WHAT MAKES A TOP FOOTBALL MANAGER?
Football management is a tricky old game – and that is when playing it at the fantasy level. Real life football management seems to be one of the most precarious professions you could enter in to (although it’s pretty well paid at the highest level) and the run up to Christmas will no doubt throw more top level managers in to the spotlight as speculation mounts on sackings and appointments.
The role of the football manager is in the spotlight once again – and with the Sam Allardyce debacle now starting to simmer down thanks to the headline making dropping of one of England’s most successful players (clever that) – the focus of the press has turned to the fate of a whole host of Premier League and Championship managers. This weekend sees the introduction of three new managers in the Championship and the Premier League sees its first American manager taking the helm at Swansea. In fact in the last 2 weeks there have been 7 new appointments in the football league from top to bottom.
The reappointment of Steve McLaren at Derby is perhaps the oddest appointment in a long time and it seems neither the pundits or the fans agree that the return of the umbrella wielding ex-England manager makes sense. With Steve Bruce (who appeared to be in the frame for the England job) taking on the exciting but daunting task of trying to steer Aston Villa back to the Premier League, we are left asking the question – what does it take to be a successful manager in modern football?
THE MAKING OF A TOP FOOTBALL MANAGER
The longest serving manager in the Premier League (and in fact all professional English leagues) is Arsene Wenger at Arsenal. The Frenchman has just celebrated 20 years at the North London club and in that time has won 3 Premier League titles and 6 FA Cups. The vultures have been circling on him in the last few seasons but his record stands up better than any other current Premier League manager in terms of success in England.
So, is longevity the key or has Arsene gone stale?
What about the cultured and well travelled Pep Guardiola? His management career started with the Barcelona B side where he enjoyed much success prior to gaining promotion to the senior side. He won pretty much everything with Barcelona as he clinched back to back league titles, 2 Champions League titles, 2 UEFA Super Cup titles and 2 World Club Cup titles. He then went to Bayern Munich where he again won back to back leagues but was unable to win the Champions League. Pep is of course now at Man City and suffered his first defeat at Spurs last time out following a stuttering performance at Celtic that ended in a draw.
Is this his biggest test yet and is he as good as everyone thinks?
The Premier League is well represented in terms of cultural diversity but we do also have some successful English managers. In fact, Eddie Howe (who is revered as being a potentially top manager in the future) is the second longest serving Premier League manager at a day over 4 years. Only 8 managers in the whole of the football league have served their clubs for longer and none of those are in the Championship – a sign of the times indeed – but also a pointer as to the treacherous nature of the job of a manager.
Tony Pulis is another manager who is usually brought in to steady a ship as is Sam Allardyce – oh hang on – scrap that. Alan Pardew has a decent Premier League record and seems to be on one of his good runs right now and is another who makes the frame as having some good management skills.
It seems the modern manager has to have personality. Some have bags of passion and enthusiasm like Antonio Conte – another manager who was rumoured to be losing his job this week. In reality, it seems no matter what the credentials are and no matter how high the quality of the work the manager puts in away from match day – it is a results business and if they don’t get the results then it is curtains for them.
One thing is for sure though, the modern manager has to have a thick skin and they all have perseverance – after all, they keep coming back time after time for new pay packets…. Sorry, I mean challenges.
Whatever it takes to be a successful football manager I’m not too fussed… I will be sticking with the fantasy football management – and I’ll be starting with a Premier Punt daily fantasy football bet today.