Name a first-time successful Premier League boss

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An excellent question
With the debate about rookie English managers, or lack thereof, rearing its head again, I have a genuine question which I have spent literally minutes thinking about: since the turn of the century have there been any successful managers whose first job was at a Premier League club? My definition of success:

1) Had at least one ‘good’ season in charge of their first club (‘good’ being defined as supporters and board being pleased with the club’s position at the end of the season).

2) Is either still at that club or has gone on to have success elsewhere.
Ian, Farnborough

(We have considered this for literally minutes too, and came up with the name of Steve McClaren. Just Steve McClaren – Ed)


Give Unsworth a chance
You appear to have pulled David Unsworth into the orbit of your latest ‘little Englanders’ rant in today’s Mediawatch (and beyond)

You were ‘sodding ecstatic’ that as an Englishman he lost to a Frenchman on Sunday. Bit weird, but that’s your prerogative.

You constantly bemoan the likes of Allardyce and Redknapp for suggesting an English manager be appointed, and because you’ve taken against that point of view that mean you are against Unsworth as well, by default. Even though both Sam and Harry were advocating for Dyche to get the job, not Unsworth.

Your analysis of Neville’s opinion of Unsworth was churlish at best – as a successful U23 manager that has been asked to take temporary charge of Everton at short notice why should Unsworth have previously applied for the Chesterfield job? Working with our Director of Football he’s been planning for the next generation’s teams and probably spent more on player recruitment than a lot of Championship clubs did last summer, so he had a vision that he wanted to see through but has had to step up in the meantime once Koeman failed to get the team playing this season.

He’s been working with lots of the squad anyway, signing players with the Director of Football, has a 25 -year relationship with the chairman and is respected internally as a good coach with a bright future….why shouldn’t we appoint him for a few games and see how it goes? You make it sound like he’s just walked in off the street – we might have a really good manager on our books already so isn’t it right that we find out before we start firing up the £10m compensation package bus once more and go on a road trip?

He might be a northern Tim Sherwood, or Terry Connor in a XXXL jacket, but he might also be really good at the job and most Everton fans are quite happy to see him given the chance to show it one way or the other.


And again….
Jesus Christ, I hadn’t even read Winners and Losers when I wrote that…

I’d love to know who you think should be Everton manager, if it’s so obvious to you that it shouldn’t be Unsworth?

‘This (v Leicester) was as bad as anything under Koeman’, you claim. It wasn’t. It really, really wasn’t. Try 0-0 at West Ham away last season (59% possession, 4 shots, 0 on target), and that was an away draw in a ‘good’ season. Take a look at the performances at Stamford Bridge under Koeman and the League Cup match last week (we crossed the halfway line and everything..)

Whatever we are under Unsworth, he’s not going to have to pick the summer signings to justify their massive fees – that’s why you’re seeing Lennon instead of Sigurdsson – one of them has played s**t all season, the other should have had a penalty yesterday. I would argue that Lennon and Mirallas actually played well – you could criticise Unsworth for subbing them but instead you’ve looked at it on paper and asked why is he picking these players – it’s the wrong question, and you are asking for the wrong reason.


But they were awful…

I watched the whole Leicester v Everton game yesterday after expecting to be bored out of contention first half. First of all I have to say I was very wrong about Puel, a manager who, although performing quite well, didn’t charm me at all at Southampton. Leicester looked different in probably the best way – didn’t look like they missed the 4-4-2 at all, Demarai Gray looked like a phenomenon and I really liked Chilwell further up on the left. That said, Everton were hopeless. I’ve rarely seen Rooney play worse, Aaron Lennon looked like their best player and they had to make two half-time subs. Considering that four of the players on the pitch at the final whistle have played under David Unsworth you’d expect them to share his philosophy, understand his ethos and maybe even if there was a cool head among them, communicate this message on the field. Instead, the four U23 players for Everton looked absolutely marooned, and even without the own goal (definite own goal) Jonjoe Kenny had a shocker, Baningime (who was decent enough against Chelsea midweek) only had 29 touches in centre midfield and barely contributed to any phase in play, Tom Davies was ubiquitous but a bit ineffective and Calvert Lewin barely touched the ball in 90 minutes.

I don’t know why you’d be pushing for David Unsworth to be Everton manager when even players he’s known for a long time aren’t able to see out his game plan on the pitch. Maybe they’re showing their own nerves and a bit of his?

Unlikely as it is I’d love to see Eddie Howe at Everton.
Matt, CFC, Glasgow


British football clubs owe British managers nothing
For a long time, I’ve found the argument that ex-pros should be given a manager’s job because they know either a) the club or b) the league utterly bemusing. As a United fan, I know the club, maybe even better than many of the current players (and certainly more than the last two managers). I’m also British and been watching the Premier League since its inception. Therefore I am the logical choice as manager when Jose leaves right?

No. For one simple reason – I am not qualified. It’s not the job of the club to make me qualified.

The Premier League clubs, or any clubs for that matter, do not have a duty of care to England, English football or otherwise. That’s the job of the FA. Like the youth teams, it’s up to the FA to develop proper coaches and to arm them with the tools to succeed. Appointing any inexperienced person to a role they have never done before is a risk – just ask my boss – but that’s where the clubs come in. You can’t force them to do it, just hope they do and provide guidance and support. Guys like Alan Hardy at Notts County have taken a punt and it’s working out well with Kevin Nolan, like it did for the chaps who hired Antonio Conte in Italy.

Go away, learn your profession and you might get a shot, but the (football) world owes you nothing. Some of our ‘second class citizens’ would do well to remember that.
Conrad Wiacek, MUFC


But there IS discrimination
I really enjoyed your Winners and Losers column (as always) today, but one point did make me pause for thought. The following sentence, regarding the appointment of British managers: ‘It’s incredible that it is needed, but to ask the question again: Why would any club deliberately avoid appointing a manager they considered to be the best for the job because of his nationality?’ . In short, it is highly unlikely they would, but this question largely misses the being made I think. Replace the words ‘his nationality’ with the words ‘their gender’ to see what I am getting at.

It is highly unlikely that if a female equivalent of Pep Guardiola came along – say had won the Women World Cup as a coach, the national leagues with two different A List clubs and the Champions League playing the most attractive football in the women’s game. I suspect that it is much more unlikely that they would be given the same opportunity as a male who had done the same in the women’s game on the basis of their gender, which is a shame. This would be down to the perception the men’s game would have of her as a women, rather than her as a manager.

I don’t think Phil Neville or anyone else is seriously suggesting that clubs are not appointing British Managers because they are British. What Neville and the like appear to be saying is that because they are British they are not being perceived in the same way and are therefore not being given the same opportunities. There is a difference, as my female colleagues have pointed out to me many, many times in a professional workplace.

Clubs will always appoint those managers that they perceive to be the best and there may be an element of truth in the notion that foreign is perceived as better on the basis that it is different, more exotic, new, fresh etc and therefore it will be better. This is the point that needs to be debated really – are foreign managers being unfairly perceived as better and therefore taking opportunities from British managers? I for one would welcome discussion on this.

To me, the evidence would suggest not. British managers are given PLENTY of opportunities at big clubs and have floundered badly (see Hughes at City and Moyes at Man U, Sherwood at Spurs, Hodgson at Liverpool) and have been the first in line for many other mid-table or lower appointments and been poor or underperformed (see Pardew at Palace, Mike Phelan at Hull, David Moyes at Sunderland etc and so on). My gut also tells me that the success of British managers is probably overstated (e.g. Dyche and Howe, though both have undeniably done v good jobs, but that does not make them qualified to manage Arsenal, City or Man U), whereas the press and pundits are much more slow to acknowledge the undeniable success, credentials or impact of foreign managers (e.g. Puel, Marco Silva, Ranieri), but it is hard to prove one way or another.

Further as you correctly point out in Mediawatch, nearly three-quarters of managerial jobs end up with British managers. The real problem here appears to be the lack of any intelligent debate on the matter by mainstream British Pundits, many of whom are ex-players who seem to find it hard to accept that they may not be quite as good a manager as they were a player.


…Having just read the Unsworth paragraph of the Winners and Losers one thing that strikes me as odd is why are the same arguments you present here for why British managers aren’t endangered used when talking about black managers. These are very similar cases to me.

‘The Premier League is a global league with global owners and global players, so why on earth wouldn’t they appoint the best they could?’

Exactly. Owners would appoint Degsy if they had any sort of guarantee he would bring success so the problem with there not being enough black managers in the league to me at least appears to be that there aren’t enough black managers proving themselves to be attractive to the owners in the league, not that they aren’t getting the opportunities. I highly doubt the Americans running United or the Arab running Man City thought about the colors of their skin when hiring Mourinho and Pep. Just like nobody cared about their nationality.
Dino Kantardzic


Brits really ARE getting chances though
It’s truly sad that John Nicholson needs to write the same article about English managers again and again. The problem is, he has to do it because it keeps being said despite it clearly not being true. Indeed, 5 minutes’ Googling of the current PL clubs brings about this list of British managers (I have included Republic of Ireland managers too as they’re not seen as ‘foreign’ by the knuckledraggers – nobody thinks of Hughton as ‘a foreign’) since 2012. Here are the results:

Manchester City – NONE

Manchester Utd – 2 (Ferguson, Moyes – Giggs excluded)

Spurs – 2 (Redknapp, Sherwood)

Chelsea – NONE

Arsenal – NONE

Liverpool – 2 (Dalglish, Rodgers)

Watford – 1 (Dyche – McKinley excluded)

Newcastle – 3 (Pardew, Carver, McClaren)

Southampton – 1 (Adkins)

Burnley – 2 (Howe, Dyche – Pashley excluded)

Leicester – 2 (Pearson, Shakespeare – Appleton excluded)

Brighton – 1 (Hughton)

Huddersfield – 4 (Clark, Grayson, Robins, Powell – Lillis excluded)

Stoke – 2 (Pulis, Hughes)

West Brom – 4 (Hodgson, Clarke, Irvine, Pulis – Downing and O’Kelly excluded)

West Ham – 1 (Allardyce)

Swansea – 3 (Rodgers, Monk, Clement – Curtis excluded)

Everton – 1 (Moyes – Unsworth excluded)

Bournemouth – 3 (Howe, Groves, Bradbury)

Palace – 7 – (Freedman, Holloway, Pulis, Warnock, Pardew, Allardyce, Hodgson – Millen excluded).

So, as can be seen here, only Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea have not appointed a British manager in the past five years. Of those, Arsenal can be explained away by the fact that Wenger has been in post since 1754. He is, by the way, the club’s only non-British manager. There are, in addition, eight other British coaches who have taken caretaker roles – sometimes multiple times – yet never quite managed to land the top jobs. Some of the yo-yo clubs (Villa (more recently), Birmingham City, Derby, Boro, Sunderland etc..) would only serve to strengthen this list I think.

So, in short, Potato Head is talking bollocks as usual. British managers seem to do okay according to this list. It just seems that they don’t quite kick on. Hughes was perhaps unlucky at City (before my 2012 cut off); but Rodgers certainly had enough time at Liverpool; Redknapp also did at Spurs; Allardyce royally cocked up the biggest club that he managed (Newcastle); and the less said about Moyes at Manchester United the better. Perhaps many of them just aren’t world class…
Joe, Leicester


Big six are not unreachable
Good Winners and Losers piece.

I am interested by your comments about the top six dominating. While I agree they are ahead of everyone at the minute it has only been 18 months of ‘top 6’ dominance.

First we had Man Utd and Arsenal dominating. Then we had Chelsea and City getting involved. Liverpool always threaten to join the party (and occasionally do) but seem to shoot themselves in the foot. Now Spurs have proven they can hang out with the big boys. This has been a gradual process.

Clubs such as Everton, Newcastle, West Ham even Leicester (possibly a few sleeping giants in the Championship too) will look at the money in the Premiership and the Spurs blueprint and with the correct investment in the squad and coaching staff can legitimately think they can join the party too.

Yes City are looking like they are in a league of one at the moment but in my view the Prem is in a healthy state.

Other leagues do not have anywhere near the same competition and its not like the Prem teams are weak as they are leading the way in Europe too.

So all in all yes there is a strong top six at the minute but there are reasons to feel optimistic about English football and hopefully a strong top eight or top 10 in the coming years.
H (delighted for our World Cup winning boys)


Why isn’t everybody laughing at Poch?
I am a Football 365 disciple and will therefore find it difficult to turn my back on this website. I have referred a few overzealous friends who would send me a link from the Sun or Daily Mirror about their team to this very site because I trust(ed) their impartiality. The last two weeks the mailbox was inundated with mails from Tottenham fans who would point to a variety of reasons as to why Poch is the New Football Messiah. Now that MoPo (as he has been gloriously crowned here) has lost to the one person everyone has been saying he is now streets ahead of there is strangely no article in the mailbox to point that out. While I am too old to plead with F365 for an opportunity to gloat to other grown men online, I feel the two mailboxes so far are not a reflection of all that is being written to F365.

So I challenge you to carry on the spirit of impartiality that you seemingly try to champion and let your articles reflect the narrative of the last few weeks. I am not asking you to lambast the Poch but frankly if the record of two away wins in 16 games against their peers was being carried by Mourinho’s United an article was going to be dedicated to him. Scratch that, the Poch was celebrated for a draw against Real Madrid as if he had won the damn thing and not a word is said when he loses to Mou who he is supposedly much better than? I know it is not pleasing that the Emperor’s new clothes have been slightly uncovered but you are better than this or so I would like to believe.
Ryan, Cpt

(We really do publish a reflection of what we receive. And read 16 Conclusions for some criticism of MoPo – The Ed)


F365 bias? What a load of tripe
I am so fed up with the ‘F365’ is biased towards one team or another, it is actually ridiculous. Over the year, there will be accusations of bias to or against every major team at some stage (as seen in the last few mailboxes).

The website predominantly focuses on the top teams because they have the most fans and they write OPINION based articles, which is how they feel about a team at any one time. 9/10 I agree with them. Sometimes I don’t. I don’t then cry to mummy about how the website doesn’t like my team anymore.

A look at ‘F365 Says’ shows three articles on Utd on page 1. One is a 16 conclusions which started all this bias rubbish. The second conclusion hails their amazing home record whilst also suggesting the football hasn’t always been amazing. I tend to agree, three shots on target at home for a club of Utd’s calibre isn’t good enough. Arsenal were mocked for 0 shots on target away at Chelsea, why can’t Utd face the same criticism at home? Overall the match wasn’t that fun for neutrals (having spoken to friends, most don’t even watch Utd’s games against the top 6) so I agree. Not everyone will, as one would expect.

Over the first three pages you have (based on whether the article was mostly Pro or Con (yes I realise that is subjective)):

West Brom – PC
Leicester – PCC
West Ham – PC
Spurs – PPPPC
Everton – CC
Arsenal – PC
United – PPCPP
City – P
Southampton – C
Liverpool – CPCCC

It’s almost like the number of articles is linked to the popularity of the club and the tone of the article is linked to their current form…
Rob A (I guess you’re entitled to have the opinion that F365’s opinions are bias) AFC


More reasons to be cheerful
In reply to Mike Pearson, (Sir) Kenny Dalglish Stand.

You convinced me so I have changed the league table. I am awarding Liverpool additional two points each for the Burnley, Newcastle, Man Utd and Watford games and wait for it three points for the City game cause ’30 mins against Man City we created the better chances’.

The tables now stands

Liverpool 27
Man City 25
Man Utd 25
Spurs 20
Chelsea 19
Arsenal 19

No need to thank me Mike.
Lynton(Glad you noticed I took away the Man Utd defeat to Huddersfield cause I felt United was the better team…besides those two mistakes)


Fine margins for the Cherries
I’m beginning to feel like a stuck record at the moment. I’m a Bournemouth fan and it’s been a frustrating season so far for us. As a fanbase we don’t generally have very high expectations from our team, we want to win enough games to stay up and maybe bloody the noses of a couple of the big teams, maybe have a run in the cup. The thing we usually say we care about more than anything though is the quality of our team’s performance. Bournemouth under Howe have been a very aesthetically pleasing team to watch.

So far this season however, the only things we’ve really had to be cheerful about are a bit of a cup run against mediocre opposition and some good, albeit ultimately futile, performances against the big teams. So far we’ve played Chelsea, Tottenham, Man City and Arsenal. The only one of these that we got smashed was against Arsenal. It’s an interesting development as in previous seasons, with a couple of exceptions, we’ve mostly been annihilated by these teams whereas this season we’ve narrowly lost to Man City, Spurs and Chelsea. So narrow were our defeats in fact that we feel a little aggrieved to have got nothing from them.

In the greater context of the season however this has done nothing to help us as we’ve also lost to a dire Everton team, A mediocre West Brom, an admittedly decent Watford (Silva is a very impressive manager) and drawn with Leicester. The fight and backbone that we’ve shown against the big boys has not translated into points against lesser opposition (except Stoke and Brighton).

I want to know who else has had a start to a season recently where the performances of the team seem to have improved but the results seem to have gotten worse. It’s an odd situation to be in and made me wonder if it’s just a case of the old fine margins thing just not falling our way.
Paul J (AFCB Red and Black army – London)


Ed’s weekend thoughts
Dear Football365,

* A brief and timely reminder that stoppage time is entirely at the discretion of the referee, and that when the board shows six minutes, it means the whistle can (provided no other stoppages occur) blow at any point up to and including 96:59, and not at 96:00. It’s also a form of poetic justice when one team has done a lot of timewasting.

* What a result. I was completely unaware of what had happened between Crystal Palace and West Ham United until I got a text from a friend after the event, as I was at an actual football match. I’m not claiming to be a non-league football expert, I’m just someone who went to one game, specifically Grantham Town v Halesowen Town in the FA Trophy. There weren’t many moments of real quality, but nonetheless it was an absorbing game to watch, and fortunately the Gingerbreads emerged with a 1-0 win.

* The UK’s leading Right Said Fred tribute act, Alan Shearer and Danny Murphy on Match of the Day, were deeply critical of United’s inability to close out the game, largely because Michail Antonio crossed the ball to no one, despite having three teammates in advanced positions. That the Eagles were able to work the ball up the field and also laterally for the equaliser said a lot about a lack of positional discipline by United.

* Speaking of positional discipline, Palace’s right side wasn’t very good. Joel Ward was far too narrow for the first United goal and couldn’t get close enough to prevent the pass to Hernandez. The second goal was a great strike, but Scott Dann was turned inside out twice, and was too far away to have made a difference anyway.

As an aside, why can’t defenders run backwards properly? When I played American football one of the first things we were taught was to run backwards with good form, and also to be able to open our hips and change direction maintaining poise, balance and speed and while still looking at the ball. Seriously, watch an NFL defensive back on any play and then compare it to a centre-back.

* Joe Hart had a very good game, and was the main reason United came out of the game with anything at all. He made some tremendous saves, and then laid into his teammates after the match. Not entirely sure that was the best course of action, but I think most of us would agree with the sentiment.

* Where were the rest of us when that group of United fans appointed themselves guardians of the England football team? Has it been that way since 1966? If that’s the case, shouldn’t it have transferred to Stoke City in 1972, when Geoff Hurst left United? Or to Fulham in 1974, when Bobby Moore moved across London? Either way, they were the last ones still booing David Beckham well into 1999 after his red card in the World Cup, and they were the ones this weekend claiming Wilfried Zaha was “too sh!t for England”. This is as laughable as it is asinine.

* In a perverse way, a draw for Palace may have done their survival chances more good than a win would have done. This way, as F365 and others pointed out, the D1ldo Brothers won’t feel inclined to sack Slaven Bilic, because they didn’t lose, but the longer he stays, the longer they’ll be in the relegation mire. The Eagles’ best hope of escaping is that as many teams as possible get drawn into the battle, while teams take points off each other, so any points they do get enable them to make up ground on everyone else. Baby steps, but in the right direction, at least.
Ed Quoththeraven