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Experience matters in management stakes

Simon Austin | 09:34 UK time, Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Maybe it's only a coincidence that three of the four men battling to save their sides from the Premier League trapdoor this weekend are all first-time managers.

Yet one of the messages of the season is that experience matters. The leading contenders for manager of the year will mainly be seasoned, battle-hardened campaigners.

Aside from obvious choice Sir Alex Ferguson - whose myriad achievements I don't need to list here - I'm thinking of the likes of Roy Hodgson, David Moyes and Tony Pulis.

Each has exceeded what could reasonably have been expected of them at the start of the season.

Alan Shearer looks forlorn after Newcastle's defeat against PortsmouthTake Fulham's Hodgson, the Phileas Fogg of English bosses. The 61-year-old has worked at 16 clubs in seven different countries during a management career spanning 33 years.

All that experience and know-how has been used to guide the Cottagers to the brink of European qualification, when many had tipped them to be battling relegation.

In contrast, the bosses who have struggled have tended to be inexperienced. Paul Ince, a manager for only two seasons before he landed the Blackburn job, was the first Premier League boss to get the boot.

Rovers then turned to the hugely experienced Sam Allardyce as a replacement and he has steered them to safety. Tony Adams, whose only previous experience as a boss was a short and inglorious spell at Wycombe, was fired by Portsmouth in February.

Veteran Paul Hart took over and eased Pompey to safety. Instead, it is Newcastle manager Alan Shearer, Boro boss Gareth Southgate and Sunderland's Ricky Sbragia who will be battling to save their sides on Sunday.

Gianfranco Zola, who has done a sterling job at West Ham in his first stint in management, is a notable exception. But Andy Roxburgh, Uefa's highly respected technical director, says experience is a big asset.Roy Hodgson should be a contender for manager of the season

"Fabio Capello summed it up best when he said football was the only profession where you could go from the shop floor to chief executive's office in one day," Roxburgh told me.

"Countries like Italy and Spain regard management as a profession, which has not traditionally been the case in the UK.

"You wouldn't throw a talented youngster straight into a huge game and the same principle applies for coaches."

The situation in the Netherlands, where "all top club managers have been assistants", is very different, says Roxburgh. Dennis Bergkamp, arguably the greatest foreign player to grace the Premier League, coaches Ajax's strikers, while Frank de Boer, who won 112 caps for Holland, is in charge of the Amsterdam club's academy.

The former Scotland boss accepts there are sometimes compelling reasons for appointing an untried man - if he has been a legendary player at that club, for example. If that is the case, it is crucial he is as well prepared as possible, which perhaps was not the case with Shearer, who is yet to start his Uefa Pro Licence, a mandatory qualification for full-time Premier League managers.

Ince was given special dispensation to take the job at Blackburn despite not having the licence, while Southgate, who took over at Boro in 2006, is due to finish the course in June.

Shearer, Southgate, Ince and Adams were undoubtedly magnificent international players, but research shows that top players don't enjoy greater success as managers.

Research commissioned by the League Manager's Association found that managers who were former internationals had a win percentage of 35.2%. The figure was 34.5% for those who had played in the Premier League, 34.7% for ex-Football League players and 34.1% for those who had not even played professionally.

Roxburgh adds: "Gianluca Vialli went straight from playing for Chelsea to managing them.

"After he left his next managerial job, at Watford, he returned to Italy to get his coaching qualifications. That is clearly the wrong way round and Gianluca has told me that he wishes he had been trained before getting those jobs in England."

Roxburgh believes the perfect combination for a manager is "talent, experience and preparation".

Getting the right formula is crucial, when you consider how little time managers are given to succeed.

The four managers who have been sacked this season - Ince, Adams, Luiz Felipe Scolari and Juande Ramos - were in their jobs for an average of only 0.59 years, according to Sue Bridgewater, an associate professor at Warwick Business School.Andy Roxburgh talks to Sir Alex Ferguson before last year's Champions League final

The average for sacked managers in the Premier League and Football League combined was 1.47 years, down from 1.56 last season. Many of these men will not get another chance, as 49% of first-time bosses don't get another managerial job.

The LMA is putting on coaching clinics, emphasising the importance of qualifications and using managers like Hodgson to advise the next generation.

Do you think Premier League chairmen should look to experienced campaigners like Hodgson and Pulis when they make their appointments in the future, rather than former star players such as Shearer and Southgate?

Comments

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  • 1. At 11:30am on 20 May 2009, curnowspur wrote:

    Makes a lot of sense to me. Managers used to start in the old third and fourth divisions and work their way up. Wenger and Fergie started in low divisions and look at the turn around Arry has achieved at Spurs.

    There's no substitute for experience and it can't be bought.

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  • 2. At 11:31am on 20 May 2009, boomshakalak wrote:

    Very very interesting stuff i think...

    Its interesting that you describe Moyes as an experiecned manager - yet when he was interviewed on the BBC he described himself as a junior manager still learning his trade... that probably tells you all you need to know about Moyes - he sees it as a career, as a job he needs to develop at - and not just something that you can turn your hand to easily.. hence the success..

    whilst there are obvious exceptions both in this country and the continent (Klinnsmann, Van Basten, Cruyff, etc immediately spring to mind) i have to agree that the exerienced managers are often the best ones....yet sadly often the ones that fans get the least excited about or have the least patience with... e.g Allardyce / Shearer at Newcastle... i am confident that Newcastle would not be needing a last day win and results to go there way to stay up if Allardyce was in charge still... but thats another debate..

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  • 3. At 11:33am on 20 May 2009, highthief wrote:

    While I agree that having a properly experienced manager behind the bench is a much better option than someone like a Shearer, Hodgson has been unbelievably fortunate with injuries this season. He's had 7 ever-presents in his side - I doubt any other club has been so fortunate.

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  • 4. At 11:37am on 20 May 2009, rjaggar wrote:

    I think it depends entirely on the type of management style you choose to use.

    If you go for the autocratic leadership style, where one man rules everything (the Alex Ferguson/Wenger model), then I think you need experience to succeed in the Premier League, because it is almost inconceivable that new managers will have the necessary skill set to survive.

    If you have a more diffuse style (such as a manager, a head coach, specialist coaches etc), where the manager's main role is overall strategy, picking the squad, picking the teams, delivering the team talks and giving interviews to the media, then I think it is slightly more open as a question. But it's probably necessary then for the new 'manager' to have worked up through other roles first (as Capello did as a younger man), so that they've absorbed the totality of management over several years.

    If you are going straight into management from playing, then I'd recommend, in the main, doing it the Martin O'Neill/Nigel Clough way. Find a small club, maybe outside the Football League, where you can learn on the job, away from public gaze, without the pressures of stroppy multimillionaires and global TV audiences and where you can build a team over a few years. Once the time is ripe, make the step up. Both did so to a medium-sized club in the East Midlands.......

    There will always be exceptions to prove the rule, but if the drop out rate after the first sacking is 49%, then I'd give one piece of advice only to first-timers. Know what you are looking for before you accept a position.

    Key question there is: how do you know what you are looking for if you've not had a chance to try it out before?

    It's rather like saying to a girl: if you don't marry the first boy you go out with, you're going to be a nun.

    Now I grant you, that might be the way to reduce teenage pregnancies, but it might also have rather less palatable unintended consequences too......

    Think about it.........

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  • 5. At 11:39am on 20 May 2009, DanielA9624 wrote:

    I think that this shows that young managers need to cut their teeth in lower leagues before moving to the higher levels of the game. The other addedd advantage of this is that these managers will have greater knowledge of the lower leagues when they do make it to the top, and this may in turn give an oppurtunity to some of these players in the future.
    Paul Ince is a case in point, though i beleive he made the move too early to the premier league, he was able to bring Keith Andrews with him, and he has managed to cut it at the top level.

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  • 6. At 11:49am on 20 May 2009, Blogcabin wrote:

    Where does Phil Brown fit in this argument?

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  • 7. At 11:52am on 20 May 2009, Letsby Avenue wrote:

    The reason that Cappello is correct "..football was the only profession where you could go from the shop floor to chief executive's office in one day.." is probably more to do with football, especialy in the UK, still being a feudal hierarchy. Where whims and diversions can play as important a role in appointments as skill and history.

    Ex-players like Wise and Wilkins, though having built up some alleged experience in management seem to counter the argument.Shearer and usually Keegan can be seen as diversionary tactics from beleaguered Chairmen needing to divert or dilute blame.

    The argument could mainly be to do with starting at the top, without an apprenticeship, rather than just starting. They say Geminis are unfit to lead, and the bottom six have a few of them amongst them, so is that an equal argument?

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  • 8. At 11:53am on 20 May 2009, Carey wrote:

    words of wisdom all. Success, like organic growth, is incremental in nature.

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  • 9. At 11:54am on 20 May 2009, Mr_Tribiani wrote:

    I believe experience is not only key on the pitch but also off the pitch. With time and experience as a manager you get to know how to read the game on the pitch and use some tactical nouse to make the right decision at the right time, but i think it would be fair to say that the mojority of the tactics used are off the pitch nowadays, in the press conference pre and post match has a huge impact on a game, as recently seen in this seasons war of words with SAF and Rafa, we can clearly see the winner not only in the war of the words but also in the league as well, also the handling of football players is vital. Take for example SAF he has man managed some of the greatest players of all time, but also some of the biggest characters in football, the likes of keane, cantona and now to the frequently petulant ronaldo, have all been taken under Sir Alex's wing and have achieved great things. so far the manager of the year should go to SAF as once again he has shown that it takes more thatn a good 90th minute substitution to win titles.

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  • 10. At 11:55am on 20 May 2009, Bhoycie06 wrote:

    Good blog!

    You get the impression that the fans and obviously in some way the board and chairmen of clubs too get caught up in the romance of a recently retired former club great matching his legacy on the pitch and being a great manager straightaway. How many Fulham fans were there dancing in the street to celebrate the appointment of Hodgson - compare to the reaction for Shearer at Newcastle. Crazy! We are all guilty of it though, being a Celtic fan I for one can't deny that if I read tomorrow Henrik Larsson was to be the new manager next season, I would be doing cartwheels. But why? Surely a manager of Strachans experience and track record so far with us is a better option? You just cant help it though! I hope other club chairmen in the UK follow the likes of Al Fayed in getting proper groomed experience managers in and let the recently retired pros get their badges and learn their trade rather than running the risk of these ex pros ruining their heroic status for all the hard work they had put into the playing side.

    Very interesting read though!

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  • 11. At 11:57am on 20 May 2009, ChocolateBoxKid wrote:

    The man management side of the job is possibly, more important than being tactically astute.

    Players going quickly into management could waste too much time trying to cope with the "poacher turned gamekeeper" scenario. This is where experienced managers who have dealt with primadonnas, trouble makers, quiet players and the like, should have the advantage.

    For example, Lawrie McMenemey wasn't tactically great, didn't do much on the training pitch, but he nearly always got it spot on with how he treated players. He knew from experience, which ones needed a kick up the backside and which ones you had to put an arm round their shoulder. He could see beyond some trouble makers and knew if you treated them right, they'd perform on the pitch for you and also mature as men off it.

    I don't think the ability to understand the person behind the player is at the forefront of a young manager's gifts. You can only learn that with age.

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  • 12. At 11:57am on 20 May 2009, Robbodinho89 wrote:

    Sometimes it takes a combination of experience and plain common sense. There seems to be a large gap in knowing how to play in the premiership and knowing how to manage in it, as seems the case with Shearer, Southgate and Co. The job the experienced Roy Hodgson has done, especially compared to Fergie and Redknapp he hasn't got anywhere near the funds that Man Utd and Spurs have, is amazing. I'm a Spurs fan, and even if our turnaround under Harry was amazing, Roy deserves to get Europa football simply because he has taken a team which last season was battling relegation and building a team that will hold its own in the premier league, especially in the bizarre first two thirds of this season. I have a lot of respect for Roy Hodgson.

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  • 13. At 11:58am on 20 May 2009, Cachwr Penffordd wrote:

    Although your point is sound, let it not be a smokescreen for the Newcastle situation. They are in their predicament for many reasons.

    Firstly their chairmen (current and previous). No proper guidance, and an illusory and unrealistic vision of where the club are and what their potential is.

    Secondly their myriad of coaches and managers barring Robson (dealt so poorly by players and club) and for a short period of time Keegan. Some have been inexperienced, others not so.

    Thirdly their fans (see point 1 only magnify it 100 times)

    And finally,(but more than any other reason) THE PLAYERS.... these are the common denominator.

    Personally, I think that a half decent manager would have kept them up, even in the time that Shearer has had. Newcastle are in their rightful place. They are one of the three worst sides in the division, and any result other than their relegation on Sunday would be cruel and unjust.

    And re : Shearer - it may be seen at the moment that he is not successful because of his inexperience. IMO we will still be saying this about him if he were coaching in 5 or 10 years time. Some people are not born coaches, but have the bluster to imply they will. Being a top player is not a ticket to being a top manager. Who remembers the playing careers of Pulis, Moyes, Redknapp or Hodgson, nor for that matter Wenger, Benitez, Hiddink or Ferguson. Add to that arguement the inglorious coaching failings of Bryan Robson, Bobby Charlton, Lawrenson, Moore, Gullitt, etc, etc . I think that in a few years time, we may be able to toss the name of Shearer on that bonfire. He should have stuck to his mundane mumblings on the MOTD settee.

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  • 14. At 12:04pm on 20 May 2009, JustAnOpinion wrote:

    I think it's a bit of a no-brainer to be honest. Why men with no management experience are brought into the top league in the country (if not the world) I can never understand.

    Where else would you bring in untried people to the top jobs? Even in football, you don't bring in a striker from youth football as your main man in the Premier League. You want at least some confidence that they can do the job. Why do it with the manager's role?

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  • 15. At 12:13pm on 20 May 2009, HonestDeclanLFC wrote:

    I would have to say interesting blog but i don't entirely agree though.

    The English League seems to be the ones in which experience comes through in management level but take for example Pep Guardiola for Barcelona this year. He has completed the domestic treble for the Catalans and is on for a possible treble with what is his first real management job after coaching Barcas second team. A great example though from the English divisions would have to be Kenny Dalglish at Liverpool. He won the Domestic double in his first year in charge and went on to win the league on three occassions and the FA Cup twice. Not bad with little or no managerial experience.

    In my opinion you really don't always need that experience to be a great manager if you have that natural ability and talent to coach and manage teams. Some are just born great and some have greatness thrust upon them.

    YNWA!

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  • 16. At 12:14pm on 20 May 2009, alwaysindoubt wrote:

    I'm not sure whether it is experience itself that is the factor in being a better manager, more that, in a highly competitive profession where you don't get many second chances if you survive for a number of years you are by definition likely to be pretty good at it.

    In other words it is a safer bet for a club to go for an experienced manager, as they wouldn't have had the opportunity to gain that experience if they were unsuccessful. Inexperienced managers may be able to do as good or better, or they may not, so it is more of a risk.

    I agree that good players do not necessarily make good managers, but then there is no reason to think that they would, so I am not sure why anyone would make that assumption.

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  • 17. At 12:17pm on 20 May 2009, martinp48 wrote:

    It seems to me you've decided what the answer is then have looked for facts to back it up.Rather than the other way around.This is summed up by the sacked managers, two of whom are hugely experienced.I'd also dispute Andy Roxburgh's comment about not throwing a talented youngster into a big game.I'm pretty sure Cloughie gave Roy Keane his debut against Liverpool without telling him he was going to play beforehand.

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  • 18. At 12:18pm on 20 May 2009, United Dreamer wrote:

    For me, THE manager of the season even if we win Champs League. I have always rated Hodgson extremely highly and felt he was the man to take over England. I'm happy to see his success this season. Every accolade he receives is well deserved.

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  • 19. At 12:18pm on 20 May 2009, Speroni_Ponytail wrote:

    Being a Palace fan I do think experience is key.

    Ok, so we were down in 15th place this season - but really that's not too bad given our squad, and if we consider the three teams that went down

    Norwich
    Southampton
    Charlton

    all three have recently come down from the premiership luck us, and none of them had significantly worse squads than we have.

    What I'm saying is that 90% of people (at least) that follow Palace feel secure under Warnock - we're not going to implode next season for example. He's done very very well under a tight budget, and for me doesn't get the credit he deserves.

    Obviously you are going to get some exceptions for managers that are young/inexperienced that can cut it but usually they are in the lower leagues (e.g. Martinez at Swansea is likely to end up in the premiership sooner rather than later).

    One final point I would make is that for me, making appointments based on sentiment nearly always spell disaster.

    for example, with us Taylor was way out of his depth at a team like Palace - no offense to Hull and Wycombe, but taking teams from league 2 to the championship is a whole different ball game to championship to the premiership. Furthermore, he was absolutely hopeless in the transfer market - and we're still feeling the effects of his reign even now.

    Once in a while you will appoint a club legend who will do well, but it often leads to problems. On match of the day, Shearer never appeared particularly intelligent, whereas you could tell whenver Steve Coppell did an interview - even when he first took over at Palace, aged 28, that he was an extremely intelligent man.

    One final thing though - i do think Southgate gets quite a lot of unjustfied stick. I mean apart from Alves, who was more a signing from the board anyway, what money has he had to spend? Not a hell of a lot. They are the 19th worst team in the league for me, and I don't think Southgate is fully to blame. Obviously he's made mistakes, but I feel Boro will bounce straight back up next year if they go down, and I applaud Steve Gibson for sticking with his man.

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  • 20. At 12:19pm on 20 May 2009, niallmckenna wrote:

    I think its interesting that many of the great managers were never regarded as great players, Fergie, Wenger, Mourinho, to name a few. I'm sure there are plenty more.

    Then you have a select few like Martin O'neill, Keegan and dalglish who with their great enthusiasm and the backing of a decent chairman or board can achieve good success.

    I think management needs a 'Bootroom' mentality where managers can start at the bottom and work their way up.

    In the case of shearer, I can't see how he can make a player go out and play, he's as boring as a bag of spuds!

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  • 21. At 12:21pm on 20 May 2009, Vox Populi wrote:

    One thing I will say is that all managers need a bit of luck, as well as time and patience.

    Roy Hodgson is being praised to the heavens in this article and by posters in the messages replying to it.

    I would say that Hodgson was experienced when he took the Blackburn job in the mid-1990s, he spent a hell of a lot of money there (£7.5m on Kevin Davies, £4m on Sebastien Perez, the British transfer record back then was £15m for Shearer, by way of comparison) and he flopped. Blackburn were relegated.

    Circumstances at Fulham this time round have suited him better. Perhaps Hodgson is better when he has to work with a limited budget, as opposed to when he has money. It can work out for a manager who previously failed in a different environment.

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  • 22. At 12:22pm on 20 May 2009, Tooncmn wrote:

    I think you have to add Joe Kinnear to the list that have had a stab at keeping Newcastle up and he has had experience since Al-Sharjah in 1978. Experience is experience where ever you start.

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  • 23. At 12:23pm on 20 May 2009, MrT wrote:

    I think one of the differences is the modesty and beliefs of the managers, people fresh in their jobs who recently retired from playing e.g. Ince and Shearer, were better players than some of the people they managed and possibly demand the same standards but don't have the man management skills needed.

    People say Ince had learnt his trade, but he was far less worthy of getting the chance than someone like Gary Johnson at Bristol City who has been around the lower leagues for years and has been able to fine tune his skills

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  • 24. At 12:24pm on 20 May 2009, MK Ram wrote:

    There's no point in having the pro-licence rules if clubs are still able to appoint who they wish by abusing loopholes and pleading 'special circumstances'. Boro's case that Southgate couldn't take his badges due to his England career was laughable....and the fact his appointment was then granted made it even more so!

    That said, it's also unhealthy that 'the same old names' keep getting the jobs. Repeated failure doesn't seem to affect reputations in football!

    Rather than appoint an overseas coach, more Prem clubs should appoint managers from the football league (and not just former big name players like Adams and Ince). David Moyes was lucky that Everton 'took a chance' on him, and clubs should use Moyes and Pulis as evidence that managers from the Championship (and below) are highly capable.

    People like Gary Johnson and Ronnie Moore have more than served their apprenticeships.

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  • 25. At 12:26pm on 20 May 2009, RedBlueArmy92 wrote:

    Dont think you can doubt that an experienced manager is the better choice... But then Pep Guardiola would probably argue with me...

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  • 26. At 12:29pm on 20 May 2009, Bergkamp is God wrote:

    tony adams fits the european quota to be a manager, hence my view he has been hard done by and wasnt given a fair chance. admittedly his managerial career didnt get off to a great start at wycombe but by his own admission that was too much too soon. He has since learnt the trade working at clubs like Feyernoord and then becoming Harry Redknapps assistant. although I dont think he is due for greatness as a manager i feel his time will come again soon and seeing his potential in management.

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  • 27. At 12:29pm on 20 May 2009, Rachadinho wrote:

    3 point deduction for teams who hire unqualified managers (i.e managers without the uefa pro liscnense)

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  • 28. At 12:30pm on 20 May 2009, Pasinho wrote:

    I feel for the young English managers, as the bigger and the more ambitious clubs tend to require both Champions League experience and silver ware. If you've started at a smaller club, how are you ever going to get either? For the big clubs, therefore, it seems to be the only option to go for an experienced and successful foreign manager. Slightly smaller clubs may go for ex-star players. I wish club owners would focus more on talent, which can be proved at lower level too, AND give the managers reasonable amount of time to develop their own squad and system.

    Another idea: since underperforming or seemingly underperforming managers can be sacked (with due compensation of course), how come underperforming players can just sit on their fat wages without fear of being sacked? I say they should have the same one month's notice period as most of us regular working people. Especially as they themseles can force a move our of their clubs while still in contract. Rights and responsibilities should go both ways. Now players have too much power, while managers have too much pressure and too little protection.

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  • 29. At 12:33pm on 20 May 2009, munslowl wrote:

    Pep Guardiola?

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  • 30. At 12:35pm on 20 May 2009, eurotour07 wrote:

    I think it goes without saying that managerial experience is vital for success.

    However, I think there are a number of facets to the problems that develop in England and the English management system.

    Firstly, there are design flaws inherent in the system. To get the top jobs in England you have to have a good track record and generally, a good amount of success. However, the top clubs almost have a monopoly on the trophies. Thus, British managers generally will never have the success to get the top jobs, unless they move abroad and enjoy success there.

    Secondly, if you are a young ambitious manager in the lower leagues and a Premiership team asks for your services, are you going to turn them down? Of course not, the money is good and the chance to work at the highest level is an opportunity not to be balked at. However, if you dont start well you may get the sack before you've had the chance to prove yourself. Or if you start well but have a bad season overall and get sacked you may not get a job again.

    This is exacerbated by the fact that if you turn down the offer to work at a higher level, you are generally labelled 'a bottler' and deemed not to have the mental attributes to work at the top.

    Indeed, life is tough for the inexperienced manager, particularly if they are already famous from their playing days.

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  • 31. At 12:38pm on 20 May 2009, UBRUBFC wrote:

    Ridiculous suggestion to throw Alan Shearer into the mix with those other managers. He has only been at Newcastle for 7 games! Give hime some time, that club was in a teriible way when he took over and best case scenario was Newcastle to just about avoid the drop. I hope they do and that he goes on to show what a good manager he will be.

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  • 32. At 12:39pm on 20 May 2009, dubdan wrote:

    Letsby Avenue (7), I'm sorry to hear that you think Gemini's are unfit for leadership. Be assured that JFK, Donald Trump, Che Guavara, Stephen Gerrard and I disagree.

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  • 33. At 12:42pm on 20 May 2009, Biscuiteater wrote:

    Simon, it's certainly nice to see you are fully qualified in the art of 'Stating the Bleeding Obvious'.

    Experienced qualified people do a lot better at a job than inexperienced and unqualified people, except when they don't, and therein lies the problem.

    But what any half decent club chairman knows, is its not only getting the best manager you can, but you must also have the best fit, the person that works within the culture of the club. It is the same as getting the right players. Get it wrong and no matter how good the manager is, it will end in tears. Clough at Leeds will I think be always the most stella example of that, but Chelsea and Newcastle have given us worthy examples this season.

    Zola is not only a man with a brilliant football mind, but you can see how he seems to fit hand-in-glove with the culture at West Ham. Alan Shearer, for all his lack of managerial experience, understands the culture at Newcastle. Time is not on his side this season, but he may have to learn his trade in the Championship before bringing them back to the Premiership. It could be Shearer is a very good long term bet for Newcastle. I cannot see him leaving for a bigger club. Maybe their managerial merry-go-round has ended for the forseable future.

    Owners/CEO's come in all shapes and sizes, some good, some bad. Some make shocking decisions then redeem themselves. The only consistancy is everybody seems to end up regretting employing Glen Roeder. Levy made shocking decisions replacing Martin Jol with Ramos. Redeemed himself poaching Harry Redknapp from Portsmouth. Some things are simply not straightforward as they may seem, and finding the right manager, whether in sport, or in commercial business, is one of them.

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  • 34. At 12:45pm on 20 May 2009, bramer wrote:

    This may sound rather discrimintory, but I feel intelligence is being over looked here. You can tell the failures in the way they talk. Adams, Pearce, Southgate, Robson (Bryan), Roeder...there just doesn't seem to be a spark behind the words. Gazza and Kettering anyone?!

    Pep Guardiola is one bright man. Mourinho is the same, Wenger has a Masters in Economics and Fergie is ruthless and demanding but smart about it. Hodgson has always been a good manager, you dont get the Inter job if you are not. Dr Jozef Venglos was good for Celtic too. Each successful coach has an aura about them, understating things and giving the impression of control. Experience teaches it, granted, but you have to be smart enough to pick it up quickly.

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  • 35. At 12:46pm on 20 May 2009, lumbering_carthorse wrote:

    Young and inexperienced managers have many problems facing them when they begin their careers. Its not just the idea of tactics and judgement of the games, its developing the man management skills that are required to get the best out of their players. Understanding what individual players can achieve and what they can do above and beyond what they currently feel they can do is one of the hardest skills to learn, not only in football but in all walks of life. So not only do experienced managers learn more about the game they learn more about the people they work with and therefore are generally in a much better position when things get tough or are expected to get tough.

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  • 36. At 12:49pm on 20 May 2009, teemu4pm wrote:

    Hodgson and Fulham have both been fantastic this season and deserve all their praise.

    However, I cannot believe this article has been written without even mentioning Harry Redknapp. One of the most experienced managers in the Football League, his achievments this year with Spurs from where they were to where they are now is almost miraculous.

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  • 37. At 12:49pm on 20 May 2009, briangar99 wrote:

    Comments made about Phil Brown and Pep Guardiola 'coming from nowhere' are fair, BUT whilst Phil is a relative novice, what a CV from Pep. An absolute natural who knows what he wants and has the clout to do it. They leave him alone to build his own brand but will have a few quid if needed. Exceptional character both on and off the pitch, apparantly.

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  • 38. At 12:50pm on 20 May 2009, LegWeakArmStrong wrote:

    What about Pep Guardiola?

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  • 39. At 12:50pm on 20 May 2009, HailTheMowbrayWay wrote:

    Its an intersting observation.
    Add Phil Brown and Tony Mowbray and you have the bottom 5 teams all with inexperienced managers at prem level.
    However, here's hoping our Tony can get it right next time, I wouldn't want to swap him for anyone

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  • 40. At 12:52pm on 20 May 2009, SportsSportsSportsBS wrote:

    I agree with the general argument of this article, but it falls down badly at Newcastle. Keegan and Kinnear have been in charge for the majority of the season, both hugely experienced managers. Although you could argue that it is after Kinnear's health problems that Newcastle really started to get into trouble, but their position is hardly the fault of Shearer.

    Furthermore, you highlight Allardyce as an example of a successful experienced manager, but his performance at Newcastle was also very poor.

    Each example is unique but to me this highlights that Newcastle United is a disaster from top to bottom, a succession of poor chairman and chief executives, unrealistic fans, poor squad structure. You could put some wonderfully experienced hybrid of Hiddink/Ferguson/Shankly/Clough in charge and they would still be poor, it's not the inexperienced Sherarer's fault.

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  • 41. At 12:54pm on 20 May 2009, ironDirkDiggler wrote:

    Everton and Moyes have NOT reasonably exceeded that which was expected of them pre-season.

    Unless finishing with less points is what they expected.

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  • 42. At 12:57pm on 20 May 2009, noorwich wrote:

    Pep Guardiola... managed Barcelona B for a couple of seasons before taking over the top job, gaining experience of managing and being able to learn from the other coaching staff at Barcelona.. therefore I would not put him in the same field as Shearer...

    Management needs a different skills set compared to a player, therefore a great manager will not always have been a great player ... Hodgson, Wenger, Mourinho, Ferguson, O'Neill, Moyes, Benitez are examples of this.

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  • 43. At 1:05pm on 20 May 2009, Julius Akinola wrote:

    Experience matters in all areas of life.
    A young graduate who got a manager job, cannot compete with the one with many years of experience at the back of the desk.
    Likewise, a young retired footballer should at least start from lower Divisions and from there move up.
    I don't think a good player will mean a good manager.

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  • 44. At 1:06pm on 20 May 2009, saintZaphod wrote:

    err Southgate - Yes its his first club - yes I think hes a poor manager but he has been there since June 2006 so hardly his first dance then.

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  • 45. At 1:11pm on 20 May 2009, martin5023 wrote:

    Quote:6. At 11:49am on 20 May 2009, Blogcabin wrote:
    Where does Phil Brown fit in this argument?

    Firstly, this is a debate NOT and argument, secondly what's your point Hull are still deep in the relegation zone in their first year of the EPL, when Brown's done something then your have your argument.

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  • 46. At 1:15pm on 20 May 2009, zolas_whu wrote:

    Zola's done a great job at wh (in my obviously unbiased opinion), had us playing a different formation and style to that which we were used to under Curbs, bad start but stuck to his guns and ended up with a very respectable 1st season just missing out on Europe, long may it continue, assuming we don't go bankrupt, and chelsea don't try to poach him!

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  • 47. At 1:17pm on 20 May 2009, paulcam wrote:

    Nearly a good point, but then right at the bottom you list the four managers sacked this season as Ince, Adams, Scolari and Ramos, two of whom are in thier fifties or sixties and have a wealth of experience behind them. If you then consider that last season saw Steve Coppel and Alex Mcleish go down than it does look more like this seasons young/old split is a bit of a one off.

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  • 48. At 1:19pm on 20 May 2009, United Dreamer wrote:

    "Firstly, this is a debate NOT and argument, secondly what's your point Hull are still deep in the relegation zone in their first year of the EPL, when Brown's done something then your have your argument."

    First manager to get Hull promoted to the premiership ever - beating Arsenal and drawing against Liverpool are great achievements with such a small club.

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  • 49. At 1:19pm on 20 May 2009, ruckdos wrote:

    "Gianluca has told me that he wishes he had been trained before getting those jobs in England"

    As a Watford fan I can only agree with that! Lack of experience can destroy a club...but surely the Chairmen have to take some blame?

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  • 50. At 1:24pm on 20 May 2009, Simon Austin wrote:

    Thanks for your comments everyone - some really interesting stuff in there. A few thoughts...

    * Pep Guardiola...a lot of you make a very good point there. He is in his first season as a top-level manager and many people say his is the best Barcelona team ever. Guardiola is steeped in the culture/ ethos of the club and cut his teeth with Barcelona B.

    * Newcastle...agreed on this one as well. It's very harsh to blame Shearer for the club's predicament when he's been there such a short time. He might still turn them round and a lot of damage was done before he was in the manager's seat.

    My starting point for writing this piece was how impressed I've been with the likes of Hodgson/ Pulis and also my surprise that clubs continue to appoint untried/ under-qualified managers. As Roxburgh says, surely football management should be regarded as a profession, as it is in Spain and Italy...

    But there are exceptions to the rule, without doubt! Keep the comments coming...

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  • 51. At 1:25pm on 20 May 2009, arab87 wrote:

    Excellent blog Simon.

    I am always amazed when Premiership clubs appoint people who are not football managers as football managers hoping they will be good at being football managers. Moyes, Allardyce, O'Neil, Ferguson, Hodgson, Wenger, Benitez, Hiddink, Redknapp, Curbishley (even Neil Warnock) etc etc all started out managing lesser teams usually in lower divisions, didn't always taste success and were quite often sacked. They were all learning how to be football managers while at these clubs though and as a result of the experience gained along with an obvious talent for the job they now find themselves in the position to be able to manage a football team in the best league in the world as they are football managers!

    People like Gareth Southgate, Paul Ince, Alan Shearer, Ian Dowie, Brian Robson, Gordon Strachan etc etc were not football managers at the time they were given jobs in the big league so what on earth are chairman thinking when they give these people control of their club and a massive pile of cash? They don't get the their tea ladies and pie sellers to do their accounting and auditing do they? No because that would be stupid! It might work out OK but probably won't it's that simple to understand so why do so many take this crazy risk!

    To be fair though the fact that big Sam was booed out of St James Park after a few months for doing a decent job and someone who isn't even a football manager gets cheered in shows that it isn't just the chairman who are to balme for some of the crazy goings on of late.

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  • 52. At 1:26pm on 20 May 2009, Alliterative hornet wrote:

    Doesn't Phil Brown have significant experience of the Premiership from being number 2 to Sam Allardyce for several years?

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  • 53. At 1:33pm on 20 May 2009, watchthatman wrote:

    In my view, experience of the club you are managing is as vital as club management experience. Alex Ferguson was an experienced and successful manager when he took over at Man Utd, but it took him a number of years to find success. That he was given the time is credit to the club, but his managerial success with Aberdeen was not immediately transferable, it only came with familiarisation with the Man Utd and the club's familiarisation with him.

    This might then lead to the conclusion that promotion from within is a good way to go and cite the succession of Liverpool managers from Shankley through to Dalglish as an example, but to be fair, each of Shankley's successors took over a successful side. Most managerial changes are made when a side is in trouble and promotions from within in this situation are not necessarily so successful.

    I think that the more experienced managers are, the easier they find it to understand a new club and what it needs to gain relative success, as they are more at ease with their own methods. For me, Roy Hodgson has worked wonders relative to last season. David Moyes is an excellent manager, constrained by limited resources, but continued success at Everton now means making a concerted assault on the top 4. Pulis has done well, but history shows that promoted sides can have an excellent first season (Reading, Ipswich...) but are prone to falter in the second season. So for me (and I don't mean to be harsh) a great first season but the jury is out on Pulis until this time next year.

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  • 54. At 1:36pm on 20 May 2009, redstar889 wrote:

    Too true. A manager for a big club in my opinion (ie any premier league team job) must have experience, ideas, and contacts.

    If you ply your trade in the lower leagues or other countries you will remember a number of players who have worked for you or played against you that you know would be capable of stepping up. You would also have friends in other countries or leagues who could contact you or your scouts if they discover a player that will do a job. Or you could sign Alfonso Alves for over £10 million... If my club (Rangers) got a manager without any experience then I would see it as terminal lack of ambition by the club owners. Something that Boro have just found out.

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  • 55. At 1:37pm on 20 May 2009, lordlaptop wrote:

    You only have to look at the English Premier League table to answer your question. Top 4 clubs are coached by the Top 4 most experienced coaches ( Ferguson, Benitez, Hiddink, Wenger - and not one of them English) and the clubs struggling at the bottom are coached mostly by in-experienced youngsters, all who hail from our shores - Shearer, Southgate,Brown,Sbragia with Mowbray having been around a bit longer. You cannot buy experience, no matter how much money your club has. The situation also highlights the arrogance of British football in failing to invest properly in coach training. With all the money slushing around the sport, there should be a much improved coach training programme right down to grass roots level. However as long as we can buy in experienced foreign coaches, that will not happen.

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  • 56. At 1:37pm on 20 May 2009, RoverBoi wrote:

    "Furthermore, you highlight Allardyce as an example of a successful experienced manager, but his performance at Newcastle was also very poor."

    It is hard to describe Allardyce's performance at Newcastle as very poor. The club were sat in 11th place on 30 points after 24 games. This season they have just 4 more points but 13 games later on in the season. Allardyce did fairly well compared to how they are doing this year and I imagine quite a few Newcastle fans would be much happier had Allardyce stayed in charge than they are with the current state. It is just typical Newcastle thinking they are such a big club and Allardyce wasn't good enough for them. As a Blackburn fan, I accept that his tactics are not pretty but he has done a good job with us and I would much rather his experience anyday than the younger managers, such as Ince and Adams who are failures. It is often a gamble to take on a less experienced manager and, during this season especially, that gamble seems to have backfired and clubs are paying the price.

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  • 57. At 1:40pm on 20 May 2009, Xavierneville wrote:

    My god I'm flabber-ghasted!

    This article is super and realy quite thought provoking, not I add intended to be a personal sleight but serves as a reminder to McNulty and the rest what blogging is about, rather than feeding the uneducated masses who just want knee jerk journalism.

    It's very clear that Players who have had to work at their game make better managers, they need to gain an advantage because others have greater naturl ability, I think it makes them better tacticians overall.

    I think that's were the edge is, because every manger has a personal style and it works with some players and no all. You need to find those players

    Let's not under estimate the power of luck, which actually translates to if you attack more the odds are you will get more decisions in your favour, more pens free kicks and apparent strokes of luck! It is just odds. The game favours attacking play.

    Players who have had a time served element to their career are always likely to be the better choice, they've seen more, experienced more and have better responses based on that experience

    One last point round pegs in round holes, very few players get away with playing out of position. A steady Left back will be better than a super star right midfielder if you play him at left back!

    Good article!

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  • 58. At 1:44pm on 20 May 2009, sounesstablishment007 wrote:

    Experienced managers have more success - State the obvious why don't you!
    I find it bizarre how the self-acclaimed 'best league in the world' doesn't even require a FIFA coaching qualification for somebody to become a manager.

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  • 59. At 1:45pm on 20 May 2009, nigeyy wrote:

    I agree that chances of success are drastically reduced unless you've had a chance to hone your skills and practiced applying them. As others have said, there are always exceptions. There are other tangible assets that come into the equation though:

    -the Time Frame
    Can morale be turned around? is the team you inherit so far behind on points there is no realistic way to salvage a season? And dropping down a league handicaps you even further financially, making it that much harder to succeed.

    -Money Available
    Will the likes of Rochdale and Wycome stride the halls of the premier legaue -and with respect to Rochdale and Wycombe fans, but financially, they are not in the same league as the Liverpools, Arsenals, Man Utds and Chelseas. Did anyone ever expect Wimbledon to be in the premier for a long term? Or will anybody put big money on Wigan enjoying another 10 years in the premiership?

    -Qwner Support
    Are you being undermined from the top? Are decisions that should be yours made effectively by internal pressure?

    -Player Availability
    Many teams have those one or two core players that the team would sorely miss if injured long term. This is where money comes into it; I'm not sure Man Utd's second or third eleven couldn't win the league!

    -Bit of Luck
    In the long term no, but having all your best players healthy for a particularly important game, or having a ref call a penalty that makes a difference between 1 or 3 points. Personally, I think given all the above, this is the least important. Almost all the time, a team makes its own luck.

    I'm not saying, for example, that Sir Alex Ferguson is a bad manager, but when you have the sort of financial backbone to play with that Man Utd have, surely it's easier to sign players who can cover up some of your shortcomings tactically, or even injuries? And really, when I say that, I'm not trying to put down SAF before anyone gets defensive, just making a point that his accomplishments though great, haven't been without the money factor.

    Managers I'm impressed by aren't necessarily the ones who win trophies or leagues -I'm more impressed with managers who do more with less, and show truly without some of the advantages of other clubs, they can still prosper. Off the top of my head for the premiership, obviously Roy Hodgson and Steve Bruce this season, Alan Curbishley with Charlton in years past, and Sam Allardyce spring to mind. Sadly because of the kind of clubs they've managed, I think all of them have been overlooked.

    I have to admit I was puzzled by Alan Shearer's selection as Newcastle manager, and even more puzzled by his decision to take it. What experience has he got? Did he know what he was getting himself in for? At this time in the season? I also agree with other posters who say that had Sam Allardyce still been there, I don't think Newcastle would be where they are now.

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  • 60. At 1:46pm on 20 May 2009, spursperhaps wrote:

    I agree with the sentiments here, experience is a must, but also I would like to see some more longetivity. Managers do need time, not just experience, in todays climate even Sir Alex would not ahve survived based upon his first couple of seasons at United.

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  • 61. At 1:50pm on 20 May 2009, goonerfordham wrote:

    To say that "Shearer, Southgate, Ince and Adams were undoubtedly magnificent international players, but research shows that top players don't enjoy greater success as managers" is a bit misleading with as the stats for former international's who are manager show the highest win percentage at 35.2%. If you place these four managers in to the former international category then technically they would enjoy the higest win rate.

    Obviously if you manipulate it to class them in the ex-Premier League players category then your argument works with a percentage of 34.5% wins. Why butter them up as being "magnificent international players" in the first place to then knock them down as 'just' being ex-Premier League players in order to show them as being less successful?

    I do agree with your arguments around the employment of under qualified ex-pros, which applies particulaly in the case of when Gareth Southgate took charge of 'boro whilst requiring to pass two coaching badges before he could even be close to the Premier League 'minimum' standards of being enrolled on a Pro License course. All because of the excuse of being an ex-international.

    Having said all of that though, Pep Guardiola is doing a bad job in his first season at the top having served his apprenticeship with the reserves.

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  • 62. At 2:00pm on 20 May 2009, Oldshawfieldboy wrote:

    Those interested in this blog may like to read a book by Vialli and Marcoti called 'The Italian Job'. It is a comparison of everything to do with football primarily comparing and contrasting football in Italy and England, which both writers have most experience of. There is a chapter on managment/coaching which considers the history of managing, how the managers were and are prepared in both countries and the point about appointment of recently retired players is considered in detail. It would inform the blog and lend insights that have not yet been considered.

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  • 63. At 2:08pm on 20 May 2009, agb17agb wrote:

    I wonder why so many of the great managers in the English game have been Scots? One possible reason is that retired Scottish players can more easily get "top level" management experience in Scotland, albeit that for the most part the top Scottish league is a notch or even two notches below the English equivalent. These guys are still managing in their own "top division", not some tiny attendance, low aspiration, even semi-pro lower league in England. A later move to England - where we speak more or less the same language! - is then a easier step up onto a much, much bigger stage.

    Over the years, I haven't seen many players who, after being stars at United, Liverpool, Chelsea etc, are really keen to go and be the Assistant or even the Manager at a third division club out in boondocks. But what *may* be changing, as English clubs become more "continental" in their organization, is that retired players do now really see a career path as a number 2 or even number 3 specialist coach in their former big club, and see that as a learning route to the Big Job. Not so long ago, assistant managers and coaches in even the old First Division were often treated as old hangers-on, rather than as pros is a sophisticated set up.....

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  • 64. At 2:27pm on 20 May 2009, CamdenPalace wrote:

    42. At 12:57pm on 20 May 2009, noorwich wrote:
    Pep Guardiola... managed Barcelona B for a couple of seasons before taking over the top job, gaining experience of managing and being able to learn from the other coaching staff at Barcelona.. therefore I would not put him in the same field as Shearer...

    Management needs a different skills set compared to a player, therefore a great manager will not always have been a great player ... Hodgson, Wenger, Mourinho, Ferguson, O'Neill, Moyes, Benitez are examples of this.


    I think two time European Cup winner, Martin O'Neil might feel a bit miffed to be lumped alongside Hodgson, Wenger, et al, as a player!

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  • 65. At 2:27pm on 20 May 2009, encore wrote:

    The high profile former players mentioned come under far more scrutiny than other managers simply because it gets better headlines for them to fail. All those mentioned have been with lesser clubs that cannot hope to consistently perform well in the prem. All such clubs inevitably have bad seasons and whilst the likes of Coppell/Curbishley escape criticism for "just a bad season" southgate/shearer/robson etc are pilloried simply because it makes better press.
    Fulham have had a great season but I would not be surprised to see them in the lower reaches of the division next year and Stoke will probably struggle to survive a 2nd season but no doubt Hodgson and Pulis would not attract the same negativity as the ex players mentioned if they did

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  • 66. At 2:27pm on 20 May 2009, smashingredXI wrote:

    Good article.

    When Ince won promotion from league 2 with MK Dons, people at Blackburn Rovers and beyond loved to cite his 'experience' in the lower leagues in an attempt to justify his premature rise to the premier league.

    I wonder if anyone in the PL will get so excited this summer about the prospect of pinching Andy Scott from Brentford?

    I also wonder where Barca would finish even if they'd had me in charge this season. They wouldn't have come lower than second in the SPL - sorry - La Liga. Guardiola has proven nothing really: he did not create that team. When Avram Grant came in at Chelsea people gave him very little credit and said he was just steering Mourinho's ship; where's the difference between Grant and Guardiola?

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  • 67. At 2:30pm on 20 May 2009, kwinquark1 wrote:

    #32 Dubdan, does this indicate a Gemini leader has a 50% chance of being shot?

    and BisuitEater - is Cloughie as a 'Stella' example a pun in any way?

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  • 68. At 2:36pm on 20 May 2009, markshortland wrote:

    As many others have already written, this is an interesting blog.
    But there's one thing no-one has as yet said:
    GET YOURSELF A SCOT
    is the best advice you could give a club chairman. Just look at the evidence: Shankly, SAF, Strachan, Moyes
    And that's coming from an Englishman who lives in Germany.
    PS: Don't bother listing the failures we've seen over the years, such as Souness. The successes more than outweigh the failures.

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  • 69. At 2:38pm on 20 May 2009, Orkaambe wrote:

    The case is not one merely of inexperienced managers (if that were the case, Juande and Scolari wont have been axed). Most club sides are not patient with managers and this adversely affects output. If truth be told, there is only one champion at season's end. All 20 sides can't be champions. Thus the better funded clubs always win.

    On the other hand, novices like Zola (his assistant, Steve Clark is hugely experienced and well paid for that) has been successful because he had the backing of the club. Even when results were poor, the team did play well and improved thereafter.

    Having said that, clubs should learn to appoint competent managers and keep faith with their methods. M'Boro is an example where Southgate has received the support of the club during a rough patch. That they face relegation only demonstrates the quality of resources at southgates' disposal and not his experience.

    Like the 'special one' said in his penultimate press briefing as Chelsea manager: Omelettes and eggs. No eggs, no omelettes. And the quality of the omelette depends on the quality of the eggs.

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  • 70. At 2:41pm on 20 May 2009, mr_big_nose wrote:

    The biggest problem in the premiership is the demand for results and the subsequent little time managers are afforded to provide these results.

    Im surprised managers want to work in England, when you consider the way some are treated, Avram, Jol, Sven, Big Sam at Newcastle. When will clubs realise that time is the key. Look at the likes of Man U, Fergie has been there 26yrs, Wenger at Arsenal 10yrs, Benitez at Liverpool 5/6yrs (i think)Moyes at Everton: given time managers cvan install a culture, get to know the club, who they are working with, build something strong.

    The problem is clubs arent willing to be patient to get results, they want them immediately and so rush managers in and out, back room staff and players along with them in the process and no consistency is built, clubs become volatile entities.

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  • 71. At 2:47pm on 20 May 2009, ihopebarcawin wrote:

    i have a lot of friends who are Bristol City fans who when they hear the mention of Tony Pulis name get a bitter taste in their mouths. Am sorry but for me the manager of the season has to be old 'Arry at spurs, to take them from bottom to almost qualifiying to Europe is pretty incredible.

    As for Shearer, great player but not sure he has what it takes, and I won't be missing southgate or Borough next season.

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  • 72. At 3:10pm on 20 May 2009, U11846789 wrote:

    Don't agree. Don't see much evidence to support it either.

    A good manager is born. Not made. True, he/she can improve with experience - but they can also get worse, get out-of-touch.

    Someone can either do it, or they can't.



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  • 73. At 3:14pm on 20 May 2009, markshortland wrote:

    PS to 68:
    Don't forget Jock Stein, either

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  • 74. At 3:15pm on 20 May 2009, Bangsarayspur wrote:

    Bangsarayspur here,

    I think it is quite simple: If the Manager happens to be someone who has power (Sir Alex) and if The Board is prepared to acknowledge that and give him money to spend then in all probability he will have his way and momentum will carry him and the Club forward. Success breeds success.

    Conversley, if the Manager is someone who has ideas (say Ray Hodgeson) but no power because of a lack of profile or previous acheivement then whatever that Manager does successfuly has, in my opinion, at least the same value. Some may say that his results are more valuable. (They ceratinly are to Fulham).

    Then take a Manager like Harry Redknapp - someone who has acheived good results wherever he has operated. He simply knows what he is doing, unlike inexperienced Managers - Paul Ince being a good example. There is no doubt that Spurs are on a better footing than they were, money has been spent but more wisely, in my opinion, than before when Sporting Directors were in charge of the purse-strings.

    So, my conclusion is that experience counts and that a Board of Directors should not try to fix a system (Manager) that is not broken. Continuity does count but if you are lucky (Fulham) then sometimes a maverick will do the trick.

    Good luck to Fulham in Europe, what a refreshing outcome to a roller-coaster season.

    (COYS, can't resist it).

    Bangsarayspur. (That's Thailand for you that don't know).

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  • 75. At 3:18pm on 20 May 2009, Orkaambe wrote:

    @66 - I also wonder where Barca would finish even if they'd had me in charge this season. They wouldn't have come lower than second in the SPL - sorry - La Liga. Guardiola has proven nothing really: he did not create that team. When Avram Grant came in at Chelsea people gave him very little credit and said he was just steering Mourinho's ship; where's the difference between Grant and Guardiola?

    Grant inherited Mourinho's team and progressed thereof with significant progress as per champions league finalist. However, you will agree that Chelsea failed to measure up when it most mattered lossing the league carelessly. On the other hand, Guardiola was appointed before the season commenced and he tinkered with the team. The team wears his distinct touch in the absence of Ronaldihno, Deco, Zambrotta and Thuram to mention but four. Frank won nothing with Barca in the two seasons predating Pep's appointment.

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  • 76. At 3:22pm on 20 May 2009, william harper wrote:

    Set Stoke as an example. A chairman with a thorough knowledge of the game which gives him the nouse to employ Tony Pulis as manager and give him time support and a reasonable ammount of cash to build a tough hardworking team. Pulis comes in and puts together a squad of players who in season 1 miss out of the playoffs by a few points,gain promotion in season2, and hold their own in season 3 with a squad of players who work for each other and give 100% for the club.and the one thing that comes over is that there is little dissent at the club,Tony Pulis was a tough no nonsense midfielder and his team reflects that work ethos.Pulis has the respect of his chairman and his players,proof of the pudding etc.

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  • 77. At 3:36pm on 20 May 2009, ashSNhero wrote:

    I'm not sure you can include Shearer in this analysis since it wasn't him that got Newcastle into the mire. Otherwise an interesting piece.

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  • 78. At 3:56pm on 20 May 2009, U13972507 wrote:

    Roy Hodgson manager of the season. I'm a United fan but I don't think United winning the title again is as big an achievement as what he as achieved at Fulham this year.

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  • 79. At 3:57pm on 20 May 2009, Kole wrote:

    POST 66...Interesting .......................PEP GUARDIOLA AND AVRAM GRANT...........WISH I COULD SLAP YOU.

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  • 80. At 4:00pm on 20 May 2009, martin5023 wrote:

    Quote: United_dreamer... First manager to get Hull promoted to the premiership ever - beating Arsenal and drawing against Liverpool are great achievements with such a small club.


    WOW if that's what you call achievement in Hull your brains must be the same as the club....SMALL!

    Win something worthwhile and stay in the EPL First then your have your argument

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  • 81. At 4:03pm on 20 May 2009, mainsheettrim wrote:

    Apart from Roy Hodgon's undoubted abilities he is a pleasure to listen to after a game. He analyses the match succinctly, never moans about his luck or blames the referee for a loss and is gracious in victory. How many managers can you say that about !

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  • 82. At 4:05pm on 20 May 2009, Yourbustingmyballs wrote:

    It is custom to have talent aswell as experience in order to succeed at the top level in any league. Having read most of the posts, people talk of how former star players like Adams, Ince, etc etc fail to make the transition from player to manager. Good Managers must have good interpersonal skills and must be able to project manage and control budgets... this goes for any manager in any discipline. I read recently that Steve Coppell obtained a degree in Economics when he retired as a result of injury at 28. He then went on to manage over 1000 games at club level, enjoying success as both Crystall Palace and Reading. Arsene Wenger has a dregree in Sports Sciences and can speak 7 languages. Now im not saying every player should go out and get an Honours, a masters and a PHD and be able to converse in 14 languages, i simply think managers should have professional qualifacations before managing a big club with big sums of money involved. In part it is highly irresponsible from the chairpersons decision making to hire a manager with little or no experience. Would Microsoft hire a year out graphics designer to design and implement their new operating system.. of course not, because they would lack the professional expertise required to succeed. In football it is no different.

    I am a fan of Pep Guardiola as he has shadowed previous managers while being in a more junior role at the club. You look at the positions of the Premier leagues elite clubs, Manchester United are best placed for employing within. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is currently the head coach of the Man Utd reserves and is having some success there. It is also understood Ferguson wants Giggs to join his coaching staff. However the possibility of a club recruiting someone internally relies on whether the player in question is grounded and sensible. It does not seem plausible to have a Craig Bellamy, a Joey Barton or a Cristiano Ronaldo succeeding as a manager as their inflated egos would distort the balance of teams. With Barcelona this has worked but it is yet to be seen in the premiership. This system is untried, but if given a chance we may see an inlfux of homegrown talented managers who have shadowed more established managers while being in a more junior role. Only time will tell.

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  • 83. At 4:09pm on 20 May 2009, HoldenIBM wrote:

    I suspect that over the next few seasons we'll see fewer managers being sacked only months into the job. More often than not it doesn't work. For every Blackburn that survives after sacking a manager, there are several clubs (Derby County springs to mind, and Leeds Utd) that go on to worse performances and eventual relegation. Also, it's expensive to terminate a manager's contract, and clubs will be wary of this additional expense during the recession.

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  • 84. At 4:17pm on 20 May 2009, smashingredXI wrote:

    @ Orkaambe -

    Maybe I'm not being entirely fair to Pep. I cannot say he has done a bad job. But:

    1) Most of the players you mention were on their way out of Barca with or without his say so due to either age (Thuram) or decline (Ronaldinho) I think the first team would have been similar this season regardless of whether Rijkaard or he were in charge. Their midield and attack picks itself so I don't think you can overstate his input too much.

    2) The point I am making in comparing him with Grant is that everyone is using Guardiola as an example of a young manager who is able to acheive immediate and notable success, but I think that his success is no more remarkable than Grant's considering that they both inherited very good teams. I know Grant didn't win anything but I thought he did a great job and nearlly achieved so much. Not many people rate Grant though.

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  • 85. At 4:22pm on 20 May 2009, filpool wrote:

    Speaking as a Blackpool fan, I'd like to point out what a fantastic job Tony Parkes did for us after Grayson scarpered to Leeds. His know-how was a godsend at a very tricky time, and we defied gravity really. I fully expected us to go down, especially as the 8 loan players we had at the time all went back to their clubs week later and didn't return.

    Yet Blackpool's board, in its infinite wisdom, has effectively kicked Parkes into touch. Grayson proved that experience isn't necessary, perhaps - but he did it with Parkes as his number two, and I fear we may live to regret his departure. Experience clearly is a very valuable asset in football management.

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  • 86. At 4:25pm on 20 May 2009, Ginger wrote:

    Too much emphasis is placed on the name of the manager and not his qualities. This isn't surprising in today's celebrity blinkered world.

    Tony Adams made himself look stupid at Pompey and Ince not much better at Blackburn.

    I would have Roy at Man U if SAF was to step aside, even in 5 years.

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  • 87. At 4:28pm on 20 May 2009, thehandofblog wrote:

    It doesnt matter how much experience you have in coaching if you are a bad coach. But of course it makes sense to gain experience in the lower leagues, not least because the inevitable mistakes of a novice will go largely unnoticed there. In the Premier League a bad MOTD and press interview, for example, will haunt you for the rest of your carer. Think of David OLeary and my babies. It never ceases to amaze me that a former high-profile player can gain a top coaching job simply because. he was a former high-profile player. I think it was Arrigo Sachi who said you dont need to have been a horse to be a jockey. In any case, the most important quality for any top class coach/manager is intelligence. You can gain experience, but you cannot gain that.

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  • 88. At 4:29pm on 20 May 2009, madeiraman57 wrote:

    I realise that the Premiership - holy grail - status is always a massive need for club owners and fans , but expectation always outdoes reality.
    One things certain , great players ( and egos ) are rarely suited to Management and will invariably fail when thrown in at the deep end ie at the top level, when clubs are in trouble !!.
    These same players (egos )seem very reluctant to do their ' apprenticeship ' as most other Managers in Commerce or Business MUST do.
    Few graduates - even with Degrees coming out of their ying yang would be appointed to senior management ( CEO ) status , not when 100 million quid budgets / huge turnovers apply.
    Great managers are made , not born.
    I think young Cloughie is the best of the new order, I think he will know when he is ready, take note Chairman.

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  • 89. At 4:33pm on 20 May 2009, James Dunmore wrote:

    Adams - excellent coach, just not ready for management - yet. Arsenal should get him on board to coach the defence, he can learn the reigns from Wenger, then one day, when he is really ready, he can take over as manager !

    But I agree, we seem to want to fast track our fav players into top class managers, seems a bit odd.

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  • 90. At 4:40pm on 20 May 2009, Long_live_RVN wrote:

    This is a very good blog and most of this is true.
    The Newcastle case though has been coming since the stabbed Bobby in the back. It is a team which just can never defend with fans who think they should win the league after one good run in one season. If everyone up north got realistic then they wouldnt be in this mess.
    Their are cases which are exempt from this experience rule. Peterborough United have a unexperienced manager and owner, but they have created a very successful team and will do very well in the championship. Pep at barca is anyother one but he was a brilliant leader on the pitch and has got the players diciplined.
    I would like to say well done to Fulham and Roy who at times played the best football in the league. I hope it happens next year,(that is if man city and spurs, dont steal all the players).

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  • 91. At 4:46pm on 20 May 2009, HoppersFFC wrote:

    Roy Hodgson has done a fantastic job, he has totally transformed the club. He's instilled confidence in the players, a sense of calm that runs through Craven Cottage to the fans. Fulham fans are used to turbulent seasons but Roy has introduced consistency and a team identity. We have a brand of football now that suits the classic aesthetic of the club.

    I can see Roy being with us for a long time and it fills me with confidence for the future. I know we will never infiltrate the top 4. But the odd appearance in second rate European competitions and a long stay in the premier league will please me.

    Roy Hodgson is a very deserving candidate for "Manager Of The Year". He is by far the most deserving candidate.

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  • 92. At 4:49pm on 20 May 2009, mike wrote:

    The key to management is the ability to affect change and how to do carry out change. Change usually involves upsetting people from what they previously did.
    This means a manager must have a strong personality and a degree of intuition about people and how to manage individuals.

    However, possessing these traits does not guarantee success. The organization which the manager operates in needs to accept the need for change. For example, Sir Alex Ferguson is universally agreed to be a great football manager. But would he have achieved anything different if he had been at Newcastle Utd at the start of the season? Would the players and supporters responded to the change positively? I think we could assume that regardlessly Newcastle Utd wouldn't win the Premier League.

    This I find is the most baffling thing about football management is the resistance to change within a failing club. Many clubs bring in 'new' managers because the 'old' management wasn't working. That means something must change either in the personnel or working conditions. It is amazing how many chairmen and directors then resist change and do not support the new man.
    Also clubs hiring and firing lots of managers should be asking if the person doing the hiring and firing needs to change.

    One other thing, is that relegation from the Premiership is seen as a huge failure for a manager-and usually results in the sack. But three teams have to be relegated and for teams like West Brom and Hull City it is no disgrace. I think it is an achievement that some West Brom and Hull City have fought for so long. Certainly most Hull City fans at the start of the season would have been glad to be in this position on the last game.

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  • 93. At 4:55pm on 20 May 2009, focusonthefooty wrote:

    anyone else thinking - they have all got to start somewhere?

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  • 94. At 5:13pm on 20 May 2009, The Unused Substitute wrote:

    I agree that experience is a fundamental base of success for football managers, but everyone has to start somewhere right?

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  • 95. At 5:22pm on 20 May 2009, r f steele wrote:

    What amazes me with these young managers is that many of them
    are apointed to clubs with absolutly no qualifacations or
    manegarial skills WHY they are sucked onto a mass frenzy by
    many of the fans,who recall them as their playing idols.
    a point brought home by the religation struggling two north east
    premier teams,who are as usefull as the speaker of the house in parliament.


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  • 96. At 5:26pm on 20 May 2009, Rob wrote:

    I don't think that it's necessarily a given that experience will triumph over youth. This season it has maybe seemed that way, granted.

    First we have Sbragia, who I think has done a reasonable job but had always said he didn't want it in the first place and in truth I think is really just keeping the seat warm for a new manager in the off-season. He has had some good wins but also patches of bad form. That said, fourth-bottom, where it looks like Sunderland will finish, is a decent result for them.

    Then we have Southgate. It has to be said that 'Boro are not any longer a team competing for minor honours and Europe as they were under McLaren, but this is mostly not Southgate's fault. While I think he has to take some blame for the way this season has gone, the players at Boro have underperformed too, simply not scoring enough goals despite playing well at times. Certainly Southgate has kept the team motivated, but they're probably going down. At least it seems like Southgate'll get another year there.

    Then Shearer. To be honest, sacking Keegan/not acceeding to his demands for control over transfer policy was the worst thing Newcastle could have done. In fact, ever since they sacked Allardyce, Newcastle have been steadily sinking. Kinnear, no disrespect to him, was never a good idea even if he did make a solid start. He had been out of management too long and was not really prepared for the pressure of the job. Had Keegan stayed, I think Newcastle would be top 10 or at least top 12 at this point.

    Shearer I think has been quite poor so far, 7 games, only 1 win. Newcastle should be doing better than that, even if Shearer inherited a team in a bad position, they have just continued their steady slide since he arrived. You would have expected him to get a couple of wins at least by now as the energy he would have been expected to have brought to the club by his very presence should have lifted them, and the players they have are technically good enough for a solid mid-table position.

    Tony Adams at Portsmouth was the other 'inexperienced' manager, though it should be pointed out that he has had three/four years of coaching experience at Portsmouth. For me, Adams was a bit unlucky with injuries and the like, but made some tactical errors that cost him. His record did not make good reading.

    On the other hand, even if we accept that these guys have largely failed this year (when I personally believe that Sbragia at least has done pretty well and the other guys could put at least some blame on their circumstances), there have been a number of young managers who have excelled in recent years. Guardiola from this season, Mark Hughes at Blackburn/Wales, the Croatian national coach whose name eludes me, Klinsmann and Van Basten too.

    Overall, I don't believe top jobs should be confined to just experienced coaches. Experienced coaches can bring know-how, but they can also bring outdated tactics, lack of energy and drive. Young coaches meanwhile can be very intelligent and energetic, though they are also more likely to make mistakes, as you would expect. On balance though, young coaches have done alright in recent years, and I see no reason why they shouldn't be considered for a job in the Premiership on the basis of one season.

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  • 97. At 5:28pm on 20 May 2009, singhy wrote:

    Since you involve the Football League in your statistics, it's probably worth point out that David Moyes started out as a player-manager at Preston North End, and indeed was only managing for c. 2-3 years (I think) before going on to manage Everton after taking Preston to the Championship Play-Off final. All managers need to be first-time managers somewhere!

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  • 98. At 5:29pm on 20 May 2009, Biscuiteater wrote:

    #67 kwinquark1 wrote:

    and BisuitEater - is Cloughie as a 'Stella' example a pun in any way?
    ref to comment #33

    Well spotted kwinquark1. In hindsight not the best choice of word.

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  • 99. At 6:08pm on 20 May 2009, NotJohnIrving wrote:

    I admit that I thought Fulham were almost certain for relegation at the start of the season. Hodgson has done a magnificent job, and I can see my opinion of him was entirely wrong.

    He's clearly been doing the old-fashioned job of actually managing a team so that it starts playing well as a unit. I think he should be manager of the year, because their success this year seeems to be directly related to his work, and not any outside factors, or star players.

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  • 100. At 6:14pm on 20 May 2009, tomaspelota wrote:

    No one has mentioned Josep Guardiola at FC Barcelona. He's a first-time manager on the brink of an historic triple with the Catalan outfit.. I suppose the Champions League final will put the experience theory to the test with the battle hardened Ferguson taking on the new kid on the block. Any predictions?

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  • 101. At 7:30pm on 20 May 2009, Roberto_Mexicano wrote:

    A good piece.

    The Premier League is no place for first-time, or inexperienced managers anymore. It's the best league in the world, with the majority of the best coaches in the world. To succeed against the likes of Ferguson, Wenger, Hiddink, Benitez, and even the likes of Roy Hodgson, Sam Allardyce, Harry Redknapp and Martin O'Neill you have to know what you're doing. You can't be learning your trade.

    There's not a single example I can think of in recent times of a successful first-time manager in the Premier League. Some would say Zola at West Ham, but he was doing horribly before they got Steve Clarke in there as assistant - That's what inexperienced managers need. An exceptional and experienced number 2 to help guide them, and even then there's no guarentee. Ince went to Blackburn with his backroom team from MK Dons, so there was no premier league experience or experience of working with Premier League standard players in that case.

    The one that really baffles me is Middlesbrough! Southgate took over a team that had been comfortably mid-table and UEFA Cup runners-up the season before, had a poor first season and has just got worse and worse in taking them towards relegation this season. And that's at a club that is supposedly really well run! How long does your washing machine need to be broken before you accept you need to replace the faulty part?!

    There's plenty that complain young English managers need to be given a chance, but not in the Premier League anymore. The levels just too high. Unless they show Jose Mourinho-like genius they should be spending 4 or 5 years in the championship or lower leagues, then maybe progressing to European leagues like Holland, France or Portugal for another 5 years to make a name for themselves and continue to learn before they take on the toughest league in the world.

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  • 102. At 7:34pm on 20 May 2009, MightyJoseMourinho wrote:

    Experience over youth is not neccesarily right it depends on how you approach the job as a manager. If you go for the Fergie/Wenger model where they are in complete control then experience is important. But Alan Shearer is only in his first job but i believe he will keep newcastle in the premier league and be a great manager. It pains me to say it but at the present newcastle have got the right set up. Shearer is inexperienced but surrounded by experienced advisers that will help him with strategy.

    As for manager of the year i think Harry Redknapp or David Moyes or possibly Roy hodgson. What harry has done for spurs this season is amazing starting bottom of the league and now on the brink of uefa football, the same with Roy hodgson at fulham, many predicted they would be in a relegation battle but they are pushing for uefa football. David Moyes at everton is just a ledgend he has turned what is,a small club (FORGIVE ME!) into regular top six contenders who occasionally may have a stab at a champions league spot. Moyes has done all of this without spending any real money so essentially he is a legend.

    if he wasn't devoted to Everton i would have him at the mighty Chelsea next season!!

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  • 103. At 7:35pm on 20 May 2009, agb17agb wrote:

    [first attempt at this post suddenly vanished from my composing screen...]

    When Sir Alex F. hung up his playing boots, I'm pretty certain that he still needed a job and an income, and management was attractive to him. But these days even squad players in the Premiership will probably retire comfortably rich (unless they are total financial jerks), and a starting team regular for 4 or 5 years in the Top Ten will retire very rich indeed. Of those few who will nevertheless be interested in management as a second career, how many will really want to step outside the "Golden Ring" in which they've been living? With few exceptions, I suspect that they will want to parachute into a high-profile Premiership job rather than accepting the grind of suddenly being Assistant Coach at Oldham for 4 years (well, maybe Paul Scholes would be OK with that!). The only "top flight" alternative is, say, the Solskaer route: a junior coaching job, but with your own former top-level club: but those opportunites are always going to be few and far between.

    Maybe that's another reason why top players don't usually become top managers. It's not just a "character" thing, it's that only the lower playing-ability guys a) need the work these days, and b) have an ego better adapted to the sheer hard work of learning the trade thoroughly, somewhere away from the glamour.

    AGB

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  • 104. At 7:37pm on 20 May 2009, StoKeith wrote:

    Point 53 - Watchthatman - how can you say the jury is still out on Pulis? During his 18 year career as a manager, he has never been relegated, often taking charge of clubs that seemed doomed like Stoke when he first took over and Plymouth where he steadied the ship for a year.

    I think he's more than proved himself and don't come out with the line that the Premiership is completely different and much harder. Stoke have fully deserved to stay up this year and instead of teams working Pulis and Stoke out, as many suggested would happen, it seems that Pulis and Stoke have "worked out" the rest of the division and performances and results improved as the season progressed.

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  • 105. At 7:37pm on 20 May 2009, Orkaambe wrote:

    @ smashingredXI -

    I now get the comparism you intended. Grant is a good coach, just not good enough for Chelsea's ambitions. His substitutions were questionable and the team lacked impetus at critical stages in the EPL and CL. He could not contain the egos of key players. That said, Grant deserves more credit in comparism to the stewardship of his successor.

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  • 106. At 7:39pm on 20 May 2009, Roberto_Mexicano wrote:

    # 96 -

    You say that experience doesn't always triumph over youth, then go on to spew the reasons why all the youngsters have failed! lol

    You then give examples of "a number of young managers who have excelled in recent years" such as Mark Hughes, who was a fairly seasoned international manager before taking the Blackburn job, where there was no pressure to succeed (look at him right now), Guardiola - Fair play, but lets wait and see what happens long term (Rikjaard's stock has gone right down after his first two seasons at Barca, as has Vialli's, mentioned in the piece), and Klinsmann and Van Basten, who have both been sacked from their high profile jobs for under achieving!!!

    You then finish up with this gem: "On balance though, young coaches have done alright in recent years".

    Not being funny, but you've had a nightmare there if you're honest haven't you?! lol

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  • 107. At 7:46pm on 20 May 2009, Comeonthepies38 wrote:

    The whole point becomes undermined when the managers like Ince and Adams are not given enough time to make an impression upon the Premier League. I remember a time when Allardyce was ousted by Newcastle, A man who has guided blackburn to safety. I'm sure theres plenty at Newcastle looking back and reminiscing the grave error they made when he was eventually sacked after a mere 24 games. But the point I'm trying to make is, I am willing to acknowledge experienced managers grind out results, but how can others gain this experience, when they're only given 16 (Adams) or 17 (Ince) games in charge. I admire Middlesbrough for sticking with Southgate and giving him the opportunity to manage in the top flight.

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  • 108. At 8:06pm on 20 May 2009, Spielfuhrer wrote:

    "Research commissioned by the League Manager's Association found that managers who were former internationals had a win percentage of 35.2%. The figure was 34.5% for those who had played in the Premier League, 34.7% for ex-Football League players and 34.1% for those who had not even played professionally."

    Including this stat in the article somewhat undermines the argument - which suggests that hiring a big name former international manager is most likely to lead to success...

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  • 109. At 8:34pm on 20 May 2009, BARCASPUR wrote:

    What has Harry done at Spurs?

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  • 110. At 8:51pm on 20 May 2009, Fernando Torrid-time Defense wrote:

    "Research commissioned by the League Manager's Association found that managers who were former internationals had a win percentage of 35.2%. The figure was 34.5% for those who had played in the Premier League, 34.7% for ex-Football League players and 34.1% for those who had not even played professionally."

    What is the error of margin for these data? Are these data statistically different?

    Also, I feel that a manager should only be judged when he has had all the tools to his disposal, and then fails. Example, if you inherit a bad team outside the transfer window, then there is only so much that you can do - nada! Zip! Zilch! In Shearer's case, he got the reins of an most underachieving talentless team, the architect of which was Allardyce, Keegan and Kinnear. So Shearer should not be judged for this season. Once he has had a chance in the transfer market in summer, and a chance to build his own team, then he should be open to all criticism that he merits. For now, he is just at the wrong place at the wrong time.

    Southgate on the other hand has had 2 seasons to mould his team, and his critics are well positioned.

    Stranger things have happened, and it will be a squeal to see which one of these two gentlemen can pull their clubs to survival (unless Brown decides to crash the party).

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  • 111. At 9:03pm on 20 May 2009, blackburnpete wrote:

    As a Blackburn fan I feel I have to wade in about Ince & the general theme of the article and blog.
    Firstly great blog.
    Second while its true a massively experienced proven Premier league manager is a great idea, if you are Blackburn and can't afford or attract those stella stars then you have to take risks in the transfer market at all levels including managers. I thought Ince was a great move as he had earned his spurs - all be it briefly in lower leagues - it turned out badly, and I was relieved he was replaced by big Sam.
    I don't definitely think though that was best for football, he made mistakes and the rumours now are that he was aloof, just wanted to play in training and old fashioned in training.
    On the other hand, he didn't have long to make BB his own - who knows if SAF would have made it in this environment? Certainly his opening period at OT was not great and he was almost booted out. Premiership managers don't have long enough to settle in and prove them selves - how does Big Phil fit into the general article about experience?
    I think some of the applause and accolades in this article are very much based on now, Southgate was praised in earlier seasons, Zola is being tipped hats off, but look at all the other times this has happened, Southgate earlier years, when both Wigan and Hull bounced up managers were lauded and then dissed when injury, luck, mistakes, lack of funds, players moving on etc, all changed.

    The general gist of the article is spot on, but there are a lot more factors.
    The time you have to prepare
    The squad you inherit
    the opportunity you have to shape the squad
    The chairmen etc, and your freedom, expectations, support
    Time

    Big Sam has said that his first task at BB was not football management, it was man management, belief, player needs, team work. So those skills are always important.

    One final thought are managers like Allardyce & Hughes (Hodgson / Moyes) great at managing a lessor talented squad (compared to the mega money at Man U and Chelski) and organising them and getting the best out of them, but not so strong at Newcastle (or Man City) where there is maybe more money, more stars, more egos and more board interference?

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  • 112. At 9:30pm on 20 May 2009, Goderich wrote:

    The problem is that the argument is circular. By definition, successful managers will survive a long time and become experienced. The unsuccessful ones will be fired. The question is why are they successful? maybe because they understand scientific logic better than sports journalists?

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  • 113. At 9:35pm on 20 May 2009, Benjamin2008 wrote:

    Common denominator for the managers of the top 6 teams in the premiership: None of them are English

    Common denominator for 5 of the managers of the bottom 5 clubs in the Premiership: They are all English

    Number of English managers to win the league in the last 20 years: one (Sgt Wilko in 1992).

    Nationality of England manager: Italian.

    If that doesn't tell you that this country has a problem producing decent top level managers, nothing will. Can the fact that most english managers given a chance in the premiership are high-profile ex-players rather than proven professionals be related to this? The answer seems fairly obvious to me - how many of them have gone on to be even half good managers:

    Bryan Robson?
    Tony Adams?
    Dennis Wise?
    Peter Reid?
    Paul Ince?
    Stuart Pearce?
    David Platt?
    Glenn Roeder?

    Hardly likely to be the short list at Old Trafford or the Emirates when Fergie or Wenger decide to call it a day...

    Chairmen - WAKE UP!


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  • 114. At 9:41pm on 20 May 2009, oneandonlydeewey wrote:

    experience could be the way forward but if you only go for experience your not going to have any new managers coming through when the rest go!
    and it doesn't really give a young manager confidence when he's sacked after 2 games either

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  • 115. At 11:46pm on 20 May 2009, MelbourneSteve wrote:

    There is no substitute for experience but there are always exceptions. Kenny Dalglish did have immediate success at Liverpool but he wasn't taking over a bad side and I suspect his reputation with the players and club carried a lot of weight. He may well have been less successful at another club. In any case, those 'star' ex-players who do take over too soon are not doing themselves or their teams any favours. A few years of assisting and/or working in the lower divisions would pay off. The ex-players who were not stars don't have that choice - they always have to work their way up the ladder because they don't have the reputation. One final point - I think that players who have not had a great deal of success might be forced to think about the game more and how to get the most out of their players. Superstars of the game may not think in this way because their skills were more innate.

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  • 116. At 11:59pm on 20 May 2009, DeputySherrif wrote:

    Funnily enough, when you consider that football is a team game nobody has mentioned that a football club (not just the team) is a team.
    From the top to the bottom, from the Chairman to the ball boy, in all the successful teams everybody understands what their job is, is given the tools to that job and, I think most importantly, feels inspired to do that job well.
    This is where I think that most football fans fail to see the bigger picture and fail to realise that the structure put in place at a club is what delivers the results.
    Who puts this structure in place varies from club to club. Some clubs such as Manchester Utd. struggled for years to achieve real success until they brought in a manager who could pull all the disparate pieces together. Other clubs, such as Everton and Coventry survived in the top flight for years with different managers but with the same(ish) board or chairman in place. Look at the difference between the two clubs now where Everton have not just the same chairman but a long serving manager as well and Coventry lost their Chairman, board and have had loads of managers.
    The team that I think will be really interesting to watch over the nest few years will be Manchester City.
    They have appointed a manager who gained his initial experience at international level, which is supposedly the highest of all football levels, but in a part-time job. Then he went to a small town club (albeit one that has won a premiership) and was reasonably successful in the sense that he got them into Europe rather than winning anything. He's been in the business a few years but is still considered a learner.
    Now he is at a club who has a Chief Executive who has never worked in football before and who has attracted investment from, in football terms, a bottomless pit of money.
    They have already stated that they see success as a path that builds, piece by piece, achieving more than the season before and not panicking.
    My view is that we are looking at the club that will succeed Manchester United as the next big thing in English football.
    It will be run as a business, with long term strategies in place, and no room for sentiment, but as at Manchester United, and any other successful business, the men or women running it will also understand that football is the product that they are selling and an attractive product sells more. The best most successful businesses sell products that people want and football fans not only want winning football, but attractive, entertaining football.
    Like all successful businesses that can only be achieved by being a team from the top to the bottom, not just on the football pitch.
    Good clear thinking, with succession planning, tight control of finances and working as a team... thanks Sir Alex for all you have delivered to us loyal United fans but I really think that City are going to take over the crown - it's not just about the manager.

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  • 117. At 00:23am on 21 May 2009, Wot Kuyt 'e did wrote:

    #6. Blogcabin wrote: "Where does Phil Brown fit in this argument?"

    At both ends of it, it would seem. I think the main reason Hull skidded down the table was because Brown thought he was José Mourinho & cool. i.e., it went to his head, another common error of managerial youth.

    My first reflex was to mention Dalglish, probably the most notable exception to the argument, so agree with #15.

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  • 118. At 00:35am on 21 May 2009, ShinyDavidHowell wrote:

    Pep Guardiola inherited a team that had everything except team unity; picking someone who knew the club so well made a heck of a lot of sense as he was able to sort that particular issue out. Arguably, you can say the same for Avram Grant - whose record was actually better than Hiddink's, if memory serves, and yet Grant was hated and Hiddink loved!

    It does strike me as strange that experience seems to be so readily dismissed, and the Pro License requirement should have no exemptions in my opinion... that would at least increase the professionalism of management, which could be all the difference needed. After all, you have to get experience from somewhere, but if you're not hired because of a lack of experience you'll never get any...

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  • 119. At 00:38am on 21 May 2009, MelbourneSteve wrote:

    One of the best examples to support this particular argument is Hiddink - vastly experienced as a player (not a superstar but played at a high level for many years) and manager (very successful over a long period). Obviously he has a high degree of intelligence, football tactical sense and can get the most out of individual players and squads. Anybody else would have struggled to turn Chelsea's season around. As a ManU supporter with a soft spot for Newcastle, I was hoping that Newcastle would have signed him a few managers ago as I was very impressed with what he did with South Korea and Australia. Glad he had a chance to manage in the PL (might get another chance after Russia).

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  • 120. At 02:18am on 21 May 2009, Straeh wrote:

    68. At 2:36pm on 20 May 2009, markshortland wrote:
    As many others have already written, this is an interesting blog.
    But there's one thing no-one has as yet said:
    GET YOURSELF A SCOT
    is the best advice you could give a club chairman. Just look at the evidence: Shankly, SAF, Strachan, Moyes
    And that's coming from an Englishman who lives in Germany.
    PS: Don't bother listing the failures we've seen over the years, such as Souness. The successes more than outweigh the failures.

    ------------------------------------------

    Sir Matt Busby wasn't bad either.

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  • 121. At 06:28am on 21 May 2009, Haythnasr wrote:

    Not sure about this one.... Sometimes talent is talent. That's why you have kids like Rooney, Walcot, Owen playing for England at the age of 18.

    I think it's a similar case with every other profession, including football management.

    Look at Kenny Dalglish and what he did. He didn't have any coaching expereince.

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  • 122. At 08:12am on 21 May 2009, Greg MacKenzie wrote:

    Great blog, great points and great discussions.

    Couple of points I always disagree with in terms of the pro-youngsters argument. First, Klinsmann and Van Basten! Their success in international football as novices is absolutely nothing to do with them! There is no aspect of day to day management, signing players or motivating them over a season. Furthermore, there international football is less well organised than club football,so its more about flair players, especially at major finals.

    They had great players, who pretty much managed themselves. Yet when both went back to club football with Bayern and Ajax they lasted less than a season. Klinsmann especially totally alienating the players with his bizarre ideas, despite some decent results and still got a chance of winning the Bundesliga this weekend.

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  • 123. At 08:37am on 21 May 2009, watchthatman wrote:

    104 - StoKeith. I said FOR ME the jury is out on Tony Pulis. I also said that Pulis has done well, and I wrote that in the interest of brevity. In actual fact I think Stoke have done brilliantly and have punched well above their weight, especially in the latter half of the season when they might have let heads and results drop. A great collective effort from management, team and fans.

    Apologies though, because I do think the "line that the Prem is different and harder" is relevant. It's exactly what gives guys like Tony Pulis the ambition to get there and test themselves against their own and others expectations. I'm sure when Pulis was at Plymouth and when he joined Stoke, saviour or consolidation weren't the limit of his ambition. And I cited two previous examples of one season wonders (for want of a better term) in Reading and Ipswich where their respective managers won Manager of the Year for their first season in the Prem and then got relegated the season after. I hope this doesn't happen to Stoke and Pulis. Using that as my yardstick - and I acknowledge it's not the only argument that could be applied as the many opinions on here including yours testify - I stand by my comment that FOR ME he and Stoke need to prove they are not one season wonders and I sincerely hope they do so.

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  • 124. At 11:11am on 21 May 2009, dc37 wrote:

    Us Reading fans should hate Roy Hodgson - Fulham stayed up at our expense! Perhaps they should have given Sanchez anoth couple of weeks then broght Roy in to work his magic; he would have run out of games. But no, we went down. Boo hoo!

    Seriously though, Hodgson has done a great job, good luck in Europe. (though if Roy in interested, a few miles down the M4 there is a vacancy ...)

    One reason why great players often don't make great managers is that, because they are great players, they don't understand that the lesser mortals they encounter at, say, Wycombe in the case of Tony Adams, Preston all those years ago in the case of Bobby Charlton, are just not of the same calibre. For Charlton and Adams, a lot of stuff came naturally. A different skill entirely is required to TEACH football, and get the best out of players who are simply not so good.

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  • 125. At 11:40am on 21 May 2009, SteveSCFC wrote:

    What about Phil Brown- how does he fit into this? Experienced or not?
    He's been ignored... Not that I'm complaining! :-)

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  • 126. At 12:53pm on 21 May 2009, Kingkev4captain wrote:

    #120

    I think u forgot one. Walter Smith. Led Rangers to majority of nine in a Row. Did reasnobly well with Everton while picking up a couple of Manager of the month awards.

    Guided a dud Rangers team to a Uefa cup final.

    I agree with you though!

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  • 127. At 2:18pm on 21 May 2009, SportsSportsSportsBS wrote:

    Rover Boi,

    I disagree about Allardyce's tenure as Newcastle boss. Considering the money he was given to spend the return was poor, and he quickly became unpopular with the fans. Undoubtedly the lack of patience shown by Newcastle fans, and chairman alike is the reason for their current predicament and they were clearly harsh on Allardyce - but that doesn't mean his reign should be considered anything other than a disappointment.

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  • 128. At 2:20pm on 21 May 2009, Ollspur wrote:

    I see your point but surely the manager who proves this, with premiership experience secondly only to ferguson, is Harry Redknapp! Are you an Arsenal fan or something or did you just totally forget to mention him?

    He took us from the very bottom of the league to the brink of Europe qualification!

    Surely thats a personal achievement far greater than Moyes, Pulis and in a strange season, argueably Hodgson!

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  • 129. At 2:35pm on 21 May 2009, GenesisRed wrote:

    With the bluster about how Sir Alex might field a weakened team (ignoring how countless other teams have fielded weakened teams throughout the season), surely fielding a weak manager should have some implications?

    Either way, it is disrespectful to the league in just the same way. As other posters have pointed out, you wouldn't field a junior striker as your main.

    Newcastle deserve to go down, for their season, for their chairman's attitude, for buying Barton, and for throwing it all on an untried and unqualified manager.

    And they're not alone

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  • 130. At 2:37pm on 21 May 2009, MattCBosten wrote:

    Without a doubt experience is very important when you are a manager. I think Shearer's appointment was far less about management experience and was in reality a decision designed to boost the Newcastle team and fans.

    I think manager's are far too quick to jump for the top. Being an MK Dons fan we've had Paul Ince and Roberto Di Matteo as our manager in recent seasons; Ince won us League Two and the Johnstone's Paint Trophy (this had a lot to do with Ray Mathias)and then jumped to the Premier League. Once he got there his inexperience showed and he was unfortunately given the boot. With RDM it is very clear that he is still learning his trade and his inexperience ultimately cost us 2nd place in League One.

    Obviously the best way to be a good manager is to learn from the best and not to jump above your station; whilst clubs lower down in the League Tables will be more willing to take a chance on an unproven manager when Premier League clubs do, more often than not it back fires.

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  • 131. At 7:05pm on 21 May 2009, SYSTEM-J wrote:

    I would argue that trying to blame one key attribute for failure or success is far too simplistic. Managerial success is the result of a combination of a number of factors.

    Experience, aptitude, intelligence, resources, time and luck. All of these things (and more) play their part, and you can't come up with one universal rule of success or failure.

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  • 132. At 9:12pm on 21 May 2009, Simon Austin wrote:

    #128 Ollspur... Harry Redknapp has done a superb job, no doubt about it. Again, he is another highly experienced manager, who has learnt his trade over a number of years and has a proven CV. I could also have mentioned Hiddink/ Fergie/ Wenger/ Benitez...all supremely talented, qualified and experienced managers.

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  • 133. At 9:35pm on 21 May 2009, collie21 wrote:

    Barca might have something to say about not using first time coaches, but basically there is too much money in the premiership these days. I have to say though, the likes of Ince Adams Shearer, it's not management experience they lack, it's life experience. Hiddink Ferguson Wenger Hodgson are all old enough to be considered father figures rather than big brothers. They are also far enough away from their playing days that the young lads today don't remember them. I cant believe anyone at blackburn for example would have instant respect for Ince because of the big time charlie epsiode would be still remembered. Joe Royal for all those who disparaged him, did alright with Newcastle till his health issues took over.
    But again I point the finger at Barca, where Pepe is doing a sterling job. Perhaps it could be question of common sense, intelligence, and age. Finally, Redknapp hasn't always been regarded as a good manager, it's only the last couple of years he has started to get his teams up the table.

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  • 134. At 10:20pm on 21 May 2009, coach03 wrote:

    I find it astonishing that some top class players of 15 years professional experience do not have their coaching licences, to be honest. They have the time, a ready made infrastructure to document the required hours of coaching sessions and it gives an insight into management, media dealings, networking, research etc etc.

    I am fortunate enough to have been educated in a deal of these things over a 30 odd year career in the financial services industry but the average footballer won't have the opportunity to get this sort of general education as a result of their job, so it's important they take the coaching licences.

    Accepting the L1 - 3 is broadly on the coaching side they should have a good grounding. The A and Pro licences will also help set them up for management.

    My view is that the ones who complain about having to do 'writing' and being 'in a classroom' are exactly the closed minded types you wouldn't want as a manger or coach of young impressionable men (or women) learning their way in an ultimate version of a results driven business.

    Until the FA Premier League determine to actually apply their own rules rather than seeking to offer 'dispensations' to ex-internationals the qualifications will never be taken seriously by the types that really need to !

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  • 135. At 11:26pm on 21 May 2009, akinduro234 wrote:

    Experience is important in all life's endevours. But if you look at the young managers you mentioned, they were too much in a hurry to be their own men by making too many changes immedaitely they took over. This happens to most English managers and it is because they do not know good players if they see them. Tony failed with Pompey because he started making changes to the squad he inherited from Harry. Paul Ince failed selling the goalkeeper that had saved Blackburn every year. Southgate made too many changes to a decent team he inherited from the previous manager that played so well the previous season. Sammy Lee did the same at Bolton before he was saked. I think it is not because of lack of experience but these guys think that they know more than their predecesors, just because they were good players in their days. They need to be humble and patient. It is only then that they can achieve something good.

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  • 136. At 00:32am on 22 May 2009, sabahgroo wrote:

    Do you think Premier League chairmen should look to experienced campaigners like Hodgson and Pulis when they make their appointments in the future, rather than former star players such as Shearer and Southgate?

    First, interesting observation and great blog.

    Secondly, on the question posted. I am unsure if really there is a 'formula' in appointing potentially successful managers/coaches. Someone getting all the badges and certificates out there would not guarantee he will become a successful coach as much as a star player would automatically translate his playing ability to management.
    However I think being a coach/manager is similar to most managements in other profession. The coach/management would stand to have most chance of success if they have that ability to see the 'big picture.' He needs to know where he wants the team is heading, how to guide the team to reach that end point and how each player fit into that bigger vision. Star players usually lacks that. My observation is that while players like Ince, Shearer may have been successful on the playing field - their experience were only limited to the role as a playing staff and only playing in the positions they are known for. Unlike someone who has been a coach for years, they are forced to look at the 'big picture.' So I would say with a qualified 'yes' to the question but above all, the person must be able to see 'the big picture'. Usually an experience coach/manager are trained to do that and not the star player that lacks coaching experience.

    Third, to back up the observation in this blog. It doesn't take a blind man to see some of the top managers who steer their sides to the top four are all been coaching for a long time. Ferguson, Benitez, Wenger, Hiddink are all been in the game long as coaches/managers but they weren't all that famous as players. That's not say this rules out all top players. Looking at those names, you could recall the amount of experience they had and the long road they traveled in the realm of coaching.

    So if I am to own any of the EPL sides, I would look at first of all considertheir track record as a coach and what they have achieved. Not primarily how great they were as a player though one can't totally discount that but that shouldn't be the determining factor. Unless I am desperate and stupid like Newcastle, I would sack Sam Alladyce and hire out of popularity demand, Alan Shearer. Make no mistake, Shearer is a super player and I have deep respect for what he achieved but i think when it comes to managing/coaching and especially battling relegation; you need more than an inspirational figure. You need someone with a wise head and able to steer the side in the right direction. Shearer would do well in the future but at the moment, I think it does show his tactical know hows, experience in coaching is leaning on the thin side.

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  • 137. At 05:52am on 22 May 2009, sabahgroo wrote:

    akinduro234, you made some very interesting comments and observation. I must say I can't wholeheartedly agree with you. Take Scolari for example. He has a wealth of experience with him and I suspect most of us would not bracket him alongside Southgate or Ince. Hence he is not 'young'. He inherited pretty much the same squad yet struggled. On the other hand look at Harry Redknapp, he took over Spurs and in that few months with the same squad they are transformed from a side fighting relegation battles to a side battling for a Euro spot next season. I didn't think Tony Adams did massive changes to Portsmouth taking over Harry. Still pretty much the same squad of players yet they are fighting for their lives to remain in the premier league next year.

    As for Bolton, again I don't recall a lot of chop and changes by Sammy Lee. It's just simply wrong appointment because what they should have done is appoint someone who basically plays similar style to Alladyce because in his few years there, he stamped a certain style of play on the Bolton side effectively. He did that over the years using certain type of players fitting that 'vision.' Sammy Lee simply wasn't brought up in that school of thought on how football should be played as Bolton is known for. He is more of the pass-move-pass-move and probably more suited to where he is now in Liverpool as Benitez's sidekick. So when he took over Bolton, my suspicion is that there was just too little time for the players to adjust to his style or 'vision' and too little time given to him to impose his mark on the squad.

    That said, your point is valid. Chopping and changing rather than a gradual evolution might be more of a hindrance more than help. It may be true of some but I think that's not the case for all young managers who have stumbled in management this year.

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  • 138. At 09:18am on 22 May 2009, captainmonkeyhanger wrote:

    I thought paul ince was doing it the right way when taking charge of lower league clubs to learn his trade, unfortunately the big money of the premier league was too good an offer for high profile ex players to turn down. There is also the added pressure on chairmen to get a manager to appease the fans, and also the great british hope of finding a decent english manager.

    In my oppinion the likes of ince, shearer, southgate should use the bad experiences of the premier league and go away and learn their trade elsewhere. I'd take shearer and ince at hartlepool anyday for a few years.

    McClaren seems to be going about it the right way, earned his badges, trained under fergie at man u and smith at derby, assisted many qualified coaches, took over the boro, england may have been to soon, but now he seems to be following the hodgson book at gaining further experience abroad. Wouldn;t suprise me if we haven;t seen the last of mcclaren at top level

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  • 139. At 11:02am on 22 May 2009, Blogcabin wrote:

    45. At 1:11pm on 20 May 2009, martin5023 wrote:
    Quote:6. At 11:49am on 20 May 2009, Blogcabin wrote:
    Where does Phil Brown fit in this argument?

    Firstly, this is a debate NOT and argument, secondly what's your point Hull are still deep in the relegation zone in their first year of the EPL, when Brown's done something then your have your argument.

    The initial blog cannot be a debate. Simon is arguing that "three of the four men battling to save their sides from the Premier League trapdoor this weekend are all first-time managers." I was merely wondering where he fitted into the theory that experience counts. I haven't looked it up, so I cannot say for sure, but he must be close to the same amount of games in charge as Southgate? With that in mind, does experience only count if you go to more than one club? Southgate's done three seasons; is that not enough experience.

    Chill out Mr 5023...

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  • 140. At 11:23am on 22 May 2009, Konvictz wrote:

    its not always about experience, because roy keane in his first season delivered, and delivered amazingly. he broke down after because of his personal reasons, but he is a talented manager.

    what makes a good manager? well first people need to dingtinguish between good managers and good players. for good players, its more about their personal technical ability. however for good managers, its alot about their personality.

    let me give you another example. if you look at school in the maths class, lets say 8 people will get a grade. but that doesnt mean they will make successful teachers in the future because for teaching a skill, you need a different kind of talent, something that cant be measured.

    for me it seems that most of the top managers firstly need to be experienced in the front line, and secondly they seem to have a bold and sharp persona. e.g. sir alex ferguson, paisley, brian clough. because the most successful football teams have big personalities, you need a bigger personality to manager them.

    thats why morinho was so succesful with chelsea, because he was a strong character who set the others straight. if benitez were to manage chelsea, chelsea would fall apart because benitez will not mantain any authority simply because of the type of personality he has.

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  • 141. At 12:17pm on 22 May 2009, RunFatOx wrote:

    Also within the context/trend of 'top players implies bottom managers' a point worth noting is that of the career ending injury.

    Brian Cough sustained (what is now known as) a cruciate ligament injury in 1965ish. He clearly had the tenacity to be a top manager, does that mean that if he had played until his mid-late thirties he wouldn't have been?



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  • 142. At 1:03pm on 22 May 2009, Hughesie wrote:

    With regards to the mentioning of Guardiola...

    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but he has essentially inherited a fabulous squad? I cannot think of signings that he has made. Of course they are playing brilliantly (understatement) and he was a world-class player - and I am sure his experience, influence and technical skills/appreciation will have been brought to bear on the squad - but he inherited such a good team that maybe a lot of the hard work had already been done for him?

    What do you think guys?

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  • 143. At 1:08pm on 22 May 2009, bignevthecat wrote:


    Why is it convenient to forget who was manager of Ajax this season (held as an example of coaches getting experience). Also seem to forget players are made coaches in other countries too - Rijkard, Guardiola, Deschamps to name but a few - quite an imbalanced article - at least present both sides....

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  • 144. At 1:09pm on 22 May 2009, encore wrote:

    System J has it about right.....
    Experience, aptitude, intelligence, resources, time and luck. All of these things (and more) play their part, and you can't come up with one universal rule of success or failure.

    Harry Redknapp gets a lot of positive comment above but experience didnt do a lot for him when took Southampton down?

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  • 145. At 1:33pm on 22 May 2009, GDubz wrote:

    It is not down to the experience at all.

    Fulham fans dismayed at Hodgson appointment and he almost took them down last season.

    Look at Reading, high flying one year, the press raving about Coppell, the next year they are down.

    Hull's Phil Brown, got off to a good start, the press hailed this superstar manager, he was touted with taking on the Newcastle job etc, now the press turn and he is a bad decision maker bla bla bla.

    Moyes, almost took Everton down, calls for his head, next year he does well and now hes one of the greats.

    Redknapp, great at Tottenham, what did he do for Southampton?

    Zola, no experience, has done wonders for West Ham

    Look at Ramos's track record, he was woeful.

    It comes down to luck, right place, right time, right personel. Not entirely but a lot more than most seem to realise.

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  • 146. At 1:46pm on 22 May 2009, Panurge wrote:

    Pep Guardiola ain't bad. And his voice has only just broken.

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  • 147. At 2:13pm on 22 May 2009, SYSTEM-J wrote:

    "142. At 1:03pm on 22 May 2009, hughesie2000uk wrote:

    With regards to the mentioning of Guardiola...

    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but he has essentially inherited a fabulous squad? I cannot think of signings that he has made."

    Alves, Keita, Pique, Hleb... Around 90 million euros were spent rebuilding the Barca side in the summer.

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  • 148. At 3:35pm on 22 May 2009, Ian Bittiner wrote:

    This article may have found the cause of the lack of great English managers. They don't start at the bottom.

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  • 149. At 8:30pm on 22 May 2009, Konvictz wrote:

    so arathal, u r conceading defeat, because i have used the reasoning you provided to show that your statement is contradictory.

    you are suggesting that chelsea may have won the leauge under hiddink. but then earlier on you yourself said that taking a sample from 10 or so games is too little data, so why did you even mention chelsea under hiddink? - your reply should have been, i cant answer that because there is no 'scientific' data to have an opinion in football.

    i can proove to you that manchester united have been the best at winning games this season. because they have won more games than anybody else this season. united have won 27 games in the premier leauge, liverpool and chelsea have won 24. united have won the games in the carling cup. united have got to the semi final of the fa cup. united are in the final of the champions leauge.

    arathel, you need to understand that luck plays about 10% part of a teams season. but overall quality builds determines the success of a team over a long period of time, say for e.g. a 38 game season duuh. thats why a west brom are at the bottom and united are at the top. otherwise, with arathels generalistic logic: we can sit here and say west brom may have won the premier leauge but the other 19 teams got lucky. with arathels logic, we can also say west brom may have been the best team in the premier leauge.

    unfortunately arathal, 99% of the world would accept that west brom were crap this season and say it like a fact. let me introduce you to 2 words....realist and you. you say things like 'are they really the best?' 'west brom may have been the best this season, but we dont know for sure'. a realist will say 'united are better than west brom....fact'...

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  • 150. At 00:56am on 23 May 2009, sabahgroo wrote:

    konvictz,

    I concur with your reasoning here. As the old saying goes, 'the table doesn't lie.' Football is a simple old game. Whoever scores and wins the most walks out with the trophy. Simple as that. Arsenal by far is probably one of the most attractive sides for any neutral to watch. Just like Brazil in the 80s were like Harlem globetrotters of football. Then the other side of the coin tells you that Harlem globetrotters for most of the time don't win many tournaments. A side like Arsenal needs to turn their style into a winning performance. Liverpool is another example. Many argue that might have played better football this season compared to Man U but at the end of the day, they drew too many games. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out.

    Back to the discussion of the post. I still think star players need to learn the ropes of the trade like any other profession. Playing and managing is different. Take a look at Gordon Strachan. I really like what he tries to achieve every team he managed. His successful spell with Celtic has not gone unnoticed but even for a star player stature that he's got, he still have to gradually reach where he is now. That's the general rule, I think. However of course there are exceptions. If go back a bit in history, we remember Kenny Dalglish taking over after the Heysel tragedy as player manager. No one gave him a chance. Look at what he achieved not just with Liverpool but also with Blackburn. So there are exceptions.

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