The Last of Us: how long every Premier League manager would survive - from Jurgen Klopp to Pep Guardiola

With everybody talking about The Last of Us, we take a look at how Premier League managers would fare in a zombie apocalypse.
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There are few prospects as innately terrifying as a zombie apocalypse. The very notion speaks to so many of our base fears as a species; the decay of familiarity, the creeping inevitability of helplessness, the eating of our brains.

But the thing with humans is that we like to give ourselves a little fright every now and again. We’re silly like that. Rarely, if ever, will you see a pod of dolphins sat around a campfire regaling each other with tales of the macabre by torchlight. The reasons for that are probably numerous, but somewhere on that list is the simple fact that they are not daft enough to scare themselves witless on porpoise. Sorry, purpose.

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Which brings us to The Last of Us; HBO’s big budget video game adaptation that embraces wholeheartedly the concept of a world torn apart by a fungus that gives rise to a zombifying virus in those it infects. The show, juxtaposing the dystopian with the recognisable, is already proving to be a critically acclaimed and commercially appreciated hit, and it got us to thinking - which Premier League managers would fare best in a zombie apocalypse?

So, sharpen your pitchforks, stock up on bandages, and pick out your most aerodynamic pressing of New Order’s Blue Monday, because we’re about to tangle with the undead...

Mikel Arteta

As boring a start to this article as it may seem, I actually think Mickey would do alright in an apocalypse y’know. He’s forward thinking, a natural born leader, and he possesses the general vibe and dashing good looks of a mid ‘90s Spanish language action movie protagonist. Plus, he needs to be okay so that he can protect Bukayo Saka at all costs.

Unai Emery

After much soul-searching about the fate of humanity, Unai decides that it would be unforgivable of him to not intervene in some way or other, no matter how small or humble. As such, he summons up the courage to approach his superiors on the Vampiric Council of Elders, requesting aid in the name of mankind. It’s a tight ballot, but crucial swing votes from Dracula, Nosferatu, and The Count from Sesame Street are enough to stir the bloodsuckers into mobilisation.

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Thus begins a global war between vampires and zombies, with the destiny of the mortal realm hanging in the balance. Eventually, the lumbering undead are defeated, only for humanity to be double-crossed and enslaved by an evil rogue faction of the VCoE, fronted by Count Duckula and Shiny Robert Pattinson from Twilight. Alas, the human race is left in a more perilous position than it ever was under the threat of zombification. Unai was only trying to help.

Gary O’Neil

Convinced that his DNA and his DNA alone holds the key to a vaccine against the mysterious contagion sweeping the planet, Gaz starts calling himself ‘Gary O’Heal’ and forms a cult in his garage. Well, I say cult, it’s really just him and Ryan Christie sat around on foldable camping chairs watching repeats of ‘Homes Under the Hammer’, waiting for one of the carrier pigeons they sent to The Pentagon to return with a response from President Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Any day now, Gaz. Any day...

Thomas Frank

Absolutely owns a pair of nunchucks. Absolutely does not know how to use a pair of nunchucks.

Roberto De Zerbi

Commandeers a Harley Davidson shortly after the outbreak and spends his days riding up and down the south coast in a leather duster and a pair of wrap-around sunglasses, blowing holes in the undead with a sawed-off shotgun. By night, he reads and rereads tattered editions of Calvino and Levi beneath the starlight, a pursuit made all the more difficult by his refusal to take off aforementioned wrap-around sunglasses.

Graham Potter

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Looks to be on to a cushty little thing as the de facto leader of a safe and sustainable, if somewhat modest, seaside commune, but is lured to the big city by the call of greater resources and whispering hearsay of a sighting of the last living barber capable of shaving in a decent skin fade.

Upon his arrival in a feral and decaying urban jungle, Potter is subjected to a slew of untold horrors, and finds himself battling for survival on a near-daily basis. Within weeks, the burden of stress looks to have aged him decades, and he retreats to the shadowy recesses of an abandoned B&M Bargains to hunker down in a foxhole carved out by his own misjudged avarice. Occasionally he peers out from behind the checkout that he has converted into a makeshift bunk, sees a scavenging seagull or two picking at a crisp packet in the car park, and pines for what once was. This is a parable for top flight football management. Just in case you hadn’t noticed.

Patrick Vieira

Roams the streets of the capital at night armed only with a lead pipe, his wits, and the companionship of a pet eagle that perches on his left shoulder like a pirate’s parrot. Bereft of any hope after he sees Wilfried Zaha’s brains devoured before his very eyes, Paddy makes the solemn vow of a reluctant vigilante, promising himself that he will maintain a fragile social order wherever he can, and swearing that he will kill every undead scumbag unfortunate enough to cross his path. Also, his eagle is called Freddie Ljungbird.

Frank Lampard

I don’t know why, but I just have a gut feeling that Frank would be one of the first high profile celebrities to fall to the zombies, kind of like when Tom Hanks got Covid. I keep having this visceral recurring vision of him being mauled by an undead horde in a multi-storey car park. If and when the apocalypse does come, if there is indeed any accuracy to that divination then I would like to humbly request that this entry is treated as my first quote-unquote ‘prophecy’, the exact point at which I began my transformation into a Nostradamus of the wastelands. *Disclaimer: I don’t want Frank to be eaten, but the tea leaves keep telling me otherwise.

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Marco Silva

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When Matt Le Blanc becomes the third celebrity to succumb to the zombies after Frank Lampard (the second is Peter Andre, in case you were wondering), Silva does a roaring trade for a little while as a cost effective private hire Joey Tribbiani lookalike. Soon the entertainment industry is crippled by various curfews and social restrictions, however, and the former Fulham manager is left teetering on the brink of a stark, uncertain future. What he’d give to walk into a drab office-related function and bellow ‘How you doin’?’ to muted bewilderment just one more time...

Jesse Marsch

Tries to talk it out with the zombies. Is swiftly eaten.

Brendan Rodgers

Would absolutely weaponise a Karcher pressure washer.

Jurgen Klopp

Initially does okay out in the wilds of a post-apocalyptic Merseyside, but is slowly consumed by a creeping paranoia brought about predominantly through a lack of social interaction. Eventually unable to take the cacophonous din of his bickering internal monologue any longer, he flees to the forest, vowing to make a new life for himself among the bears. ‘But Jason’, I hear you cry, ‘there are no bears on Merseyside’. And look, I know that, but Jurgen and his seclusion-addled mind don’t. Starts wearing Nat Phillips’ pelt as a decorative cape too.

Pep Guardiola

You know Pep, the man just cannot resist a tinker. And so it is that his armageddon comes to a suitably fiery conclusion as he attempts to turn a Super Soaker into a functioning flamethrower one afternoon. Well done. Quite literally.

Erik ten Hag

I simply refuse to believe that Erik ten Hag does not already have a doomsday shelter, replete with various non-perishable tinned goods and an assortment of small and high-calibre fire arms, already dug out in his back garden. Wouldn’t even surprise me if it had an entrance door operated by retinal scanners, and a second, more modest chamber that acted as a medical bay/games room, including an operating/pool table. In short, this fella will be fine.

Eddie Howe

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When I asked my girlfriend which Premier League manager would turn to cannibalism first in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse she said, without a moment’s hesitation, ‘Eddie Howe’. Make of that what you will.

Steve Cooper

Converts his Volkswagen Touran into a rolling death machine, complete with a paint job like the van from The A-Team. When the loneliness gets too much, he cruises through the foreboding still of murmuring twilights, blasting Cheap Trick from a loudspeaker attached to his roof rack and taking pop shots at passing zombies with a BB rifle he found in a dumpster behind a derelict Argos.

Nathan Jones

Literally has no idea the apocalypse has happened until he wanders into his local Asda one day and realises that they’ve run out of Young’s fish cakes. It’s the end of the world as we know it.

Antonio Conte

Lasts just under six hours before getting fed up with the arrogance of the zombies, marching down his driveway, and offering one out for a straightener. It does not end well.

David Moyes

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Upon learning of the virus’ spread in East London, Moyesy clicks the off button on his portable TV/VHS combi, sighs a dejected, pensive sigh, and heads to his sparsely-populated drinks cabinet. He pours himself a bleak slug of Famous Grouse, takes a vinyl of Rachmaninoff’s First Symphony from a dog-eared sleeve, places it on a dusty turntable, and returns to his armchair. There he sits, thinking, his haunted face illuminated only by the soft sodium glow of a street lamp outside. As the minutes tick into hours and the hours tick into obscurity, his trance is eventually shattered by a clumsy thud at his front door, followed by a guttural moan. Moyes sighs once more, puts down his drained glass, and makes his way into the hallway, ready to accept his fate.

Julen Lopetegui

Keeps the zombified husk of a creature that was once Diego Costa chained to a concrete post in his shed. Initially, the plan was to use him as something of an attack dog, but Julen has grown quite fond of the pesky little chomper as time has gone by, and he always tries to get him one of the good brands of meat like Pedigree or Bakers Complete when he goes out looting. Not IAMS though; that plays havoc with Diego’s stomach.