreb and the Croatian national side, and at 17, he was made his club’s youngest ever captain. Nico played under his father for three years at Dinamo, winning the Croatian title in 2002, but after Zlatko’s departure in 2004, he struggled with the new management and joined their archrivals Hadjuk Split.
It wasn’t long until the father-son duo linked up again, this time on the international stage. Zlatko was hired as Croatia manager in July 2004, unsurprisingly Niko made his international bow the very next month. The two were both involved in 2006 as Croatia participated in the World Cup, but after a disappointing performance, Zlatko failed to earn a contract renewal.
Kranjcar junior is currently plying his trade for Championship side QPR, his father is managing Iranian side Sepahan.
Harry and Jamie Redknapp
Another famous footballer given his professional debut by his father is former England and Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp. Father Harry was managing lower league Bournemouth when Jamie decided to turn down a lucrative offer from Spurs and join the south-coast club at just 16.
Jamie turned out four times under father Harry for Bournemouth during their 1989-90 Second Division season, with The Cherries suffering relegation. He featured another 9 times the following season before Liverpool swooped for him in a deal worth £250,000.
It took 14 years for the two to finally link up again, this time at Premier League club Southampton. The duo again suffered relegation together, again finishing the season two points adrift of safety.
After the relegation Jamie hung-up his boots, Harry remained as Southampton boss for the next season but eventually left arch-rivals Portsmouth in 2005. He is currently in charge of Championship outfit QPR.
Steve and Alex Bruce
One active father-son duo are the Bruces. Although Steve famously never won an international cap, his son has represented his adoptive country Ireland twice, and owes much of his success to the opportunities given to him by his father.
After leaving Manchester United as a 16-year-old, Alex was given the chance to join Blackburn Rovers in 2001, signing his first professional contract at the club three years later. Having failed to make the grade at Ewood Park, Steve Bruce, who was Birmingham City manager at the time, signed his son on a free transfer.
Having enjoyed a number of successful loan spells away from Birmingham, Alex was given his chance in the first team as The Blues battled for their Premier League survival. Bruce junior failed to impress at the highest level and his inclusion had many fans questioning the reason for Alex’s selection, putting pressure on both Alex and dad Steve.
Birmingham were relegated at the end of the 2006 season and the accusations of nepotism directed at Steve Bruce resulted in Alex joining Ipswich Town. Six years later and the two have linked up again at Premiership side Hull City and with Alex having proven himself at both Ipswich and Leeds, it is unlikely similar accusations will be targeted at the Tiger’s boss.
Bob and Michael Bradley
Another pairing who have worked together at both club and international level are Americans Michael and Bob Bradley. An all too familiar tale of father giving son his big break came in 2004 when Bob, then MetroStars manager, drafted his son as the 36th overall pick.
Although injury ruled him out of his first MLS season, Michael returned for the 2005 campaign and performed well enough under his father to earn a big money move to Europe.
After being dismissed by MetroStars, Bob took over as the national team manager in 2006, a few months after his son had earned his international debut. Michael enjoyed star billing under his father for the US, becoming an integral part of their successful 2010 World Cup qualification campaign. Bob left national team in 2011 after five years, Michael currently plays for Canadian side Toronto.
Johan and Jordi Cruyff
Having to follow in the footsteps of a true great is probably why Jordi Cruyff had the hardest task of any footballer in this list. Fortunately for Jordi, he was given as good a chance as possible to repeat his father’s success after being placed into the famous Ajax academy whilst his father was first player, then manager of the Dutch club.
His career at Ajax ended as a 14 year-old as his father left to manage Barcelona with Jordi going to Spain with him. After spending a couple of seasons in Barcelona’s second string, Jordi was given his professional debut under his father’s tenure at the age of 20, managing to impress many by scoring 9 goals in 28 appearances for Barca in the 1994/95 La Liga season.
Up until Guardiola, Johan Cruyff was Barcelona’s most successful manager of all time, but sadly for both father and son, Jordi’s introduction into the team coincided with a dip in form and a lack of trophies, which saw Johan sacked in May 1996. Jordi never played under the new management at Barcelona and joined Manchester United soon after his dad’s dismissal.
Jordi amassed 11 caps for Holland and played at the top level of European football for 11 years but never threatened to hit the heights of his father who retired from management after his departure from Barcelona.
Bob, Rollo, David and Donald Jack
One incredible tale of footballing family affairs comes from the early 20th century and Devon club Plymouth Argyle. In 1910 manager Bob Jack took over at Plymouth for a second time and remained at the club for nearly three decades, during which time he fielded three of his sons with varying degrees of success.
The first of his three sons David was the most successful of the litter, going on to play for Bolton and Arsenal, playing over 500 games, scoring 267 goals and representing England nine times.
Bob’s second son, Rollo, made his debut at 20 under his fathers management and went on to play for Argyle another 14 times before joining his brother at their home-town club Bolton Wanderers in 1923. Rollo Jack failed to reach the heights of his brother David, playing for Clapton Orient and Swindon before retiring in 1935.
The least successful and youngest brother Donald failed to break through into the Plymouth first team during his father’s tenure and eventually left to follow in his brothers’ footsteps by joining Bolton having only every appeared for Argyle’s reserves.
Following his second spell at Plymouth, Bob Jack never managed another side.
Brian and Nigel Clough
Brian Clough is one of the most successful British managers of all time. His 18-year spell at the helm of Nottingham Forest saw him lift two European Cups, a league title and four league cups, and although much of his success was achieved in the earlier years of his tenure, his son Nigel played a large role in his later triumphs.
Making his breakthrough in the 1985/86 season, Nigel Clough was blooded into the Forest team during a particularly lean patch, with father Brian failing to pick up silverware for six successive seasons. He finished the campaign with 15 league goals, the Player of the Season award and helped Nottingham Forest finish 8th.
From that point onwards Nigel was a huge part of his father’s search for further success, becoming a key member of the Forest side. Three years later, and towards the end of the 1988/89, season the father son collaboration finally succeeded in bringing a trophy back to The City Ground, as Nigel scored twice in the League Cup final against Luton Town.
After notching back-to-back League Cup victories, Nottingham Forest began to struggle in the early 90s and key players joined divisional rivals. Brian and Nigel were both part of the teams relegation from the inaugural Premier League season in 1993 which caused Brian to retire and end his legendary spell at the helm with Nigel also leaving to join Liverpool in a £2.2m deal.
Clough senior never managed again whilst Brian failed to replicate the form he showed under his dad and after spells at Liverpool and Manchester City ventured into management himself.
Cesare and Paulo Maldini
With 151 Italy caps, 11 Serie A titles and six European Cups between them, Cesare and Paulo Maldini really are the most prolific father-son footballing duo.
Not only have they completed incredible individual feats but their professional paths have crossed at both international and club level with Paulo first playing under his father in the Italian Under-21 side of the late 1980s.
Cesare continued his work with the Italian youth set-up whilst Paulo was becoming an important part of both his club side AC Milan and the full international team but in 1996 Cesare took over from Arrigo Sacchi and became Italy’s national team manager.
The two were both key components of Italy’s successful qualification campaign for France 98 and unsurprisingly Paulo was named the captain of his father’s side. Sadly there was no father-son fairytale for the Italians as they were dispatched on penalties by the eventual winners France in the quarterfinals, marking an end to Cesare’s spell in charge.
Three years later and the Maldinis were reunited again with Cesare taking over at AC Milan. Results began to pick up for the struggling side and initially things seemed to be going well under Cesare, however a loss of form saw the Rossoneri finish 6th, costing him his job.
His sacking at Milan marked the end of Cesare Maldini’s club management career and one short spell as Paraguay manager was his only other post before retirement. His son Paulo went on to play more games for AC Milan than any other player and have his number 3 shirt retired, only to be reintroduced if one of his sons follows in his footsteps.
Other notable father-son manager/player duos:
Steve/Harry Davis (Crewe), Tony/Anthony Pulis (Portsmouth/Stoke), Kenny/Paul Dalglish (Liverpool/Newcastle), Klaus/Matthias Sammer (Dynamo Dresden), Ken/Kenny Brown (Norwich/Plymouth), Paul/Tom Ince (Blackpool), Tony/Danny Philliskirk (Oldham), Franz/Stephan Beckenbauer (Bayern), Franco/Sandro Foda (Sturm Graz), Franz/Fabian Gerber (Hannover/St Pauli), Klaus/Dino Topmoller (Saarbrucken), Jose Luis Sanchez Sola/Isidro Sanchez Macip (Puebla), Ken/Ron Armstrong (New Zealand), Kenny/Dean Shiels (Kilmarnock), Rinat/Diniyar Bilyaletdinov (Lokomotiv Moscow), Dmitri/Igor Khokhlov (Dynamo Moscow), Aleksandr/Kirill Novikov (Dynamo Moscow), Harry/Ty Keough (St Louis University), Gary/Lee Johnson (Yeovil/Bristol City), Roberto/Andea Mancini (Inter Milan/Manchester City), Valeri/Denis Shmarov (Fakel Voronezh), Gordon/Gavin Strachan (Coventry)