Southgate, Eriksson, Ramsey: Who is the greatest England manager ever?

Although England took part in the first ever international football match recognised by FIFA when they drew 0-0 with Scotland in November 1872, the Three Lions didn’t appoint a permanent boss until 1946.

Since that time, 15 different individuals have held the post of manager of the England men’s football team, each with various levels of success.

From shambolic defeats to World Cup glory, England supporters have endured it all over the last 76 years.

Now, with the 2022 World Cup on the horizon, FourFourTwo have ranked every England boss ever and you can check out their conclusion below.

Every England manager ever (as ranked by FourFourTwo)

LONDON – NOVEMBER 21: Manager of England Steve McClaren looks dejected during the Euro 2008 Group E qualifying match between England and Croatia at Wembley Stadium on November 21, 2007 in London, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

15. Steve McLaren (2006-2007)

McLaren inherited an England squad that should have been had a realistic chance of glory at Euro 2008. The problem came when they didn’t actually qualify. Finishing only third to Russia and Croatia in their qualifying group, England’s superstars were forced to spend the summer at home.

The sight of McLaren forlornly clutching an umbrella as England fell to defeat in a decisive clash with Croatia is one he has never managed to live down.

14. Graham Taylor (1990-1993)

Another who failed to guide the Three Lions to a major tournament. England missed out on USA 1994 under Taylor’s stewardship.

The former Watford boss did take charge of the nation at Euro 1992 two years earlier, but his side mustered little in the tournament. Just one goal in three group stages matches saw England dumped out in the preliminary stages.

A thoroughly underwhelming reign.

TRNAVA, SLOVAKIA – SEPTEMBER 04: Sam Allardyce manager of England looks on prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Group F qualifying match between Slovakia and England at City Arena on September 4, 2016 in Trnava, Slovakia. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

13. Sam Allardyce (2006)

‘Big Sam’ lasted just a single game in the role after being caught up in a tabloid sting. He may have been dismissed after only 63 days, but at least he departed with a 100% record.

A 1-0 win over Slovakia was Allardyce’s sole contribution in the England dugout.

12. Kevin Keegan (1999-2000)

Keegan oversaw a dismal Euro 2000 for England, where the Three Lions failed to make it past the group stages following defeats to Portugal and Romania.

England did overcome Germany at the tournament, though. Unfortunately for Keegan, he couldn’t repeat the dose when the same opposition came to Wembley in a World Cup 2002 qualifier later that year.

Following a 1-0 defeat, Keegan resigned – reportedly informing the English FA of his decision while in a toilet cubicle.

ST ALBANS, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 06: England manager Fabio Capello walks out to the England training session at London Colney on October 6, 2009 in St Albans, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

11. Fabio Capello (2008-2012)

FA chiefs dug deep to bring in Capello in the aftermath of McLaren’s spectacular failure. The Italian had enjoyed much success at club level and the hope was that he could replicate it on the international stage with England’s ‘Golden Generation’.

He couldn’t. Despite the Three Lions powering their way to the 2010 World Cup, the team’s performance at the tournament proper was miles short of expectations.

England were on the plane home after a 4-1 defeat to Germany in the last-16.

Continuing to collect on his massive contract until 2012, Capello eventually resigned over the FA’s decision to strip John Terry of the England captaincy in the same year.

10. Don Revie (1974-1977)

Revie enjoyed victories over fierce rivals Scotland and West Germany during his reign, but failed to actually qualify for a major tournament. In his defence, World Cups and European Championships were far smaller affairs than they are today, with only the elite sides of the time making it to the showpiece competitions.

When he decided to move on from the job, Revie famously sold his story to the Daily Mail before informing the FA that he would be quitting.

9. Roy Hodgson (2012-2016)

Managed England at three major tournaments, but even a veteran like Hodgson couldn’t survive England’s humiliating defeat to Iceland in the knock-out stages of Euro 2016.

11 Oct 1997: England coach Glenn Hoddle raises his arms in celebration after the World Cup Qualifier against Italy at the Olympic Stadium in Rome, Italy. The game ended 0-0 and England qualified for the World Cup finals. \ Mandatory Credit: Ben Radford/Allsport

8. Glenn Hoddle (1996-1999)

Guided England to the 1998 World Cup by securing a crucial point against Italy on a dramatic night in Rome.

Like several others on this list, Hoddle could do no better than the early knock-out phases of the competition proper, falling to Argentina on penalties in the last-16.

Hoddle never got another opportunity to manage England at a major tournament, axed over controversial comments made in the media the following year.

7. Ron Greenwood (1977-1982)

Successfully led England to the 1982 World Cup finals, ending a 12-year-absence for a nation that had missed the previous two tournaments.

Greenwood provided much-needed stability during a bleak period for the Three Lions.

6. Walter Winterbottom (1946-1962)

England’s first ever full-time manager. Lasting an impressive 16 years in the role, Winterbottom took the nation to four successive World Cups.

His best result was a pair of quarter-final appearances in 1954 and 1962, but he absolutely deserves recognition for longevity.

LISBON, PORTUGAL – JUNE 24: A pensive Sven Goran Eriksson of England during the UEFA Euro 2004, Quarter Final match between Portugal and England at the Luz Stadium on June 24, 2004 in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

5. Sven-Goran Eriksson (2001-2006)

The reign of England’s first foreign manager got off to the best possible start with a 5-1 demolition of Germany just months into his tenure.

Sven was no stranger to off-field scandals. That said, his results as England boss were mostly solid, with the Three Lions making a number of tournament quarter-finals under his stewardship.

4. Terry Venables (1994-1996)

Guided England to the Euro 1996 semi-finals on home soil – and was arguably unlucky not to see his side go at least one step further as they were eliminated on penalties by Germany.

Legal issues away from football saw his time in charge cut short.

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3. Bobby Robson (1982-1990)

Another England boss foiled on penalties by the Germans, Robson oversaw the renaissance of the national side during his eight years in charge.

Developing the likes of Paul Gascoigne and Gary Lineker at international level, Robson left a lasting legacy as Three Lions boss.

2. Gareth Southgate (2016-present)

Southgate came so close to finally bringing football home last July as his England side were cruelly denied on penalties in the final of Euro 2020 by Italy.

The former Aston Villa and Middlesbrough defender had also led his nation to their first major tournament final in over two decades three years earlier at the 2018 World Cup – with Croatia foiling Southgate on that occasion.

Time will tell if the current Three Lions boss can finally land a major prize at the World Cup in Qatar later this year.

Sir Alf Ramsey, England football manager (right) with Bobby Moore (1941 – 1993), England captain, holding the Jules Rimet World Cup trophy after England’s World Cup final victory. Original Publication: People Disc – HN0487 (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)

1. Sir Alf Ramsey (1963-1974)

The only man in history to win a major international trophy as England boss, Ramsey deservedly heads this list.

His 1966 World Cup triumph still ranks as one of England’s greatest ever sporting successes and will live on in legend forever.

Proving that not even a World Cup win is enough to keep a manager from the sack, Ramsey departed after failing to guide England to the 1974 finals.

That footnote, though, will never affect his sparkling legacy. A true icon of English football.

Signing of the season? (Via The Football Terrace)

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