Why can’t Englishmen manage?

by admin

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Not so long a go, Ellis Short offered Steve Bruce a four year contract to help quieten the murmurings in the media of Bruce’s strong contention for the England management job. This was despite the fact that Bruce had seemingly only had modest achievements in his twelve year managerial career, with the only tangible success’s being two promotions from the championship with Birmingham City (sandwiched between relegation). Steve Bruce’s miserable start to the season at Sunderland, after a summer of huge investment, and subsequent sacking got me thinking. Are English Managers destined to fail?

Every time the England managers job comes up for discussion, the inevitable cries of “I don’t care who he is as long as he’s English” is heard, both in the media and in the stands. But why? English managers in the recent past have all seemed to consistently underperform.

When looking at the microcosm of managers who have played under Sir Alex Ferguson ,the statistics seem to prove this point. One would assume that managers that have played for one of the longest serving, most successful and inspirational managers to have ever graced the British Isles, would try and emulate and improve upon the very best aspects of Sir Alex. That the countless hours of training, the touchline barracking and an inevitable “hairdrying” or two would have been infused into their DNA. However, there seems to be a discrepancy as to what nationalities do this best.

Using the criteria of having managed at least 100 games the 12 managers that have played under Ferguson, for Aberdeen or United, have achieved a managerial win percentage of 41.46. However when this is broken down further and English managers (38.2% Win) are compared with Scotish, Irish and Welsh (42.8% Win) and Continental, including Solskjaer who has not yet managed 100 games, (60.2%), the statistics begin to paint a picture.

In fact, the only Englishman to win a major European trophy in the past two decades is the late Bobby Robson, and only he and Harry Redknapp have finished in the in the top four of the Premier League since 1998. Whilst French, Dutch, German and increasing Spanish coaches are found in every far flung corner of world football, there are only two English born manager’s to have taken international sides to major finals since 1998, (Mick McCarthy and Kevin Keegan).

So what is the cause of this curious occurrence? Are English people just not cut out to be football managers? Or is it the case that they just aren’t given then chances to manage top level clubs? Discuss

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  • Mike

    This article got me thinking, but I’m afraid you forgot one English manager, Harry Redknapp!

    He is a very good manager

  • Mike

    He has won the League Cup, got Spurs to the Champions league- but I guess that’s not top stuff is it 🙁

  • Patrick Coyne

    There can always be an exception to a rule but i would still argue he is a good, not a great manager.You’re right he won the f.a cup with Pompey and got Spurs into the champions league (ramos lead them to the league cup), however, he has been fortunate in that he has arrived at clubs that have either had great youth players coming through, like at West ham(Lampard, Ferdinand, Cole), or have spent money (Portsmouth) or a combination of the two in Spurs. He was less successful with Southampton when he had neither.

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