Guðjón Þórðarson (Anglicised: Gudjon Thordarson) (born 14
September 1955) is an Icelandic former footballer and manager. He was most recently
manager of Crewe
Alexandra, being sacked on 2 October 2009.
previously been manager of ÍA, KA, KR, Keflavík, Notts County, Iceland, Stoke City, Barnsley, Start in
Norway and Crewe Alexandra.
Þórðarson has three sons who also play professional football,
Guðjón played over 400 matches for his hometown club, ÍA Akranes
, scoring 22 goals in the process.
In his career, Gudjon won 5 league titles and 5 cup titles. He also
played 22 European games for ÍA
Guðjón played in his only international match in 1985.
Guðjón last season as a player was 1986 and his first coaching job
was at ÍA Akranes
in the 1987
then left off to Akureyri to become
manager of KA
Akureyri in 1988.
The team won its first and only
title very surprisingly in
1989. That has to be known as a big achievement for Guðjón given
the players he had in his squad.
After being relegated in 1990, ÍA
appointed Guðjón as manager. The team was promoted at
first attempt, and subsequently won the Icelandic league
the following year, in
1992. The team dominated Icelandic football the next few years and
became league champions
for five years running, 1992-1996.
Iceland's biggest club, appointed Guðjón after the 1993 season. The
team had not won the Icelandic
for more than 20 years and Guðjón was seen as the right
man to win the title. He did not win the league in his two year
stint at the club, but the team did however win the Cup
on both occasions 1994 and 1995.
Guðjón came back to Akranes after his spell at KR and guided the
team to win the Icelandic league
and the Cup
in 1996. After the season,
actually late in November 1996 ÍA
terminated his contract because of his conflict with
his son Bjarni
Guðjón wasn't out of a job for too long. In June 1997 he took
charge of the Icelandic
Guðjón was very successful as manager of the Icelandic national
.During the 3 years he was in charge, the team played 24
games, winning 10 of them, drawing 4 and losing 8. The team scored
35 goals in the process, conceding 23.
The team was close to qualifying to the European Championship in 2000
, despite being
placed in a very strong qualifying group alongside Ukraine
and current world
game that took place at Stade de France was one that put Icelandic
football to a higher standard. After being 2-0 down at half time,
to come back too 2-2, and closely losing in additional time
This result and ÍA's result under his command created the image of
Guðjón as a competent football manager, albeit a tough and highly
Guðjón became Stoke City's first non-British manager in November
1999, when he joined the club following the takeover
of the club by an Icelandic consortium
. Stoke was then in the second division. Gary Megson
was fired to make way for Guðjón,
who had personally worked to put together Stoke Holding. Just 5
months after his takeover, Guðjón lead Stoke to the Auto Windscreen
trophy final to win
over Bristol City
, at the old
Wembley. Also becoming the first Icelandic to manage an English
team to trophy victory. Stoke were consistently in the top 5 for
the three years he stayed at the club despite failing to achieve
promotion in the first two seasons after defeat in consecutive
playoff semi finals. After two years Guðjón shortened his contract
to the end of the 2001-2002 season, claiming if he did not get them
promoted now, he was not the right man to do so. However it was to
prove third time lucky as Stoke finally got beyond the playoff semi
final beating Cardiff City 3-2 on
aggregate(coming from 2-1 down from the home leg and claiming a
famous 2-0 win at Ninian
Park), before they won promotion in final against
Brentford with a 2-0 win at the
There was a superstition called the
south-end jinx at the Millennium Stadium, for no team had yet won a
title in that dressing room before Stoke broke the hoodoo. Stoke
also became the first team in the 5th league position to gain
play-offs promotion. Guðjón's impending contract renewal was
however terminated just 5 days after the promotion to Division 1
(now the Championship). It is said that this was a personal
decision taken by club chairman Gunnar Gíslason. The fans ordered a
campaign to wish for his immediate reasignment, but the protests of
around 5000 people outside the club proved unsuccessful.
To this day Guðjón has one of the best managerial records at Stoke
City and highest attendance average. Managing 154 matches, won 77,
drew 39 and lost 38. So out of 462 points in the pot, 270 were
gathered, or on average just over 1.7 points per game.
Guðjón signed a contract with Start in Kristiansand just through
the end of the season to try to steer the club away from
relegation. However relegation was inevitable. But at the time
Guðjón spent there 5 of the young players in the squad were called
up for the U21 Norway side for the first time.
appointed Guðjón as manager
in 2003. The club had a great start to the season, but his reign
ended after a Peter Ridsdale takeover at the club. Guðjón was fired
decided to return to Iceland in 2005 and
was appointed manager of Keflavik.
quit just 3 days before the first game of the season to take charge
of Notts County
Guðjón was appointed manager of Notts
in 2005. The team started very well, leading the table
early on, but eventually failed to make the playoffs. Þórðarson
resigned from Notts County
2006 after Notts County finished 21st in League 2. He became the club's
first non-British manager when
he arrived at Meadow Lane in May 2005.
had a difficult season in
2006, avoiding relegation in the last few weeks of the season.
Guðjón was appointed manager ahead of the 2007 season, where the
team finished 3rd in the league, with one of the leagues youngest
teams and also scoring the 3rd most goals in the league.
2008 the media in Scotland repeatedly
linked Guðjón with the manager's post of Hearts F.C., with Terry
Butcher as his assistant, but Akranes officials insisted it was
only rumours and he would stay put in Iceland.
himself did, however, confirm to an Icelandic news-site that
discussions with Hearts had indeed taken place and that he was
considering his options.
On 11 July, Hearts appointed Csaba
as the new manager. Whether Guðjón had ever been a
serious contender for the job is not known.
On 21 July, Guðjón was fired from his post at ÍA. The team's
performance had been going straight downhill for weeks, but the
final straw was a 1-6 defeat against Breidablik UBK
. Guðjón was replaced by the
brothers, Arnar Gunnlaugsson
announced as new manager of League
One side Crewe
Alexandra on 24 December 2008, as a permanent replacement for
the recently sacked Steve
However, previous caretaker manager Dario Gradi
remained in charge of the team for
two games during the Christmas period, with Þórðarson taking over
on 29 December.
Despite improvements on the pitch, which saw him win manager of the
month for February he could not prevent the club from being
relegated into League Two
poor form continued in the new season, and Þórðarson was sacked as
Crewe manager on 2 October 2009.
Guðjón Þórðarson has been involved in many controversies in his
career as a manager. He has often been involved in board
On 13 May 2005 he resigned as manager of Keflavík
only a few days before
the 2005 season
of unfulfilled financial and professional obligations. Keflavík
accusations. Guðjón had repeatedly refuted being in talks with
English League 2
club Notts County
at the time. However, one day
after leaving his job, on 14 May 2005, he admitted being interested
in the Notts County
job, and was
subsequently appointed manager of Notts
on 17 May 2005.