Which manager achieved the most success on a budget?

Date published: Monday 1st June 2020 9:44

Send your thoughts on Jurgen Klopp, Leonardo Bittencourt and whatever else is on your mind to theeditor@football365.com


Bundesliga lessons
Well I am sure many Mailboxers were watching another round of behind closed doors Bundesliga football over the weekend, so what did we learn this time around?

– Well Robert Lewandowski scored another brace, which means he has now scored against every current Bundesliga side, which is certainly no easy feat, oh and that backheel goal which nutmegged the keeper? that is just far to cheeky.

– Leonardo Bittencourt scored another worldie, this time against Schalke, now in a league with Phillipe Coutinho, a player known for his wonder strikes he certainly is being shown up by Leonardo, if you haven’t already you should head to YouTube and look up his other fabulous goals.

– Talking of Schalke, oh dear, another defeat, this was their 11th game without victory, in that time they have drew 4 and lost 7, scoring just the 3 goals and conceding a quite staggering 25, the last team I saw with those numbers was a Huddersfield side managed by David Wagner……..oh.

To end this mail, I will end it on a random David Wagner fact, no team managed by David Wagner has finished with a positive goal difference in 8 years, even his Huddersfield side that got promoted ended the Championship season on -2.
Mikey, CFC


Role model
A bit ironic that 15 years on, and Oliver, lfc, is writing in saying that Barca need to follow the Liverpool and City model to rebuild, when in fact it was City that essentially used Barca’s model to become a great club. Starting with Ferrando Soriano and Txiki Begiristain who were instrumental in rebuilding Barca and brought Guardiola in to manage the team. Barca created a vision and mission statement and built around it.

I still think Barca have a few years left with the current core with modern health practices (just look at how Italy, which does the best at keeping players healthy into their later years.) But certainly Barca haven’t been following their own model, which takes more effort, and are trying to buy their continued success.

I think this is more telling about the willingness a club has to take the harder, albeit better, route to success based on their current circumstances. If not currently successful, especially over an extended period, then take the harder route. If already successful then the temptation is to take the quicker route – as in buying in expensive players.

But the game keeps moving on and what made a club successful once before does not sustain success without change going forward.

It is also testament to how well Fergie did in keeping Utd successful over an extended period, as did Liverpool in prior years.
Paul McDevitt


What a pointless article that was. But it got me thinking. (MC – as all ‘pointless articles’ do)

I don’t understand why fans in England are so obsessed with transfer fees?

I understand when it comes to Liverpool fans and their net spend because they’re good at it. It makes sense. Like Arsenal used to measure football in terms of “free-flowing” because theirs was. We all like to think that stuff should be measured in what we are good at.

But what about the others?

How is it relevant how much money one spends and then how can you compare their achievements?

Isn’t the transfer fee dependent on so many variables such as availability, selling intent, current and offerd contract duration, wages, agent etc.?

We are all smart enough to understand how transfers work and transfer fee isn’t something that actually reflects the value of a player.

Then why all the time we see fans/writers judging teams on the basis of their spend.

They didn’t spend and say “stop us if you can from winning everything.”

You put those unrealistic expectations on them so that you can laugh (Haw haw, you can’t buy titles) at them at the end of the season should they fail to achieve their objectives.

I feel fans these days are so reluctant to talk about football, they’d discuss/credit/criticize just about anything else including spend/VAR etc.

Can we stop this madness and judge football clubs on, you know, their football ability?


Success on a budget
So I was wondering today, we all know managers such as Jose Mourinhio and Pep Guardiola who are so called “Bought their success”, now that is a debate for another day, but what about managers who achieved impressive feats on a relatively low budget, here are a few that come to my mind with some nice inclusions who often get forgotten about.

– Jurgen Klopp at Dortmund
Back to back Bundesliga titles, DFB Pokal and UCL Runners Up

– Claudio Ranieri at Leicester
Title winners in 15/16

– Diego Simeone at Atletico
La Liga Title, Copa Del Rey, UCL Runners Up Twice, Europa League Winners

– David Moyes at Everton
Consistent top 6 challengers

– Mauricio Pochettino at Spurs
Broke into the Top 4, UCL Runners Up

– Chris Wilder at Sheffield United
From League 1 to Premier League within 3 years, currently fighting for a European spot in their first season, most expensive signing was John Egan at £4m before their Premier League debut.

– Alan Curbishley at Charlton
Promoted from First Division in 99/00, consistent mid-table finishes, with two seasons finishing 7th and 9th, resigned in 2006 when they finished 13th, the following season they are relegated and have never been back to the Premier League since.

– George Burley at Ipswich
Promotion from Division One (That is the Championship now kids) and got the side into the UEFA Cup in their debut season in the Premier League,

So what managers come to your mind that achieved quite a fair bit on a small budget?
Mikey, CFC (Technically Di Matteo won the FA Cup and Champions League with Chelsea and didn’t spend a penny, but that would be VERY cheeky to include)


Amongst all articles and discussion of premier league football returning please spare a thought to the impact of Covid-19 on kids grassroots football.   For obvious reasons the season was cut short in March: this came after January and February had barely any matches played due to the various storms.

At grassroots level many clubs operate on a non profit basis.  I’m a trustee of a club, Goldsworth Park Rangers that’s also a registered charity. We are run by volunteers and have more than 600 boys and girls registered as players.  It’s a worrying time as currently next season is uncertain but also with this season cut short we no longer have match fee income coming in and have also had to cancel our end of year tournament.

This is normally loads of fun for the kids, with more than 2,000 boys and girls attending.  It’s also the club’s major fundraiser of year, helping to fund the next season, for example paying to train on 3G pitches rather than on the council recreation ground that we use.

The club is therefore putting on a virtual event next weekend “Together For Charity”, we’ve arranged for all kids to take penalties at home, with all of our teams aiming to score 2020 penalties each.  All money raised will be split between the club and two other local charities – Shooting Star Children’s Hospice and Halo Children’s Foundation.

There are also some individual challenges going on, in particular Woking FC manager Alan Dowson has agreed to run 20 laps of the local lake, which totals around 12 miles! This is a great example of grassroots adult football and kids football coming together – and exemplifies the community club that Woking is.

If any of your readers would be happy to support this charity initiative more details are here.

Hopefully all grassroots kids football teams can come through this time unscathed.

Simon Barron, Goldsworth Park Rangers 


Dirty Den
Gareth M
asks whether Denilson is the most overrated player.

In fairness, the only person who rated him enough to spend a record £21M was Real Betis president Manuel Ruiz de Lopera, who pounced after a move to Barcelona for a smaller transfer fee had broken down over a tax issue.

Ronaldo, Denilson’s predecessor as the most expensive player in the world, had cost Internazionale £19.5m. He was the youngest-ever World Player of the Year, scoring 47 goals in 49 games for Barcelona.

Denilson barely had 50 appearances to his name for São Paulo, with just a handful of goals.

After not scoring by December for his new club, Denilson told reporters “I’m trying hard to prove I’m the best in the world, but I’m only the most expensive.”

A prime example of a promising player being expected to perform well above his abilities.

Denilson wasn’t overrated. He was overwhelmed.
Dario (Cantona was overrated, mind you) Herts.


2000s hindsight
Oliver Dziggel raised a good question this morning regarding the Henry vs Van Nistlerooy debate from the mid 00’s. I suppose there are some stylistic arguments that could be made, with Van NIstlerooy being a 90’s style poacher while Henry’s more rounded game would be right at home today.  My take is it’s their legacy that changed our impression of their ability.

Henry’s time at Arsenal was one of the most successful in their history and the year he departed was the end of the Invincibles era and start of the “4th place Arsenal” meme period. Also Henry’s time at Barcelona saw them transition from a big club to one of modern mega clubs. He is also credited as being a role model to Lionel Messi.

Van Nistlerooy’s time at Man Utd meanwhile was one of their least successful periods under Ferguson (it’s still crazy to think that a title, FA cup & league cup in 4 years was a comparative underachievement). Then his spell at Real Madrid was that hilarious period where they seemed to go out of the Champions League in the first knockout round every year. Also his departure from Man Utd suddenly made their attack much more fluid and allowed to Rooney and Ronaldo to start unlocking their true potential. It’s easy to see how hindsight is a lot kinder to Henry than Van Nistlerooy.

Only a loosely similar premise of under rated/over rated, how good was Kieran Dyer? I don’t mean that rhetorically though. I remember him being genuinely regarded as one of the best English midfield prospects of the time alongside Steven Gerrard and Joe Cole Leeds even put an offer of £25 million in for him before they went all Ridsdale. But I was also a teenage Newcastle fan during his heyday so given how poor his stats are from that period and how badly he tailed off I’m aware I might have been viewing him through black and white glasses.
Kevin, Nottingham


Vu are ya?
Replacing crowd noise with vuvuzela sound will make every player feel special – they will think it’s World Ćup Game and automatically give the very best of them. Imagine, every week each team produces WC final performance.


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