Football

Six of the best: Football managers

Ferguson is arguably the best football manager of all time (©GettyImages)
Ferguson is arguably the best football manager of all time (©GettyImages).

Footballers normally get the limelight so I have decided to honour football’s masterminds - the brain behind teams' achievements.

We count down the top six greatest managers of all time.

6. Pep Guardiola

Teams managed: Barcelona B (2007-2008); Barcelona (2008-2012)

Honours: UEFA Champions League 2009, 2011, La Liga 2009, 2010, 2011; Copa del Rey 2009, 2012; UEFA Super Cup 2009, 2011; FIFA Club World Championship 2009, 2011; Supercopa de Espana 2009, 2010, 2011; Tercera Division 2008

Should Pep Guardiola be considered a great manager after having such a short period as a manager? Or has his time at Barcelona proven his worth? Admittedly, with the likes of Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta in one’s squad, great things are bound to happen.

There is no hiding the fact that Guardiola is relatively new to the game compared to the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson but his success with Barcelona has changed football forever.

Guardiola encouraged his players to keep possession effectively and press more, instilling a winning mentality that was lacking when he took over from Frank Rijkaard in 2008, following a stint in charge of the B team.

The Spaniard ended up winning an unmatchable 14 trophies in just four years before deciding to step down as head coach. He has since agreed to join Bayern Munich next season and, regardless of what he achieves at the German club, Guardiola will always be remembered for being Barcelona’s most success manager yet.

5. Jose Mourinho

Teams managed: Benfica (2000); Uniao de Leiria (2001-2002); FC Porto (2002-2004); Chelsea (2004-2007); Inter Milan (2008-2010); Real Madrid (2010-Present)

Honours: UEFA Champions League 2004, 2010; La Liga 2012; FA Premier League 2005, 2006, Serie A 2009, 2010; UEFA Cup 2003; FA Cup 2007; Copa del Rey 2011; Portuguese League 2003, 2004; Coppa Italia 2010; Carling Cup 2005, 2007; Supercoppa Italiana 2008; FA Community Shield 2005; Taca de Portugal 2003

Love him or hate him, Mourinho is one of the greatest tacticians to ever grace the beautiful game. The charismatic Portuguese never seems to entertain on and off the pitch. Who remembers that legendary press conference when he declared himself as the "Special One"?

He took Porto to an unlikely UEFA Champions League in 2004, moved to Chelsea and dominated the English game, a move to Inter yielded success too with a legendary treble winning campaign, and seems to have found a way to end Barcelona’s domestic dominance over Real Madrid.

Mourinho is enduring his worst reign in his career as Madrid manager but has continued his addiction to trophies, winning minimum one trophy every season as a manager so far.

4. Sir Matt Busby

Teams managed: Manchester United (1945-1969, 1970-1971); Great Britain (1948); Scotland (1958)

Honours: European Cup 1968; Football League First Division 1952, 1956, 1957, 1965, 1967; FA Cup 1948, 1963; Charity Shield 1952, 1956, 1957, 1965, 1967

One of the greatest managers to ever grace our game. Sir Matt Busby was not just a leader but he was like a father figure to the United players.

The Munich air disaster tore apart a United side destined for greatness. Busby pulled through from the disaster that took the lives of 23 people including eight first-team players for United.

Following one of football’s worst tragedies, Busby considered quitting, but his wife urged him to continue.

His reward for his determination to carry on was a European Cup in 1968 after United demolished Benfica 4-1 at Wembley.

Busby sadly passed away in 1994 but his legacy will live long in the hearts of any football fan. Legendary.

3. Brian Clough

Teams managed: Hartlepool United (1965-1967); Derby County (1967-1973); Brighton & Hove Albion (1973-1974); Leeds United (1974) and Nottingham Forest (1975-1993)

Honours: European Cup 1979, 1980; Football League First Division 1972, 1978; League Cup 1978, 1979, 1989, 1990; European Super Cup 1979; Football League Second Division 1969; Charity Shield 1978; Texaco Cup 1972; Watney Cup 1970

Where do you stay with Clough? Clough turned Nottingham Forest from a second division side in the 1970s to back-to-back European champions all in the space of four years.

Although from 1980, he only managed to win two League Cups, Clough’s time as a manager will be remembered for guiding both Nottingham Forest and Derby to the league title after promotion from the second division.

He was one of the game’s most controversial figures and his memories will live on for decades to come.

2. Bob Paisley

Teams managed: Liverpool (1974-1983)

Honours: European Cup 1977, 1978, 1981; Football League First Division 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983; UEFA Cup 1976; League Cup 1981, 1982, 1983; UEFA Super Cup 1977; Charity Shield 1974, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1982

It was never an easy job to replace Bill Shankly at Liverpool but Bob Paisley achieved the unimaginable with Liverpool in just nine years becoming Liverpool’s most successful manager ever.

Paisley is the only manager to have won the European Cup three times. He only failed to win a trophy once in the nine seasons he managed Liverpool.

The FA Cup eluded him but he led Liverpool’s to their first ever League Cup victory in 1981, eventually leading them to three successive victories between 1981-1983.

Paisley was a born winner that created a legacy that will never be forgotten.

1. Sir Alex Ferguson

Teams managed: East Stirling (1974); St. Mirren (1974-1978); Aberdeen (1978-1986); Scotland (1985-1986); Manchester United (1986-2013)

Honours: UEFA Champions League 1999, 2008; FA Premier League 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013; FA Cup 1990, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2004; UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup 1983, 1991; Scottish Premier Division 1980, 1984, 1985; English League Cup 1992, 2006, 2009, 2010; UEFA Super Cup 1983, 1991; Intercontinental Cup 1999; FIFA World Club Championship 2008; Scottish Cup 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986; Scottish League Cup 1986; Charity Shield 1990, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, FA Community Shield 2003, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011; Scottish First Division 1977

The word legend is thrown away loosely these days but calling Sir Alex Ferguson a legend is probably an understatement.

He is the greatest manager of all-time and his achievements might never be matched in the future.

The Scot has decided to call time with United at the age of 71. It was inevitable but vast majority of United fans would have been hoping Ferguson had stayed on for a few more years.

 

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