Top Five: Greatest managers

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Football News

Pep Guardiola’s resignation as Barcelona manager on Friday spelled the end for a manager heralded as one of the greatest in the club’s history.

In his four year spell at the Nou Camp, Guardiola guided Barcelona to a remarkable 13 trophies, while he has the chance to end his tenure on a high with victory in the Copa del Rey final next month against Athletic Bilbao.

But where does Guardiola’s achievements in shaping one of the finest football teams the world have ever seen leave him in the list of the all-time great managers? GMF is here to answer that very question.

5 – Brian Clough

“Old big ‘ead” as he was affectionately known turned the English game on its head and remarkably delivered Nottingham forest to back-to-back European Cup victories in 1979 and 1980.

When he took over at Forest in 1975, along with his eminent assistant Peter Taylor, they were languishing in 13th place in Division Two. Within five years he had heralded the greatest period in the club’s history, helping them win their two European cups along with a league title, four league cup successes and a European Super Cup triumph.

More than his achievements however, Clough is remembered as one of the most entertaining managers in the English game, with his acerbic style winning friends and enemies up and down the land.

4 – Ottmar Hitzfeld

World coach of the year twice, Ottmar Hitzfeld is one of just three managers to have won the Champions League with two different clubs.

The 63-year-old has an unbelievable record as a club manager and is still going strong to this day as manager of the Swiss national side.

Overall Hitzfeld has won seven Bundesliga titles with Bayern Munich across two spells with the club and won the Champions League twice, in 1997 and 2001.

He has also enjoyed success in Switzerland and has won four league titles there – although the low point of his career came as he looked destined to deliver what would have been his second Champions League success with Bayern Munich in 1999, only for Manchester United to produce their famous late comeback.

3 – Bob Paisley

As the successor of Bill Shankly and the recipient of the foundations he placed at Liverpool, Paisley’s inclusion over the great man is controversial.

However his successes in Europe alone means he is worthy of inclusion, while his record at Liverpool is in fact even better than Shankly’s.

Paisley’s first league title in 1976 went on to mark an astonishing era of success at the club, with the Reds winning the league title in six of his nine seasons in charge, three European Cups, three League Cups, one UEFA Cup and five Charity Shields.

He is the only man to have managed three European Cup-winning sides, lifting the trophy in 1977, 1978 and 1981.

2 – Sir Alex Ferguson

While Guardiola complained of burn-out after his four years in charge of Barcelona, Sir Alex Ferguson has demonstrated longevity rarely seen in managers in the modern game. In a tight tussle with Sir Matt Busby, Ferguson just wins out because of his remarkable consistency.

In charge of Manchester since 1986 after a succesful spell with Aberdeen, Ferguson has won pretty much everything there is to win in the game, rebuilding successful teams time after time. 

The Scot has won an astonishing 12 league titles with United to help them overtake Liverpool as the most successful English club in terms of league titles won, while he has also won five FA Cups, four League Cups and two Champions League trophies.

The 70-year-old retains much of his enthusiasm to this very day, and is on the cusp of adding a 13th league title this season.

1 - Rinus Michels

Perhaps not the most well-known name compared to the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson and Brian Clough, but if his name doesn’t ring a bell then his legacy certainly will.

Michels is credited with being the founder of the Dutch concept of total football, bringing the idea with great success to Ajax, the Netherlands and latterly Barcelona.

The Dutch boss won the accolade of FIFA’s coach of the century in 1999, won the 1988 European Championships with the Netherlands, helped Ajax win the European Cup and Barcelona the league title.

He also came close to winning the World Cup with his country in 1974, reaching the final before losing out to West Germany, leaving the legacy of one of the best side’s never to have won the World Cup.

It’s not just his achievements that make his the best manager of all time, his presence is still felt today. Both Guardiola and Johan Cruyff, two of the most successful managers of all time and students of Michels, acknowledge his influence on their careers.

So Guardiola doesn’t quite make it on to our list of the greatest managers of all time, but do you agree? Do more managers still weaving their magic like Arsene Wenger or Jose Mourinho deserve recognition? And are there too many British managers on our list?

Let us know by leaving your comment below.

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