Marians Pahars

Marians Pahars (born 5 August 1976) is a Latvian professional football manager and a former player.[2]

Marians Pahars
Marians Pahars as Skonto coach.jpg
Pahars as the manager of Skonto
Personal information
Full name Marians Pahars
Date of birth (1976-08-05) 5 August 1976 (age 45)
Place of birth Chornobai, Ukrainian SSR
(now Ukraine)
Height 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Position(s) Forward
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1994 Pārdaugava 17 (3)
1995 Skonto-Metāls 16 (4)
1995–1998 Skonto 85 (44)
1999–2006 Southampton 137 (43)
2006–2007 Anorthosis Famagusta 19 (4)
2008 Skonto 19 (8)
2009–2010 Jūrmala 2 (0)
Total 295 (106)
National team
1996–2007 Latvia[1] 75 (15)
Teams managed
2011–2012 Skonto
2013 Latvia U21
2013–2017 Latvia
2018–2019 Jelgava
2021 Siena
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

As a player, he spent the majority of his career operating as a striker for English club Southampton, where he played in the Premier League and the Championship, the latter of which he played during his final season for the club. Furthermore, he had two spells at Skonto in the Latvian Higher League. He also made 75 appearances for the Latvian national team, scoring 15 goals over an eleven-year period.

Having retired from football, Pahars entered a career in coaching, starting as assistant at Skonto, which resulted in his first appointment as a manager. He went on to manage Latvia at under-21 and senior level, before returning to club management with Jelgava.

His Latvian given name is Marians; however, he was generally known as Marian during his career in England.

Club careerEdit


Born in Chornobai in Ukraine of Latvian parents, Pahars grew up supporting Spartak Moscow. When he was about 8 years old, Jurijs Andrejevs, a coach from Skonto visited his school, as a result of which Pahars decided to play football. Andrejevs was to have a major influence on Pahars’ football career.

At 18 he signed for Pardaugava Riga moving on to Skonto Metāls and then into the Skonto first-team in 1995. He started playing as a midfielder, usually on the wings, before moving into a striker's role.

His best goal ratio came in 1995 when he scored 8 in 9 games, which he followed up with 12 in 28 games the following season, as he became a regular in the Latvian national team. In his prime he was dubbed the "Latvian Michael Owen".

In the 1998 season he scored 19 goals in 26 games for Skonto, and his progress was attracting attention from bigger clubs; he had trials with Salernitana (Italy), Werder Bremen (Germany), and Casino Salzburg (Austria), but he was recommended to Southampton's manager Dave Jones by Gary Johnson - the manager of the Latvian national team.


He had a trial in a reserve team match against Oxford United on 10 February 1999 in which he scored a perfect hat-trick – a header and a goal with each foot in a 7–1 victory.

Saints agreed a fee with Skonto of around £800,000 and despite difficulties in obtaining a work permit and objections from the PFA, these problems were overcome and he joined the Saints in March 1999, thus becoming the first Latvian to play in the FA Premier League.

He finally made his debut as a 70th-minute substitute away to Coventry City on 5 April 1999, with his home debut at The Dell coming on 17 April, when he came off the bench to score the crucial equaliser – and almost got a winner – against Blackburn Rovers in a 3–3 draw. At this time Saints were desperately trying to survive in the Premier League and had gone into the final game of the season needing a win to guarantee their place for a further season. Pahars scored twice in the 2–0 win over Everton at the Dell, thus securing Saints’ status in the Premiership for the following season.

He made 33 appearances during the 1999–00 season finishing as the club's top scorer with 13 goals. By now, Dave Jones had been replaced as manager by Glenn Hoddle, who decided to move Pahars to a wide position, with the theory that he could scare the opposition, with his dribbling and pace, and provide for others as well as score himself.

After an impressive start to the 2000–01 season – finding the net six times as a striker, he returned to a deeper role, and his form slumped as a result. He was still a threat providing his teammates with opportunities, but his form was patchy and inconsistent and he only found the net three more times to take his tally for the season to 9 goals.

After an indifferent start to the following season, he came off the bench to score the winner away to Bolton Wanderers on 15 September 2001. He scored at a regular rate over the next three months including the winner in a 1–0 victory over Charlton Athletic on 24 November – Saints first win in their new St Mary's Stadium.

Unfortunately, after the New Year the goals dried up again but he finished the season with his best total for the Saints of 16 goals in League and FA Cup. Pahars’ 16 goals and 14 from strike partner James Beattie meant that the duo had the second best strike rate in the Premiership.

In the summer of 2002, Pahars required a hernia operation, which forced him to miss the whole of pre-season and although he scored a penalty in a 1–0 home win over Everton on 11 September he never fully recovered from his injury. His early season was rather stop-start and was not helped by the suspension for receiving a red card at home to Manchester City on 5 October. He then severely injured an ankle in November 2002, which kept him out for most of the rest of the season with another operation on the eve of the FA Cup Final to round off a miserable 2002–03 season.

The start to the 2003–04 season was again hampered by injury and comebacks for the reserves were ruined by injury recurrences. He did manage to play the closing minutes as Latvia claimed a place at Euro 2004. With that as an added incentive to get himself fully fit he found himself back in the Saints starting line up for 3 successive games which all ended in victories. His first goal of the season – and in more than a year – came at home to local rivals Portsmouth on 21 December 2003 in a 3–0 home win when he curled a superb right footer into the bottom right corner.

After recovering from injury, he was then injured in 2004–05 pre-season in an away match at Swindon Town. A heavy, late tackle to the same ankle which had already undergone three operations [3] ruled him out of the early part of the season. Comebacks for the reserves were promising, until problems flared up again, causing him to miss the whole of the season in frustrating circumstances, as Saints were relegated after 28 years in the top flight of English Football.

His 2005–06 season was another frustrating one with injury after injury again seeing his comebacks ruined. He did make 10 appearances during the season, scoring one goal, but it was not enough to save his Saints career, and, in May 2006, after seven years with 156 appearances and 45 goals for the club, it was announced that his contract with Southampton would not be renewed for the following season.

After the final game of the season, on 30 April 2006 Pahars took part in a 'lap of appreciation' by the Saints players around the St. Mary's pitch, in an emotional goodbye for the player and many of the Southampton fans present.

Later spellsEdit

In July 2006 Pahars signed with Anorthosis Famagusta, a Cypriot team managed by former Georgian International Temuri Ketsbaia.

His injury problems were frequent during his stay at the club, and, as a result, in January 2008, he was released.

Pahars playing for Skonto

In 2008, he joined his former home-land club Skonto, playing there for one season and helping the club reach good results in the national championship. After the season, he left Skonto FC, joining FK Jūrmala-VV finishing his career there with two games in the national championship.

International careerEdit

Pahars broke into the Latvian national team at the start of 1996, and made his debut on 12 March 1996 in a 1–0 friendly defeat away to Cyprus. His first goal for his country came in his ninth match at home to Poland in a 3–2 defeat also in a friendly on 17 February 1997.

On 2 September 2006, he returned to the Latvian national team for a match against Sweden. All in all, he played 75 times and scored 15 goals for Latvia.

Despite Latvia not qualifying for the World Cup Finals they did have success in June 2001 when they beat Estonia and Lithuania, to lift the Baltic Cup, with Pahars scoring in both games. Pahars was then named Latvian Footballer of the Year for a third successive year in November 2001.

During a spell of injuries, he managed to play in the closing minutes as Latvia claimed a place in the European Championships in 2004 with a 2–2 draw in Turkey on 19 November 2003.

He again struggled for full fitness before scoring his first goal for Latvia in a 3–1 friendly win over Kazakhstan on 18 February – his first international goal since May 2002.

With so many injury problems over the season he was a substitute for all three of 2004 UEFA Latvia's Group matches at Euro 2004, although he did taste the championships by coming off the bench in all three games.

Managerial careerEdit


In 2010 Pahars accepted an offer to become Aleksandrs Starkovs' assistant at Skonto alongside legendary Vitālijs Astafjevs. He became the champion of Latvia in 2010 once again, this time in an assistant manager's role.

In 2011 Starkovs left for FK Baku in Azerbaijan and Pahars became the manager of the club.[4] Managing the club for two seasons, he helped the club win the Baltic League in 2011 and lift the Latvian Football Cup, as well as finish as the runners-up of the Latvian Higher League in 2012.

In December 2012, Pahars left Skonto, being succeeded by Tamaz Pertia.


Pahars accepted the opportunity to return to coaching, when the offer from LFF allowed him to become the manager of Latvian under-21 national team. Not long after his appointment, on 11 July 2013, Pahars was promoted, becoming the manager of the nation's senior team, shortly after Aleksandrs Starkovs vacated his position.[5]

As manager, Pahars guided Latvia to the 2014 and 2016 Baltic Cups.[6][7] However, he failed to guide the nation to qualification to the FIFA World Cup for both the 2014 and 2018 tournaments, as well as failing for qualification to the UEFA European Championship for the 2016 tournament.[8]


Pahars returned to Latvian domestic football, taking charge of Jelgava ahead of their 2018 Latvian Higher League campaign. He guided them to a sixth-place finish in his inaugural season in charge.[9]

In his second season in charge, Jelgava finished in seventh place in the Latvian Higher League, a minor drop in a position from their previous league campaign, with Pahars departing the club at the end of that season.[10]


On 26 January 2021, he was hired by Italian club Siena, which was in the fourth-tier Serie D at the time due to previous bankruptcy.[11] He resigned less than a month later, on 10 February, following a negative string of results.[12]

Outside footballEdit

Pahars was a candidate for Honoured to serve Riga in the 2020 Riga City Council election, but was not elected.[13]

Career statisticsEdit


Appearances and goals by club, season and competition[14][15]
Club Season League National Cup League Cup Europe Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Pārdaugava 1994 Latvian Higher League 17 3
Skonto-Metāls 1995 Latvian Higher League 16 4
Skonto 1995 Latvian Higher League 9 8
1996 28 12
1997 22 5
1998 26 19
Total 85 44
Southampton 1998–99 Premier League 6 3 0 0 0 0 6 3
1999–2000 33 13 2 0 3 0 38 13
2000–01 31 9 4 0 2 0 37 9
2001–02 36 14 1 1 2 1 39 16
2002–03 9 1 0 0 1 0 10 1
2003–04 14 2 1 0 1 0 16 2
2004–05 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2005–06 Championship 8 1 2 0 0 0 10 1
Total 137 43 10 1 9 1 0 0 156 45
Anorthosis Famagusta 2006–07 First Division 17 4
2007–08 2 0
Total 19 4
Skonto 2008 Latvian Higher League 19 8
Jūrmala 2009 Latvian Higher League 2 0
Career total 295 106


Appearances and goals by national team and year[16]
National team Year Apps Goals
Latvia 1996 5 0
1997 13 2
1998 11 5
1999 6 2
2000 6 0
2001 8 4
2002 6 1
2003 1 0
2004 6 1
2005 0 0
2006 3 0
2007 9 0
Total 75 15


As of 29 June 2021
Team From To Record
G W D L Win %
Skonto 11 January 2011 21 December 2012 78 44 20 14 056.41
Latvia[17] 11 July 2013 1 June 2017 33 7 11 15 021.21
Jelgava 27 March 2018 9 November 2019 60 15 14 31 025.00
Siena 25 January 2021 10 February 2021 5 0 1 4 000.00
Total 176 66 46 64 037.50


As a playerEdit



As a managerEdit


  1. ^ "Appearances for Latvia National Team". RSSSF. 17 November 2010. Retrieved 8 January 2011.
  2. ^ Marians Pahars at Soccerway
  3. ^ "Pahars injury woes continue | Football". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  4. ^ "Latvijas futbola federācija". Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  5. ^ "football - soccer transfer news and rumors". Transfer Market Web. 16 July 2013. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  6. ^ "Source on the 2014 Baltic Cup final". Retrieved 28 June 2020.
  7. ^ "Kinnitati Balti turniiri logo ja mängugraafik" (in Estonian). Estonian Football Association. 4 April 2016.
  8. ^ "Latvia - European Qualifiers -". Retrieved 28 June 2020.
  9. ^ "Summary - Virsliga - Latvia - Results, fixtures, tables and news - Soccerway". Retrieved 28 June 2020.
  10. ^ "FK Jelgava - Fixtures & Results 2019/2020". World Football. Retrieved 28 June 2020.
  11. ^ "MARIAN PAHARS È IL NUOVO ALLENATORE" (in Italian). Siena. 26 January 2021.
  12. ^ "MARIAN PAHARS NON È PIÙ L'ALLENATORE DELL'ACN SIENA" (in Italian). Siena. 10 February 2021.
  13. ^ "Latvijas izlases treneru štābā iekļautais Pahars plāno startēt Rīgas domes ārkārtas vēlēšanās" [Pahars, the former Latvian national team coach, plans to run in the extraordinary elections for Riga City Council]. 20 February 2020. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
  14. ^ "". Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  15. ^ "Marian Pahars". 11v11. Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  16. ^ "Marians Pahars". Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  17. ^ "Marians Pahars (head coach)". Retrieved 29 June 2020.

External linksEdit