English managers on the rise in Premier League

October 30, 2008

The Premier League will always have its army of foreign players, some of whom are no better than English teenagers who make way for them, but the number of home-grown managers is at least growing.

Ex-Arsenal and England defender Tony Adams became the 10th English manager in the 20-team Premier League on Tuesday when he took over at Portsmouth, following Englishman Harry Redknapp’s move to Tottenham Hotspur days before.

On top of that, a further six managers hail from Wales, Scotland, Ireland or Northern Ireland, leaving Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger, Liverpool’s Rafa Benitez, Chelsea’s Luiz Felipe Scolari and West Ham United’s Gianfranco Zola as the only managers not from the British Isles. (Newcastle interim coach Joe Kinnear was born in Dublin and played for Ireland but we are counting him as English given his broad London accent…)

This is a far cry from the disastrous days of Ruud Gullit at Newcastle United, Alain Perrin at Portsmouth, Jean Tigana at Fulham or Christian Gross at Tottenham. Nowadays these clubs and ones of a similar stature are going for the likes of Paul Ince (Blackburn Rovers) and Gareth Southgate (Middlesbrough).

Cynics might point out that I have neglected to mention until now that three of the remaining four foreign managers currently have their feet up in offices at some of the Premier League’s top clubs, excluding Manchester United.

But then is this surprising given that an English manager hasn’t had a chance to prove himself at a top side in years?

The resurgence in appointing home-grown talent, or at least providing an opportunity to discover some, might one day see one of the big four appoint an English manager and England fans may again get a compatriot in charge of the national team.

Do you think foreign managers are good for the game?

Or should we be looking forward to a new era of emerging English or at least British managerial talent, perhaps starting with Hull City’s mercurial manager Phil Brown?

PHOTO: Portsmouth manager Tony Adams gestures during their English Premier League match against Liverpool, Oct. 29. REUTERS/Phil Noble


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Im quite happy with Capello thank you very much. That dangerous experiment with Englishman McClaren was a disaster…I think the increase in English coaches might be to do with saving money in the credit crunch. Im not sure the fad will last..

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The problem of English managers not getting the top 4 jobs has got nothing to do with there being fewer around in the premier league. The main problem is English (or even British) managers to not go abroad. Outside of the top 4 they are given very few opportunities to manage in european competitions, and those that do don’t generally succeed or even do very well. The top 4 will always look for managers who have a proven European record, because it is such a financial hot pot for them.

Posted by chris snape | Report as abusive

Happy for there to be more British Managers in the League(s) but I think for the moment England have got one of the best managers in Capello. Plus if he wins a trophy or two no one in England will care where’s he’s from.
Will admit though if I’d been asked to quickly guess off the top of my head what percentage of managers in the Premiership were English I wouldn’t have said 50%. I think that’s probably because I would immediately just associate, without thinking, people like Ferguson, O’Neill, Keane etc as British, then English. Stupid I know, but it’s only now that I’ve sat down and worked it out that you realise.

Posted by Rik | Report as abusive

to reiterate a comment made earlier by chris snape. The english managers are unfortunately pegged as specialists in english style football and as this style has not been flavour of the decade in the premiership their talents were not required. I feel if these managers decided to go abroad in the early stages of their managerial careers to spain ,italy or france rather than wycombe or brighton then they may have been in a position to offer a broader style of football. regarding the present breed and the greater numbers at work in the premiership this may be more to do with the current trend for a combined high effort, efficient, midfield focused game that many of the middle tier teams are employing, finally to get to my originally aimed point, you cant claim joe kinnear as english based on his accent, he is irish through and through, now if you claimed him on his imaginative use of language,, fair enough,, can see your point….

Posted by michael flanagan | Report as abusive

I’d love to see what Tony Mowbray could do with the resources of a big club. If anything, hes an English manager not suited to playing the ‘English way’ as someone said above. Would love to see the kind of football his team could play given the resources and the opportunity.

Posted by Lee@guillembalague.com | Report as abusive

its great to see ex footballers like roy keane, zola, ince and all getting a feel of leadership from the touch lines and i cant imagine gerrad, owen, shearer doing the same in some years to come, we have to wait and see!!

Posted by geo chuba | Report as abusive