Are English Managers Any Good?

April 5, 2013 8:31 am

Are English managers simply NOT good enough?

In the top four tiers of English Football there are 92 clubs, 54 of which are managed by Englishman. However, a mere FOUR of these are managing teams in the Premiership, England’s top division.

Sam Allardyce, Alan Pardew, Harry Redknapp and Nigel Adkins are left fighting in a league consisting of predominantly foreign coaches. A sad statistic; but over the years the English managers that have been provided with time, stability, and backing from club owners have gone on to be very successful.

So perhaps it is not the case that they are not good enough, but that they are not given a fair chance managing at the top levels of the game like they used to.

Here are my Top 5 English managers of all-time, in no particular order:

Brian Clough.JPG1. Brian Clough

Brian Clough is not only the best manager England never had, he is perhaps the best manager the country has produced. His achievements are legendary. He took Derby County from the bottom of the old Division Two, to become champions of England within four seasons. However, his landmark achievements were to come with Nottingham Forest. He took over in 1974 with the team in Division Two, but by the 1977-78 season Forest were champions of England, making Clough the first manager since Herbert Chapman to win the league with two different clubs. Arguably, his greatest success would be winning back-to-back European Cups in 1979 and 1980. The achievement of taking two teams from the lower leagues to win the league, and guiding a provincial team to European glory not once but twice, is why Clough deserves to be seen as one of the best English managers of all time.


2. Bob Paisley

Bob Paisley was Liverpool manager from 1974-83. He had the unenviable task of taking over from the great Bill Shankly, but it is a measure of his talent that his nine years in charge were more trophy-laden than that of his illustrious predecessor. Paisleys Liverpool won silverware in eight of his nine seasons, including six league championships and three European Cups. He remains the only English manager to win three European Cups. In addition to these, he also won three League Cups, one UEFA Cup and one European Super Cup, giving him a quite sensational total of 14 major trophies in nine years.


3. Sir Alf Ramsey

Sir Alf Ramsey was manager of Ipswich Town from 1955-63, and in that time took them from the Third Division South to English champions, which in itself is extraordinary. However, his crowning achievement is to do what no other English manager has, to lead England to World Cup glory in 1966. He also guided England to third place in the 1968 European Championships, and quarter-final finishes in the 1970 World Cup and 1972 Euros. A remarkable feat.


4. Sir Bobby Robson

Sir Bobby Robson is perhaps one of the most successful English managers of all time. During his 13 years in charge of Ipswich he firmly established the side as a top six team, finishing runner-up on two occasions; he also won the FA Cup in 1978 and the Uefa Cup in 1981. He is one of the few English managers to achieve real success on foreign soil. He won the Dutch championship with PSV Eindhoven in 1991 and 1992, and during his period in charge of the Dutch team he was responsible for bringing to Europe a young Brazilian forward by the name of Luis Nazario De Lima, better known as (fat) Ronaldo. From PSV he went to Porto where he won the Portuguese championship in 1995 and 1996, as well as Cup of Portugal in 1994. In 1996 Robson was appointed manager of Barcelona, where he won the Copa Del Rey, the Spanish Super Cup and the Cup Winners Cup, and was subsequently voted European Manager of the Year for the 1996-97 season. Robson’s most famous managerial exploits however, are involved with his role as manager of England, which he began on 7th July 1982. After failure to qualify for the 1982 European Championships, Robson guided the team to the next three major tournaments, losing only one of his 28 qualifying games as England manager. His greatest achievement was to come in the 1990 World Cup, when his England team was only knocked out on penalties by West Germany in the semi-finals.


Bill Nicholson

5. Bill Nicholson

Bill Nicholson effectively created the term ‘one man team’. Spending the whole duration of his playing and managing career at Tottenham Hotspur,he enjoyed unprecedented levels of success that they have been unable to match since. When he took over the reins, they were struggling at the bottom of the First Division and nobody had any inkling of the success that was to follow. However, when he beat Everton 10-4 in his first game in charge, optimism quickly grew. He wrote his name into the history books when he led Tottenham to the first league and FA Cup double in 1961, playing a unique brand of attacking football. The following season they won the FA Cup again, and made the semi-finals of the European Cup before losing to Benfica. His attack on the record books continued when he led Tottenham to the European Cup Winners Cup, the first time a British club had won a European competition. They won another FA Cup in 1967, before adding two League Cups in 1971 and 1973, with a UEFA Cup win sandwiched in-between. He resigned his post in 1974, ending a 36 year association with the club as player and manager, but continued to work for the club as a consultant until 1991.


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