Football

Great players don't always make good managers

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Fowler looking to cut his teeth in management. (©GettyImages)
Fowler looking to cut his teeth in management. (©GettyImages).

It's one of those eternal footballing mysteries; why do so many brilliant players fail to make the grade when they eventually hang up their boots and turn their hand to management?

The measure of skill a footballer possesses ultimately has no correlation to what management entails. Experience is valuable, but the reality is that less successful players often make better managers.

Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler has recently expressed his desire to take up a managerial role in England. The 36-year-old certainly falls into the category of top players, and remains the fourth-highest goalscorer in Premier League history.

With a total of 162 top-flight goals following spells at Leeds United, Manchester City, Blackburn Rovers, as well as a brief return to Anfield - there is no doubting Fowler's on the pitch credentials. But would he be suited to a career in management?

Success in football management requires proficiency of a different kind than what is needed to be a great player. The presumption is that players can become good coaches automatically, but that is not always the case.

GMF investigates four footballing greats who have triumphed on the pitch, but had varying levels of success off it.


Kenny Dalglish [Liverpool, Blackburn, Newcastle, Celtic]

In a 22-year playing career with Celtic and Liverpool, 'King' Kenny Dalglish won numerous honours. Four Scottish First Division titles, four Scottish Cups, and one Scottish League Cup earned him a British transfer record move to Anfield in 1977, where he won a further seven League titles, three European Cups and five other domestic trophies.

Dalglish became player-manager of Liverpool in 1985 and during his six-year tenure he delivered three more League titles and two FA Cups, before resigning in 1991.

The same year, the former Scotland international who remains the country's joint leading goalscorer, joined Second Division Blackburn Rovers, turning the Ewood Park outfit into Premier League winners in 1995.

A spell with Newcastle United in 1997 was much less successful, as was his spell as caretaker manager at former club Celtic in 2000, which ended with an acrimonious departure.

After an extended spell away from the game, Dalglish made a sensational return to Liverpool in January 2011, signing a three-year permanent deal last summer, winning the League Cup in February 2012 in his first full season in charge.


Glenn Hoddle [Swindon, Chelsea, England, Southampton, Tottenham, Wolves]

Widely regarded as one of the most gifted English footballers of his generation, Glenn Hoddle exhibited sublime balance and close control with unrivalled passing ability and vision.

Two FA Cups and one UEFA Cup winners medal with Tottenham, the attacking midfielder also won a Ligue 1 title and French Cup during his time with Monaco before returning to England to join Chelsea on a non-contract basis, then signing for Swindon as player-manager in 1991.

After winning promotion to the Premier League with the Robins in 1993, Hoddle rejoined Chelsea, and took them to the FA Cup final as player-manager in 1994.

His three-year reign at Stamford Bridge came to an end in 1996 when he accepted the England manager's job - guiding his country to the second round of the 1998 World Cup - where the Three Lions lost to Argentina on penalties.

In February 1999 Hoddle was sacked by the Football Association on the grounds of controversial comments made in an interview, but he was back in management within a year when he took over at Southampton.

However, less than 12 months later he was on the move again, leaving the south coast club for a return to Tottenham - the club where he had originally made his name.

After guiding Spurs to a League Cup final in 2002, pressure began to build on Hoddle due to inconsistent performances, and he was sacked early in 2003-04 after picking up just four points in the opening six Premier League games that season.

Hoddle's last job came in the second-tier with Wolverhampton Wanderers in December 2004, but after twice failing to win promotion to the Premier League he resigned in July 2006, and has not since returned to management.


Bryan Robson [Middlesbrough, Bradford, West Brom, Sheff Utd, Thailand]

Starting as a midfielder in the famous West Brom team of the late 70s, Bryan Robson later joined Manchester United, where he became best known as the longest serving captain in the club's illustrious history, earning him the nickname 'Captain Marvel'.

Two Premier League titles, three FA Cups and a European Cup Winners Cup - Robson also represented England on 90 occasions, making him the sixth most capped Three Lions player of all-time.

Towards the end of his playing career, Robson joined Middlesbrough as player-manager in May 1994, and in seven years at the Riverside he guided the club to three Wembley finals - which were all lost - and twice guided them to promotion to the Premier League.

He later returned to West Bromwich Albion for two years as manager, helping them become the first top division team in 14 years to avoid relegation after being bottom of the Premier League table on Christmas Day 2004.

Robson had much less successful managerial spells at Bradford City and Sheffield United, before being appointed as head coach of the Thailand national team. He resigned on 8 June 2011.


Tony Adams [Wycombe, Portsmouth, Gabala FC]

The former Arsenal captain spent his entire 22-year playing career in north London, and is widely regarded as one of the Gunners' greatest players of all-time.

Four Premier League titles, three FA Cups, two League Cups and one Cup Winners Cup led to the unveiling of a statue honouring Adams' career outside the Emirates Stadium in December 2011.

When his playing days ended, Adams became manager of Wycombe Wanderers in November 2003 and suffered relegation in his first season, before resigning almost exactly a year later.

After joining Portsmouth as Harry Redknapp's assistant in the summer of 2006, the club went on to their highest ever Premier League finish and also won the FA Cup. Adams was later appointed caretaker manager following Redknapp's departure in October 2008, but was sacked in February 2009 after only 16 games in charge, having picked up just 10 points.

Adams signed a three-year deal to manage Azerbaijani club Gabala FC in May 2010, but departed after 18 months, citing personal reasons, and has not returned to football since.

Topics:
Football
Premier League
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