A manager's influence and significance is undoubtable on the way the game we love and spend immense hours to watch is played.
But what is football management all about? What makes a great manager? - and how can one possibly choose the ten best of all time?
The very job description – manager – indicates that the profession is all about efficient use of resources. How best you maximise what you’re given. Perhaps personality, is what it's all about. Establishing it. Adapting it. And ultimately using it to exhort, inflame or push a squad of footballers to improve and give their absolute 100 percent.
Here is an attempt of making a list of the ten greatest managers in the history of the beautiful game.
10. Udo Lattek
His eight Bundesliga titles, three domestic cups, one European Cup and one UEFA title, make him one of the most successful managers in German football's history.
Probably the only manager in Germany who married the classic aggressive and tactical German style with pacey and technical football, Lattek was just 39 years old when he led Bayern Munich to European football glory in 1974.
9. Jose Mourinho
Stating that Mourinho is a controversial persona is like saying that the ball is round.
Even more obvious though, is the Portuguese's charisma, tactical brilliance and influence on the game. Like him or not, the guy who celebrated running down the line at the Old Trafford, the guy who gives a show in every press conference he makes, ever, is one of the smartest and dominating managers of all time. The proof? His seven domestic championships and two Champions League wins with two different teams.
8. Giovanni Trapattoni
Influenced by the famous "catenaccio" system, Trapattoni was not so much about the beauty in the game than he was about reading his opponents offensive tactic and adapting his team's defence in a way he would be able to win.
Early in his career, Gio Trapattoni Implemented the "Zona Mista", which makes the back line work in pure zonal defense and every other player on the field covering a particular zone as well. With this tactic, the Italian dominated with Juventus, celebrating most notably the European Cup of 1985.
7. Ottmar Hitzfeld
Hitzfeld is famous in Europe as the man who lost a Champions League final conceding two goals in stoppage time, whith the score being 1-0 for his team.
He is though, one of the most decorated managers in the sport's history. Being voted as Bundesliga's greatest manager ever, the German won nine domestic championships and two Champions Leagues with Dortmund and Bayern.
6. Bob Paisley
Just until a few weeks ago, when Ancelotti won his third Champions League title, Paisley was the only manager ever that celebrated three European Cups. Liverpool was already a dominating team in Europe when Paisley arrived, but he made the Reds explode in a whole other level.
It is kind of bizzare that he is considered as one of the best managers in history, without bearing any exceptional knowledge of football tactics. It was his understanding of psychology that got him the very best out of every player he ever coached at Liverpool, inspiring them into being one of the most dominant sides in European football.
5. Helenio Herrera
One of the true "fathers" of today's football management. The highly intelligent Argentinian is the one who mastered the famous "catenaccio", the tactical system which led the enormous success that the Grande Inter of the 60s and the Italian national team of 1982 enjoyed.
Herrera's idiosycrancies were evidence of a manager way ahead of his time. "HH" is also the one who brought the mind games in high stage football.
During his tremendous career, he celebrated seven domestic championships and two European Cups.
4. Ernst Happel
The only thing that was higher than his eccentricity, was his outstanding knowledge of footballing tactics.
Ernst Happel won two European Cups with Feyenoord(1970) and Hamburg (1983), both times being a true underdog. He also reached the European Cup final of 1978 with Club Brugge, falling to Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest. Certainly one of the biggest winners in the game's history.
3. Brian Clough
Clough does not reach this point in the list because of sustained success over many decades or some kind of tactical innovation that changed the game. In fact he did none of that.
He is though, the manager responsible for the most miraculous achievement football has ever witnessed, the back-to-back European Cup wins with Nottingham Forest. I must mention, of course, the importance of the greatest assistant manager in world football, Peter Taylor, but it was the overwhelming force of Clough’s personality and charisma that saw to that immense success.
2. Rinus Michels
From Barcelona's pressing game and "Tiki Taka" to Real Madrid's crazy counter-attacking football, Michels is the biggest influence on all of the dominating nowadays systems.
He is the one who brought "Total Football" in the early '70s, the system that is well-known as the most unstoppable way a squad of footballers has ever played. Michels belongs in the elite, the visionaries, the dreamers, the ones who see the game in a different way. Of all this elite, Rinus Michels has left one of the grandest marks.
1. Alex Ferguson
The success of the recent Red Devils' sides is well-known, but less so is his spell at Dundee United, which ended the dominance of Rangers and Celtic and led his team to three championships and a European Cup Winners Cup against an incredible Real Madrid in the final.
Following that, he transformed Manchester United from a faded giant to a modern footballing empire. Being "his way or the highway", either with Cantona or Wellbeck, Scholes or Carrick, Roy Keane or Cleverley, Sir Alex managed to discover a way to stay on top.
Hounourable Mentions : Miguel Munoz, Valeri Lobanovskiy, Carlo Ancelotti, Bill Shankly, Vicente Del Bosque
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