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Best English Managers of All Time

Tue 10 August 2021 | 7:30

In the following article, we are going to take a look at the best English managers of all time. Managers who knew the ways of winning and in addition to that, they changed the whole game with their unique ideas.

England has one of the richest histories in football; and since they were the people who invented the beautiful game, it is no surprise. From the very beginning the managers who coached the teams was recognized as one of the key parts of the game. No matter how good the footballers on the pitch are, you just can’t win trophies without a decent manager who knows how to arrange the team and help the individuals to reach to their highest potential. That is why we decided to take a look at

the 10 greatest ever English football managers

in today’s article at Sportmob.

As you may know, England did not manage to win trophies on national level except for one World Cup in 1966. But don’t let that fact trick you, despite their failures on national football, England domestic league has always been one of the top football leagues in the world which attracted the best of the best. That’s the reason why there are so many English managers amongst the best managers of all time in the football history. So if you are interested to get familiar with

the best English managers of all time

, we got you covered.

Who Are The 10 Greatest Ever English Football Managers?

In the following passages we reviewed the profiles of

the 10 greatest ever English football managers

and the route they take to make their way to become one of the best English managers of all time. But before we get to that, let’s have a quick look at our shortlist of the 10 greatest British football managers of all time:

  • Ron Atkinson

  • Roy Hodgson

  • Kevin Keegan

  • Sir Alf Ramsey

  • Herbert Chapman

  • Harry Redknapp

  • Bob Paisley

  • Sir Matt Busby

  • Sir Bobby Robson

  • Brian Clough 

Ron Atkinson

Ronald Frederick Atkinson as known as Ron was born on March 18th 1939 in Liverpool, England. Atkinson spent his entire footballing career at Oxford United and not long after hanging up his boots, he started his coaching career at the age of 32. After managing some lower division clubs, in 1978 Ron Atkinson fined the chance to manage a First Division side which was West Bromwich Albion. Ron Atkinson was the first manager ever who chose to play with three Centre Backs formation regularly in the league. That was the cornerstone of his success at West Bromwich in the next years.

After a couple of top four finishes in the league and a UEFA Cup quarter-finals,

Manchester United

decided to appoint Ron Atkinson as their new manager after Dave Sexton. Sexton had a relatively decent spell at Manchester but he failed to win any trophies and that was the reason why Manchester brought Ran Atkinson. Atkinson did the job and won two FA Cups in 1983 and 1985 and a FA Charity Shield in 1983. After five successive top four finishes and three silverwares Atkinson left the club as the most successful Man United manager since Matt Busby. Later he had some good spells at Sheffield Wednesday and Aston Villa and managed to win a Football League Cup with each of them in 1991 and 1994 respectively.

Roy Hodgson

Roy Hodgson was born on 1947 and was a defender in his playing days but he never find the chance to play for top divisions teams. Roy Hodgson is one of the few managers in our

best English managers of all time

 shortlist who started his coaching career abroad from England. In 1976 the 29 years old Roy Hodgson became the head coach of Halmstad in Sweden. The club was fighting in a relegation battle before Hodgson takes over but then they became champions of Swedish top division on two occasions in 1976 and 1979 which was quite extraordinary. That was enough for world to know that Roy Hodgson might be one of the 10 greatest ever English football managers.

In 1985 Roy came back to Sweden and this time he led Malmo to five consecutive league championships. Roy and his friend Bob Houghton changed the Swedish football by implying their ideas in the teams they managed. They focused on counter attacking football and zonal marking which improved the Swedish football as a whole in the next years. After his great achievements in Sweden, Roy Hodgson has coached 16 different teams including Swiss national team, Inter Milan, Copenhagen, Finland national team,

Fulham

, Liverpool, England national team and Crystal Palace. Roy Hodgson is not the most decorated manager in our shortlist, but he managed to improve every team that he coached in his entire career and he surely has a great legacy in football history.

Kevin Keegan

Kevin Keegan is a former attacker won the Ballon d’Or trophy two times as a player and hanged up his boots in 1985 when he was 34 years old. Keegan’s managerial career started with Newcastle United in 1992 when the club suffered from missing out a promotion due to a loss at play-offs. But in his very first season, Kevin Keegan took the league by storm and managed to finish the league in the top spot and became the champion of the Football League First Division which meant they promoted to the Premier League.

Keegan’s men were ready for fighting with elites as they finished the league on third place which give them to chance to play European football the next season. Newcastle remained in the top four of the Premier League table for the coming years and they came so close to winning the title but unfortunately they couldn’t finish the job.  After five great years, Keegan left the club and one year later he joined Fulham in second division.

Once again Keegan managed to win the league championship on his first full season at a club and got promoted to the first division. But this time he didn’t stay around for too long and after a short spell at England national team, he got appointed as Manchester City head coach. For the third time, Kevin Keegan promoted his side to the higher tier in his first season with winning the league. Keegan was building a lovely team at Manchester with the likes of Peter Schmeichel, Steve McManaman, Paul Bosvelt and

Joey Barton

. After some joyful seasons with the Citizens, Keegan decided to retire from football in the March of 2005.

Sir Alf Ramsey

Sir Alf Ramsey was on 1920 and spent his football career playing for Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur. He also was a part of England national team for five years and eventually retired from playing football in 1955 and immediately started his coaching career at Ipswich town. Managing Ipswich was quite a challenge for a coach with no coaching experience. The club was playing in the Third Division South which was far away from the top tier of English football. The squad was consisted of aged footballers and the management didn’t have enough funds to recruit new players. So Sir Alf Ramsey had to be creative.

Ramsey used everything he had to play an exciting attacking style of football. His side was scoring at least 100 goals each season as they were climbing up their way to England’s higher divisions. Ramsey led his men to win the Second Division in 1961. Therefor

Ipswich Town

promoted to the highest tier of English football for the first time ever. But they didn’t stop there and in their debut season, Ramsey managed to win the First Division title with Ipswich in 1961-62 season. Ramsey stayed at Ipswich for another year and then took over the England national team prior to 1966 World Cup which was going to take place in England.

Alf Ramsey started a new era in England’s national team and asked for the full control of choosing the squad which before that was announced by a board committee. Ramsey had three years to prepare England for the World Cup and he used that opportunity wisely. England reached to the final of the tournament for the first time ever and they managed to beat West Germany in extra time after scoring four goals and conceding two. After that he continued as the head coach of England and led his team to a third place in 1968 European Championship and reached to the quarter-finals of the 1970 World Cup and the 1972 European Championship. The 1966 world cup is the only major trophy that England has won up to this day and it is surely more than enough to consider Sir Alf Ramsey as one of

the best English managers of all time

.

Herbert Chapman

Herbert Chapman was born on 1878 in Yorkshire, England. Chapman was not only one of

the 10 greatest British football managers of all time

, but also he is one of the most important individuals in the history of the game that changed football for the better. As a player, Herbert Chapman was not anything beyond average and played for 13 different clubs until in 1907 he joined Northampton Town as a player-manager and started his coaching career from there. Chapman managed to win the Southern League with Northampton and attracted the attention of some big clubs back then. Eventually he joined Leeds in 1912 and stayed there until the First World War started.

After the war, Chapman took over Huddersfield Town and won one FA Cup and two consecutive First Division titles. Then

Arsenal

managed to hire Chapman and it was with him that Arsenal won their first ever trophy which was a FA Cup in 1930. Chapman’s Arsenal won the First Division title on 1931 and 1933 and even after he left the club, Arsenal used his legacy to dominate the English football for the coming years. Many believe that Herbert Chapman’s revolutionary ideas were the core of today’s modern formations. In addition to that, he also introduced the numbered shirts, floodlighting, and European club competitions to the world of football and that explains why he is recognized as one of the most influential persons in the history of football.

Harry Redknapp

Henry James Redknapp was born on 1947 and started playing professional football in 1965 with West Ham United. Shortly after he retired from playing football, he started his coaching career at Bournemouth in 1983. Back then Bournemouth were playing in Third Division and Redknapp’s job was to avoid relegation his debut season as a head coach. Redknapp managed to do the job and beating Manchester United in the FA Cup was the cherry on the cake in that season. Bournemouth evolved under Harry Redknapp and in 1987 they won the Third Division title with 97 points which was a record breaking number since the club never managed to accumulate so many points in a single season.

After nearly a decade Redknapp left Bournemouth and in 1994 he got appointed as the head coach of West Ham, where his nephew Frank Lampard was playing. West Ham under Redknapp had some great season since he was able to work with young talents such as Joe Cole, Michael Carrick, Rio Ferdinand, and mixing them with veterans like Paolo Di Canio and Stuart Pearce. After winning an UEFA Intertoto Cup in 1999 with West Ham and a Football League First Division in 2003 and a FA Cup in 2008 with Portsmouth, Redknapp joined

Tottenham

in 2008. In his first full season at Spurs, Redknapp managed to gather 70 points and qualified for UCL football by finishing the league on 4th spot. He won the Premier League Manager of the Year award to become the second manager ever that won the award without winning the league title. 

Bob Paisley

Bob Paisley was born in 1919 and Joined Liverpool in 1937 as a player. Paisley was a key part of Liverpool squad and spent his whole career wearing the red jersey. In 1959 he returned to Liverpool as an assistant manager until in 1974 he replaced the legendary Bill Shankly and became the head coach of the team. The rest as they say is history. Except for his first season as a coach, he won at least one major trophy in his next nine years and became the most successful Liverpool manager ever.

Bob Paisley won 6 Football League First Division titles, 3 League cups, 6 FA Charity Shields, 3

European Cups

, one UEFA Cup, and one UEFA Super Cup. That makes him not only one of the best English managers of all time, but also one of the most successful managers in the history of football. After nine amazing years as the coach of his beloved club, Bob Paisley retired from football and cemented his place as one of the icons of the Merseyside club. 

Sir Matt Busby

Alexander Matthew Busby was born in 1909 and spent his football career playing mostly for Manchester City and Liverpool. But when in 1945 he was ready to start his coaching career, Liverpool refused to offer him a role higher than the assistant coach. So when the opportunity arrived, Matt Busby joined Manchester united as a head coach and started to build something special at the club. Busby was an expert in developing the young talents therefore he built his exciting team around some young homegrown talents. Under Busby Manchester United managed to win their first major trophy after decades in 1948 which was the FA Cup and four years later, the won the League to overcome the dominance of Liverpool.

Since he fielded so many young players, the team got nicknamed the Busby Babes. When everything was going smooth for the Busby Babes and they were winning trophies one after another, the Munich tragedy happened and seven players and three club officials has died in an airplane accident in Munich. Sir Matt Busby decided to rebuild the club after that disaster and he did that by scouting players like George Best and recruiting the likes of Dacid Herd and Denis Law. Manchester won their first trophy after the Munich disaster in 1962. Busby led the red devils to two League titles in 1964 and 1967 and he retired from football in 1968 as he guided his team to win the European Cup with a 4-1 win against

Benfica

.

Sir Bobby Robson

Bobby Robson was born in 1993 in Sacriston, England. He was a decent football player who played for Fulham and West Bromwich as a forward. Robson’s managing career started in 1968 with Fulham and a year later he joined Ipswich and started his fairytale there. During his 13 years spell at Ipswich he turned the club to a top six team in English football and managed to win an UEFA Cup in 1981 and a FA Cup in 1977 which was a huge achievement for a club like Ipswich. Bobby Robson is one of the few managers in our best English managers of all time shortlist that was actually successful on foreign soil.

Even

the best English managers right now

are not known for their international success but Bobby Robson was able to win Eredivise title twice with

PSV Eindhoven

in 1991 and 1992. He also won five major trophies with Porto in Portugal and a Copa del Rey and a Supercopa de Espana with Barcelona in the 1966-97 season. Sir Bobby Robson also took the England national team job from 1982 to 1990 and he was so close to reaching to the final of 1990 World Cup but his side lost the semi-final match in penalty shoot-out against West Germany. Sir Bobby Robson’s persistency throughout his career and winning trophies in different countries made him one of the best English managers of all time.   

Brian Clough 

Brian Clough was born on 1935 in Middleborough, England and spent his football career playing mostly for his hometown club Middleborough. After starting his coaching career at Harlepools United in 1965, Clough joined Derby County in 1967 and started a spectacular journey with the club. He took over Derby when they were playing in the second division and within only four years, he became the champions of England by winning the first tier league title in 1971-72 season. After six incredible seasons at Derby County he experienced two short unsuccessful spells at Brighton and Leeds United until he joined Nottingham Forest in 1975.

Once again Clough did something that even the best English managers right now can’t imagine doing so. Forest were playing in second division when Clough arrived and it only took him two years to led the club to winning the First Division title in 1977-78 season. Brian also won 4 League Cups with

Nottingham Forest

but his masterpiece was winning the European Cup with the club on two consecutive seasons from 1978 to 1980. What Brian Clough did at Derby County and Nottingham Forest made him one of the best English managers of all time, if not the very best.

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source: SportMob

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