The 50 greatest managers of all time

Spanish coach Vicente del Bosque

Providing balance has been the key to Vicente Del Bosque's successes

50. Carlos Bilardo

Points 810
Nationality Argentine

Many of the great managers would certainly have been able to empathise with the Argentine World Cup winner.

“I like being first,” Bilardo once proclaimed rather plainly. “Because second is no good. Being second is a failure. For me it’s good that if you lose you should feel bad. I’d feel very bad if we lost a match and that night I’m seen out eating calmly in some place. I can’t allow it.”

Not quite so many of those managers would be able to appreciate Bilardo’s exact style though. Because he finished that statement with his effective mantra “Shows are for the cinema, for the theatre… football is played to win.”

Infamously, he would go to most lengths to do so. Indeed, Bilardo’s reductive approach came to represent one side of the great Argentine football debate of the ’70s and ’80s. His pragmatism against Cesar Menotti’s purism. End result against entertainment.

Bilardo’s teams were often unattractive and ugly to watch. The two red cards his Argentina team received in the 1990 World Cup final were only reflective of his own football upbringing at the notoriously aggressive Estudiantes of the ’60s.

But, despite his dogma, Bilardo didn’t actually win that often. In truth, the only genuinely successful period of his career lasted no more than a decade. First, when he returned Estudiantes to the peak of Argentine domestic football over 1982-83, then when he took over the national team and Diego Maradona.

As Jonathon Wilson wrote in Inverting the Pyramid, “presenting one of the most system-driven managers of all time with arguably the greatest individual player of all time could have been one of football’s great ironies; as it turned out, it simply inspired Bilardo to the last great formational change” – wing-backs.

The formation allowed Maradona to roam free and thereby single-footedly rule a tournament. Bilardo’s inspired move was just enough to win the 1986 World Cup final and get to the final four years later. And, despite failures at Colombia and even his own Estudiantes, it also proved just enough to get him on this list.

Career Estudiantes 1973-76, Deportivo Cali 1976-78, San Lorenzo 1979, Colombia 1979-81, Estudiantes 1982-83, Argentina 1983-90, Sevilla 1992-93, Boca Juniors 1996, Guatemala 1998
Trophies 1 World Cup; 2 domestic titles


49. Emerich Jenei

Points 830
Nationality Romanian

A manager that broke ground in a very understated way.

With 17 minutes of the 1986 European Cup final left and the score at 0-0, Barcelona were finally beginning to force the matter. By contrast, Steaua Bucharest were starting to look fragile for the first time.

It was at exactly that moment, however, that Jenei – one of football’s great thinkers – had an epiphany. Although his nominal assistant manager Anghel Iordanescu had not played a minute all season, Jenei realised that the midfielder’s poised passing style would have a calming effect on Steaua. It did. And the team and keeper Helmuth Duckadam famously kept their cool in the shoot-out as Barcelona collapsed.

As such, a substitution that has since gone down as a masterstroke delivered eastern Europe’s first ever European Cup.

In truth, of course, very different kinds of strokes delivered Jenei’s five domestic titles. The corruption of the Ceausescu regime will always stain Steaua’s league records.

Jenei himself, however, would again prove his own managerial ability on the international stage. Having broken one duck for eastern Europe as a whole in 1986, he broke another for his country in 1990. At the World Cup in Italy, he guided Romania beyond the opening round of a tournament for the first time in their history. And he would follow it in Euro 2000 by taking them to the quarter-finals. It remains the country’s best ever international performance.

Career Steaua Bucharest 1975-78; FC Bihor Oradea 1978-79; CS Targoviste 1981-82; Steaua Bucharest 1984-86; Romania 1986-90; Steaua Bucharest 1991; Hungary 1992-93; Steaua Bucharest 1993-94, 1998-2000; Romania 2000
Trophies 1 Champions League; 5 Romanian titles; 3 domestic cups


48. Roberto Scarone

Points 835
Nationality Uruguayan

If 90% of any football match is decided on the training ground, then Scarone went as far as anyone to cover the remaining 10%. So intense were his famous training matches between Penarol’s first team and reserves that thousands of fans often flocked to watch.

The end product was an intense, combative and powerful team that won the first two Copa Libertadores. Only Pele’s Santos prevented a treble in 1962.

But, having been denied that landmark, Scarone then went and secured another. In 1972, he became the first coach to take a Peruvian club – Universitario – to the competition’s final. That followed a spell in which he won nine domestic titles across three countries.

It wasn’t all success for Scarone as he couldn’t get Peru to the 1974 World Cup while some odd tactical choices let him down at a number of other teams. But the scale of the victories outweighed such set-backs.

Career Gimnasia La Plata 1948-51; Deportivo Cali 1952-53; Centro Iqueno 1953-55; Audax Italiano 1956; Centro Iqueno 1957; Alianza Lima 1958-59; Penarol 1959-62; Uruguay 1962; Monterrey 1963-64; America 1965-66; Penarol 1966-67; Monterrey 1968; Universitario 1969-74; Peru 1972-73; Universitario 1982
Trophies 2 Copa Libertadores; 9 domestic titles (4 Peru, 4 Uruguay, 1 Mexico)


47. Tomislav Ivic

Points 840
Nationality Croatian

If not the original footballing nomad, he was the ultimate one. And he picked up a lot of trinkets along the way. Across almost 30 jobs in 14 domestic leagues and four national teams, Ivic won eight domestic titles and six cups – a trophy for every country he managed in. Indeed, the Split native prided himself on the fact he could win something in any stadium he arrived.

And, to a degree, there is no more transparent example of ‘management’: the capacity to translate your ability regardless of location or level.

Certainly, Ivic was often praised for a highly strategic mind that could weigh up any given scenario. His tactical acumen was legendary. But he applied it to other areas as well. His employment options for one. Some critics have claimed Ivic was too careful about which clubs he joined, partly explaining the extent of his trophy count. It is notable that a number of jobs came at teams who were on the crest of a wave or generally dominant anyway.

As football writer Adam Bate has also written, “it seems likely that his intense training methods had a significant impact in the short term”. Porto forward Joao Pinto said “he was the only coach who ordered me to train three times a day: before breakfast, after and in the afternoon”.

A short-term coach, there is still no denying his list of trophies is lengthy.

Career RNK Split 1967-68; Sibenek 1973-74; Hajduk Split 1973-76; Ajax 1976-78; Hajduk Split 1978-80; Anderlecht 1980-83; Galatasaray 1983-84; Dinamo Zagreb 1984-85; Avellino 1985-86; Panathinaikos 1986; Hajduk Split 1986-87; FC Porto 1987-88; Paris St Germain 1988-90; Atletico Madrid 1990-91; Marseille 1991; Benfica 1992; FC Porto 1993-94; Fenerbahce 1995; UAE 1995-96; Al Wasl 1996; Iran 1998; Standard Liege 1998-2000; Marseille 2001; Al-Ittihad Jeddah 2003-04
Trophies 8 domestic titles (3 Yugoslavia, 1 Holland, France, Belgium, Greece, Portugal); 6 domestic cups


46. Luis Carniglia

Points 870
Nationality Argentine

Having impressed the Real Madrid hierarchy during their European Cup bout with Nice in the 1956-57 season, French title-winning Carniglia was promptly hired by Santiago Bernabeu to take his team to the next level. And, for a brief time, the Argentine did exactly that. Using his defensive acumen as a player to necessarily fortify Real’s backline, Carniglia brought the club one of only two doubles they won during the five-year spell of European Cups.

However, a failure to retain the domestic title – and recognise an unfit Ferenc Puskas’s remaining quality – cost him his job.

And, having found himself in the middle of a glorious era at Real Madrid, he was too often between them at other clubs. Carniglia joined Fiorentina after they reached a European Cup final and joined Milan just after they won one. Other than a Fairs Cup at Roma, he couldn’t replicate his earlier success.

Career Nice 1955-57; Real Madrid 1957-59; Fiorentina 1959; Bari 1959-60; Roma 1961; Deportivo 1961-63; Milan 1963-64; Bologna 1964-65; Juventus 1965-68; San Lorenzo 1969-70; Bordeaux 1973
Trophies 2 European Cups; 1 Fairs Cup; 2 domestic titles (1 Spain, 1 France)


45. Carlos Alberto Parreira

Points 890
Nationality Brazilian

A career with many contradictions. Despite the public clamour to appoint Parreira as Brazil struggled to qualify for the Japan-Korea 2002, he wasn’t exactly overly popular for the two World Cups he actually presided over.

Despite ending Brazil’s 24-year wait for the trophy in 1994, Parreira was given very qualified praise for the functional style of football. In 2006, then, his stars played the kind of stuff many expected. But they were also too complacent to make it past the quarters.

Four years later, Parreira equalled Bora Milutinovic’s record of managing five different countries in a World Cup. Unlike the Serb, though, Parreira couldn’t take any of them beyond the first round except Brazil.

Most of his club success came in his home country too, although Parreira did claim a Turkish title with Fenerbahce. Ultimately, however, he is the only Brazilian coach other than Mario Zagallo to win all possible international titles. From a country that has won that much, it’s a fact that demands respect.

Career Sao Cristovao 1967-68; Ghana 1968-75; Fluminense 1975-78; Kuwait 1978-83; Brazil 1983-84; Fluminense 1984-85; UAE 1985-88; Saudi Arabia 1988-90; UAE 1990-91; Bragantino 1991; Brazil 1991-94; Fenerbahce 1995-96; Sao Paulo 1996; Saudi Arabia 1998-99; Fluminense 1999-2000; Atletico Mineiro 2000; Santos 2000; Internacional 2001-02; Corinthians 2002-03; Brazil 2003-06; South Africa 2007-08; Fluminense 2009; 2009-10 South Africa
Trophies 1 World Cup; 1 Copa America; 1 Confederations Cup; 3 domestic titles (1 Turkey, Brazil, Brazilian state); 1 domestic cup


44. Bobby Robson

Points 905
Nationality English

To a degree, Robson could be described as an incomplete imitation of Alf Ramsey. Just like his predecessor in his first two full jobs, Robson took Ipswich to unseen heights and restored England to respectability. Unlike Ramsey, though, he couldn’t win the competitions that mattered: not the league title nor World Cup.

In saying that, though, Robson managed in more competitive times and places. The English league was experiencing its greatest variety of winners when Ramsey saw victory with Ipswich while the country also hosted that famous World Cup win.

Because, on reflection, it was Robson’s achievements far away from England that saw him outstrip Ramsey. As well as the Uefa and Cup Winners Cups with Ipswich and Barcelona respectively, Robson won two domestic titles in each of Holland and Portugal. Just one more major trophy would have seen him far higher on this list. Unfortunately, he couldn’t claim one.

Career Fulham 1968; Ipswich 1969-82; England 1982-90; PSV Eindhoven 1990-92; Sporting 1992-94; FC Porto 1994-96; Barcelona 1996-97; PSV Eindhoven 1998-99; Newcastle 1999-2004
Trophies 1 Uefa Cup; 1 Cup Winners Cup; 4 domestic titles (2 Holland, 2 Portugal); 3 domestic cups


43. Guillermo Stabile

Points 910
Nationality Argentine

The king of the Copa America – or the South American championship as it was known then. Stabile won an unmatched six titles in the competition. And he did so by exemplifying Argentina’s philosophy of ‘La Neustra’ – our own. But, at a time when the country rarely played internationals outside their own continent, they became too content playing an ultra-aesthetic style.

Such insularity cost them when it came to the biggest stage. Stabile’s side were beaten 6-1 by Czechoslovakia on their return to the World Cup in 1958. Although they also “took the mickey” out of Northern Ireland in a 3-1 victory – according to midfielder Jimmy McIlroy – it was actually a sign of Stabile’s increasing flaws.

“He didn’t know about tactics,” argued historian Juan Presta. “He was too much of a romantic.”

At the least, he still had his domestic record to stand on by that stage. Allowed also manage Argentine clubs during his long spell in charge of the national team, Stabile won three consecutive titles between 1948 and 1951 – one with Huracan and two with Racing.

Career Red Star Paris 1937-39; San Lorenzo 1939-40; Argentina 1939-60; Estudiantes 1940-41; Huracan 1940-49; Racing 1949-60
Trophies 6 Copa Americas, 3 Argentine titles


42. Vicente Del Bosque

Points 920
Nationality Spanish

Modest personality, massive prizes. Four alliterative words that pretty much sum up Del Bosque.

Four years after he had been sacked by Real Madrid, the former right-back said of his management style that the “idea was that the dressing room should shed its image of having too many ‘stars’ and be more down to earth, made up of people who play football for a living, get on well with each other and are unaffected by fame… we tried to create a feeling of harmony.”

Little wonder, then, that the four years before Florentino Perez unceremoniously discarded Del Bosque were the only time since 1960 that Real balanced sustained domestic success with repeated victories in their holy grail.

Because, really, that was what Del Bosque was all about: balance.

Steve McManaman said exactly that in lionising his former coach.

“He has a very good brain in assessing what kind of footballers his players are, what kind of people we are, how we all work together. He is scrupulously fair-minded… his skill is in subtly weighing up how the team could tick.”

And, certainly, he kept Spain ticking along after the euphoric Euro 2008 victory. Because even after fatigue and pressure initially threatened to derail their 2010 World Cup, many of the players praised Del Bosque for his calm reassurance.

In that, he may have appeared hands-off. And that may well have cost him in his one true failure at Besiktas. It’s also unclear whether he can actually fire a team as opposed to just facilitate talent. But it all meant he got his hands on football’s biggest prizes.

Career Real Madrid 1999-2003; Besiktas 2004-05; Spain 2008-
Trophies 1 World Cup; 2 Champions Leagues; 2 Spanish titles


41. Raymond Goethals

Points 970
Nationality Belgian

A larger-than-life character, Goethals went by many titles and won even more. The first was ‘Le Socier’ and the early part of his career was certainly marked by alchemy. He first took lowly K Sint-Truidense to second in the Belgian league before bringing the national team to their first World Cup in a generation and third-place in Euro 72.

Later known as Columbo because of his long trench coat, it was a case of “won more thing” on joining Standard in the ’80s (with apologies for an atrocious pun). From there, he embarked on a sustained run of success which culminated in the Champions League with Marseille after three years of thrilling football. Although that final season ended in disgrace for his boss Bernand Tapie, Goethals discarded any doubts about himself by winning a final Belgian title with Anderlecht in 1993-94.

Career K Sint-Truidense VV 1959-66; Belgium 1968-76; Anderlecht 1976-79; Bordeaux 1979-80; Sao Paulo 1980-81; Standard Liege 1981-84; Vitoria 1984-85; Racing Jet Brussels 1985-87; Anderlecht 1988-89; Bordeaux 1989-90; Marseille 1991-93; Anderlecht 1994
Trophies 1 Champions League; 1 Cup Winners Cup; 5 domestic titles (3 Belgian, 2 French); 3 Belgian cups



Share your opinion


What a biased piece on Ferguson ha ha ha ha ha everyone knows he DIDN'T and NEVER WILL match Paisley's trophies per season record and that's why he is such a bitter loser.  He will never beat LFC :-)


The thing most people ignore (or forget) about Fergie's European record is that the illegality of the Champions League rules in the 1990s weakened his United team. UEFA only allowed 2 foreign players per match day squad so he had to chose two out of Keane, Irwin, Cantona, Schmeichel, Kanchelskis to mention 5. This in turn did strenghten United in the future because the Nevilles, Beckham, Scholes, et al were thrown into European games because they had to.


As per my previous post assertion, Fergie is definitely not the Greatest!


A fair assessment of Fergie's Football Manager's Abilities is to gauge his success rate against his European/International Counterparts .


Fergie's success domestically comes from the fact that he is at the richest club dominating the PL to wit rapaciously raiding & weakening his domestic rivals  of its Marquee players (Rio, Rooney, Carrick, RVP et al).

Fergie is also well known for his legendary abuses & rants  of FA officials (Fined & disciplined for his recalcitrant behaviour)  to wit his 

Sending Off (MU players being sent off) or Penalties conceded or awarded in favour of MU.


Take away his domestic titles, ceteris paribus,

Fergie managerial record is not better than the likes of Dettmar Cramer,  Heynckes, Carlo Ancelotti, Hitzfeld, Brian Clough, Arrigo Sacchi, Happel, Herrera et al.


Its 2 years since this thread was posted & updated by the Author.


As the 'Devil's Advocate' one has to scrutinize or validates the assertions herein.

The last 2 seasons Fergie was Poor in European Campaigns.

Fergie's MU team was dumped out of the Minnows group & got KO by a real CL team this season.


In 26 YEARS  of LONGEVITY and at the Richest Club in PL History Fergie's European record is poor. Fergie  lacked EUROBILITY.


2 EC/CL titles when you compared to the likes of Pep (2 Titles in 4 yrs) , Paisley (3 in 9 yrs)  and more than 10 Great Managers (2 CL titles <20 years).


Fergie's record is equivalent to a striker having 2 goals in 26 Appearances. That's unacceptable based on his 26 years of longevity @ the richest club


All the domestic league titles or Honours?  

The Lion share of it is  expected from any manager @ the richest club of any League to wit

Old Firm in SPL,

Milan in Serie A,

RM/Barca in la liga or

MU in PL


Besides EUROBILITY  What's also important is tactical nous &  head to head results against his PEERS.


To wit in recent 11vs11 matches, MU team were beaten or humiliated by the likes of RM's City or RB Chelsea.


Don't Mistake Longevity for Talent or Greatness!






jelous twats 47 trophies and has beat cancer 5 times the closest i know to that is 26 fuck u all


Enjoyed the list, although I do think Rinus Michels is still the best of all time and deserves a much higher spot.


How can Carlos Bilardo a world cup winner in 1986 and a world cup runner up in 1990 be in 50th place while Alex Ferguson who never won a world cup match is 1st 


Ferguson does not know how to beat messi so he is shit


where is Tele Santana, Frens Bekkenbaur?!


* he make revolution (sorry, my english so bad)


I think R.michels is 1 st without no doubt, he's revolution in football,  he/s genius, 


2 nd Heleno Herrera, he's 1 st coach began playing countar attack in football


3rd Pep Guardiola


Vanderlei Luxemburgo? He won 5 Brazilian Serie A's, 13 Brazilian state championships, a Copa America, a Brazilian Serie B and a Brazilian Cup?


What about George Ramsay? 6 league and 6 FA cups alone should put him in the 20's. I imagine it would be hard to come up with figures for points 2 and 3 from your "how it works" page but surely he deserves a mention at least. Herbert Chapman gets in with 4 league and 2 FA and he was operating at the same time.

James Hutchfull
James Hutchfull

Understood, hence my comment! What lists are coming up?

Football Pantheon
Football Pantheon

It's only an opening for discussion/debate lads, not definitive!




Mate are u joking about mourinho!?!? Porto FC had 10 Portugal international players in that 2004 CL final lineup! If he was truly great he would of won Portugal La liga with Uniao de Leira. At chelsea, he squandered no less than 500million pounds in those 3.5 years and the only result he could manage was 2 EPL titles. Ferguson/Wenger did way better than him with half as much money spent on transfers, not only that they built several different sides throughout the decade. Mourinho could never produce his own players maintain longetivity. At Inter, his only main competitor was AS ROMA coz Juventus got relegated n AC Milan/Fiorentina/Lazio started off minus points in serie A table... wonder why he left Inter so soon? maybe coz he wasnt so great building sides other than given large transfer money to buy his way to a title or two. Inter Milan could never offer the kinda money RM offer him and yes he still sux coz he has the most expensive team in the world at RM but still cant manage to win Barcelona! His career stats against Barcelona stands 4W/6D/10L for a winning percantage of 20%, u wanna call that special?? Not so special if u sum it up all the money he has spent in those 4 clubs hes been at! Winning 2 CL is a achievement but at what kinda cost!? Hitzfield did it wit Dortmund and Bayern at the pinnacle of the world game in the mid-late 90s when Italian league was the benchmark of world football. But Mourinho had such a great side (10 of his porto players played for Portugal at Euro 04) people who has a brain can tell u that Mourinho isnt so great or innovative at what he does. He uses the same players same tactics over n over again and yes he can win all the crap teams but when it comes to the real deal, he stands in their shadow n the only excuses for those losses is OH REF CHEATED!


Definitely the best of your lists so far. One big debate is how a man as successful as Fergie can still be so denigrated. His comparative lack of tactical acumen may have been a barrier towards Man Utd creating a true European dynasty (well that and Messi's influence at Barcelona), but I cannot think of many other figures who would last a quarter of a century in such a top job. (Particularly interesting to compare his career with his good friend and fellow 'New Firm' boss, Jim McLean, who slowly drove himself insane with his commitment to the job.) Of course he has it easier than most in acquiring good players, but he has rarely bought already-established stars and there are countless examples of lesser figures struggling to control six-figure egos, let alone for so long.

Interesting to see you rate Ottmar Hitzfeld so highly. Even as a kid, seeing his name and face come up so often, I've long felt he's been underappreciated in Britain. Cloughie of course remains football's most enduring enigma. Taylor's name should always follow his though.

Hope something can be done to fix the difficulty international managers currently have on your system. Seeing as how everybody acknowledges the vital differences between the two jobs though, maybe it would be best to split club and country gaffers, as you've already done for teams.

Controversial opinion for this list - personally think Sacchi is a better self-publicist than a coach.


I really don't understand why vittorio pozzo never enters anyone's list this days we are talking about the greatest international managers and the inventor of the metodo system

Football Pantheon
Football Pantheon

It's certainly something we'd look into in the future. Also thinking of getting people to do well-argued rebuttals of our lists.

Derek Hopper
Derek Hopper

If you're looking for other writers I'd love to contribute something. I'm thinking a 10,000 word piece on the Ajax team of the early 70s.

Derek Hopper
Derek Hopper

My favourite manager-related story is when Shevchenko flew out to Kiev after he won the Champer's League and put his medal on the statue of Lobanovsky. Beautiful.

Football Pantheon
Football Pantheon

Walter's in the managers that just missed out. Couldn't complement domestic success with continental and didn't exactly do great job at Everton.

Football Pantheon
Football Pantheon

It's only an opening for discussion/debate lads, not definitive!

pet food brands
pet food brands

Mr. Bob Paisley and Sir Alex Ferguson are doing great in their respective teams and they are good manager indeed!


As a humble but proud Dundee United fan I started scouring this list looking for two words: Jim McLean.

...until I realised Arsene Wenger was at 29!


Bob Paisley and Sir Alex Ferguson are both good manager, the only difference in them is that they are in different teams, so far as i read in wiki's information that Paisley had a total 14 competitions of won and Ferguson had total 34 competitions won, nothing really bad actually both did a great job.


Re- Roger Sanford

Although true the old European Cup was a straight knockout tournament, apart from the group stages , the last 16 stages to the final in the current format is also a knockout tournament, so Ferguson teams would not of been knocked out in the early rounds in his successful Champions League seasons because his teams would of faced the same knockout football as Paisley's teams did. Also in the Group Stages each team have to play each other home and Away with only the best teams in that group qualifying for the knockout stages so again Ferguson's teams would not of being knocked out. Also it could be argued in the current format you have to play Knock out cup football as well as a league format, making it harder to win than a straight knock out competition.


its worth pointing out that the Champions Leauge is just that....a league...whereby you can afford to lose and still win the tournament. When Bob Paisley won the competition it was a straight knock out affair. If you lost over two legs..that was it. Ask yourself many times would Sir Alex have guided his team to the latter stages or the final if it was still a knock out cup? I'm willing to bet that even in the years when they have done well in the Champs League that they would have been knocked out in the old format.

Further endorsing the fact that winning the European Cup 3 times in such a short period of time is one hell of an achievement


It's absurd. The difference between a World Cup and a European Cup are only 30 points? Why the Champions League score much better than the Copa Libertadores, if matches between both champions are historically equal? No points for second places? It's for far the more Eurocentric rank I've ever seen.


Just a question here, wwhere does the Sottish League rank during the era of Jock Stein ?


Re-Crvena Zvezda

As Bob Paisley said himself winning the league title is the ultimate achievement, and Fergie has won 15 League titles to Paisley 6. Whilst also winning more titles in a 9 year period (92-2001) than Paisley did in his reign as Liverpool manager, by seven League titles to six.

Also as you pointed out the FA Cup was taken more seriously in the past, as a reason why Paisley didn't win it, well Ferguson did win the FA Cup in this period with both Aberdeen in the 1980's and Manchester United in the early 1990's, winning 9 FA Cups from 12 Finals, as opposed to one final reached by Paisley's Liverpool. Also you state that teams didn't often win both the League and FA Cup double in the same season, but Ferguson has won both the League and FA Cup with Aberdeen in 1984, Manchester United in 1994, 1996 and 1999, whilst winning three FA Cups in a row with Aberdeen in 1982, 1983 and 1984.

True Sir Alex Ferguson hasn't always taken the League Cup as seriously as perharps he should of done, but his record in the competition is still phenomenal as in his career with United and Aberdeen he has won 5 League Cups and reached 10 finals overall. Also no manager has won more League Cups in England than Sir Alex Ferguson with 4 victories only Brian Clough can equal him with 4 Victories, whilst no manager has appeared in more English League cup finals with Ferguson reaching 7 finals.

Also the argument of how many trophies of Paisley won if he stayed in charge longer is irrelevant as at the end of the day although i agree with you he most likely would of won more trophies he didn't stay in charge and he didn't win the trophies Ferguson did.

Paisley deserves credit for being the only manager to win three European Cups but their were less games to play to win the European Cup back then, as you only had to play 9 games to win the competition as opposed to 13 nowadays and 7 games in there 1978 success after recieving a bye. Also the standard of team were not as good as highlighted in my previous post, true they may of been good teams at that time but not up to the standard of teams today.

Also you highlight the role of SKY or Champions League benefactors or owners, in Ferguson and United's success, Manchester United have benefited from money from SKY and the Champions League, but then again so have all the other top teams, United have only benefited more so because of there success on the pitch. Also SKY and the Champions League benefactors don't buy United the players and manage them like Ferguson has, whilst Ferguson had many successes before the Glaziers took over United and in truth they have put United in hundreds of millions of pounds of debt.

Crvena Zvezda
Crvena Zvezda

Ferguson won more league titles than Paisley because he has had 25 years in which to do it. Yes Ferguson has won FA Cups where Paisley didn't, when Paisley was manager of Liverpool the FA Cup was a close second to the League Title and carried a lot of weight in the English game, very rarely did one club side win both in the same season, Liverpool usually won the title.
The League Cup was also a competition which clubs took very seriously and Paisley managed to win that in 1981, 1982 & 1983.
If Paisley had have carried on at Anfield who know how many more trophies he would have won?
I reiterate my point that Paisley won three European Cups in five seasons with teams made up almost entirely of British & Irish players, no expensive foreign imports, no Sky or Champions League cash cows, no foreign benefactors.
It is no coincidence that when the Sky money machine took hold of the English game Manchester United came to the fore.


Re- Crvena Zvezda

Bob Paisley was undoubtedly a great manager who has won one more Champions League than Sir Alex Ferguson he hasn't got a better overall record than the Scotsman.

Ferguson's record is superior in almost every department; he has won more League Titles, more domestic cups to add to the fact that Paisley never won an FA Cup whilst Ferguson has won nine in his career at Manchester United and Aberdeen. Ferguson has also appeared in more Champions League finals than Paisley did against stronger opposition. Also Ferguson has won the league on three occasion twice, something which Paisley never achieved whilst also winning seven championships in nine seasons between 92-93 and 2000-01 season beating Paisleys achievements in winning six championships in nine seasons. Also Ferguson teams have reached 28 major finals winning 18, compared to Paisley teams reaching 9 major finals winning 7.

Ferguson also has the ability to move with the times as his 37 year management career testifies to and his record of over 2,000 games and 1,100 wins shows. Football today is a very different game to the one he came to in 1974, as the pressures from the media and fans is much more than it was back then and also he has had to change his style to deal with footballers who are multi-millionaires before they reach their 20's this is something Paisley didn't have to deal with. Ferguson also has had to rebuild his team once he believes the previous one has fullfilled it's potential, with the scotsman doing this on four or five occassions in his reign at Old Trafford bringing through Youth players like Giggs, Scholes, Beckham and the Neville brothers something again Paisley didn't do.

Also Ferguson has proved he can win at all levels as proved with his success at Aberdeen, winning league titles against Rangers and Celtic and winning European trophies beating the likes of Bayern Munich and Real Madrid to do so, again this is something Paisley never did, and only the likes of Brian Clough can surpass Ferguson here.

Also people say Ferguson has bought his successes, true he has spent a lot of money but so has every other team, and also the money he has spent has being generated by success on it and good financial work of it (Until the Glaziers took over) unlike certain teams who have being millions of pounds in debt and bankrolled by a sugar daddy owner.

Paisley also inherited a great team from Bill Shankly that had won a league, FA Cup and a UEFA Cup in the two seasons before Paisley took charge in a position similar to Guardioula in todays game, although Paisley was the assistant he deserves some of the credit the buck stops with the top man. Were as Ferguson inherited a team with a drink problem and a team that although capable of finishing in the top three or four and winning a cup was a million miles away from winning the league as 20 years without a title shows. Although Ferguson was fortunate he was given time to build his legacy at United something which wouldn't be allowed in today's climate.

Finally Liverpool fans claim that if Paisley had stayed at Anfield as long as Ferguson he would of won 10 European Cups, at the end of the day he didn't and there would be no guarantees he would of won as many European Cups or as many trophies as Ferguson. Also is winning against the likes of Crusaders, Trabzonpsor, oulu Palloseura and receiving a Bye in the first round of their 1978 success really up there with winning the likes of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Chelsea like Man. Utd have under Ferguson.

Paisley was a great manager but in no way a better manager than Ferguson.


Another fascinating piece of work, but where the hell is Graham Taylor? Eh? EH? I don't care what methodology you used, any man who can take Watford from the 4th tier to the 1st, and finish runners up to Liverpool, get them to the FA Cup final, and beat Kaiserslautern in the UEFA cap, should be on that list. But, maybe I'm a wee bit biased.

Interesting to note that Eng are currently managed by the 17th greatest manager in history. And yet everyone thinks he's rubbish and doesn't know what he's doing. What does that say about English football?

Crvena Zvezda
Crvena Zvezda

How can you compare Shankly & Paisley combined at Liverpool with Ferguson's reign at Old Trafford ?
When Shankly joined Liverpool they were at the foot of the second division, when Ferguson joined Manchester United they had spent the previous eight seasons finishing in the top five in the first division.
If you want to slice and dice stats:-
Paisley won three European Cups in five seasons while Ferguson won two in twenty five seasons.
While Paisley's teams comprised of British & Irish players, Ferguson's United sides were full of the most expensive players money could buy, from the four corners of the earth.
No comparrison really !


Bobby Robson better than Howard Kendall? Dream on.


*pedant alert* Herbert Champan won THREE titles with both Huddersfield and Arsenal. Sorry. Great article though!


Another excellent an exhaustive piece! What do you have planned for the Football Pantheon next Miguel?


What about Manuel Jose de Jesus?

1 Portuguese Second Division title, 1 Portuguese Cup with Boavista and 4 CAF Champions League, 6 Egyptian Championships and 2 Egyptian Cups with Al-Ahly


What about Kenny Dalglish?

3 league trophies with Liverpool and one with Blackburn (120 pts each), 2 FA Cups with Liverpool (60 each), and a Scottish Cup with Celtic (40). Add to that when he took charge at Blackburn, Rovers finished 19th in Division 2 the previous season, 5th for the two seasons prior to that. Take it from 5th.. He guided Rovers from 27th to 1st in England in 4 years. 27 x 30 bonus points = 810. A total of 1,450 points (15th place).

That doesn't include any bonus points from #4, nor does it add or take any points from #3, but if you were to apply the 65% rule he'd still be on 942 (41st place).


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