The 50 greatest managers of all time

Mario Zagallo

Mario Zagallo is one of only two Brazilian coaches to have won a World Cup, a Copa America and a Confederations Cup

40. Aime Jacquet

Points 990
Nationality French

A year before the 1998 World Cup, as France finished last in the four-team Tournoi, the Parc des Princes crowd chanted ‘Resign!’

Jacquet, however, responded in the only way he knew: with resolve.

“Even in the most difficult moments when he was attacked by the media,” Dider Deschamps explained, “he never budged an inch, avoiding controversy in order to better protect his squad.”

A former defensive midfielder with St Etienne, Jacquet’s successes were all underpinned by organisation and order. By the end of France 98, his team had won the World Cup with the best defensive record in the competition’s history. Before that, it had helped him bring about Bordeaux’s best ever spell with three titles in a decade.

Not that Jacquet was as coldly clinical as portrayed. “I don’t think you can overcome your opponents by tactics alone,” he once said. “You also need passion and match-winning individuals.”

According to Bernard Lacombe, he was also the first coach in France to play two forwards down the middle – displaying an under-reported sense of adventure. And he certainly went on the attack that night in Paris in ’98.

Career Lyon 1976-80; Bordeaux 1980-89; Montpellier 1989-90; Nancy 1990-91; France 1993-98
Trophies 1 World Cup; 3 French titles; 2 French cups


39. Rafa Benitez

Points 995
Nationality Spanish

His net spend, it seems, will forever be debated. As will his exact use of zonal marking and the word ‘facts’.

But his effectiveness should never be. Before Benitez’s spell at Liverpool, he had already created a lasting legacy in Spain.

After initial teething problems at Valladolid and Osasuna, he then secured promotions for both Extremadura and Tenerife. At Valencia then, he broke the Clasico domination of La Liga better than any manager since the early ’80s with two titles in three years. And while it’s true that the core of that team had reached two successive Champions League finals before he took over, their league record had been poor. Benitez improved Valencia’s average position from sixth to first.

At Anfield, it was the opposite. He never did win that craved-for league title but at least ended a 21-year wait for the European Cup. Although that 2005 side may have been among the worst to lift the Champions League, that only adds to Benitez’s achievement.

It shouldn’t be forgotten, either, that that season also consolidated the idea of a ‘big four’. By 2008-09, Benitez had got Liverpool closer to the title than any other coach in 20 years. That blistering title race, however, also exposed the flaws that would ultimately undermine Benitez: a tendency to get too involved in personality clashes (both in and out of Anfield) as well as too dogmatically adhere to his own ideologies. His next choice of job proved this, as he mistakenly tried to follow his old rival Jose Mourinho at Inter.

Underneath it all, however, remains an astute football mind. Benitez may be far from a perfect manager. But he is a productive one.

Career Real Valladolid 1996-97; Osasuna 1996-97; Extremadura 1997-99; Tenerife 2000-01; Valencia 2001-04; Liverpool 2004-10; Inter 2010
Trophies 1 Champions League; 1 Uefa Cup; 2 Spanish titles; 1 FA Cup; 1 Spanish second division


38. Arrigo Sacchi

Points 1000
Nationality Italian

Marco van Basten wasn’t convinced. So Sacchi set about definitively changing his mind.

With Milan’s Dutch players initially put out by the new manager’s rigorous game plans in 1987, Sacchi illustrated their importance in the clearest manner possible. He challenged 10 unorganised Milan attackers to attempt to score against his uncompromisingly organised defence in a 15-minute period. They couldn’t.

Of course, “convincing” was also what Sacchi was all about. When Van Basten later asked him why they had to win in such a manner, the manager produced a France Football list of the most memorable teams in history. “I wanted to give 90 minutes of joy to people.”

And there can be little doubt that Arrigo Sacchi was one of the most innovative and influential managers of all time. His exact style of pressing game initiated a tactical quantum leap in football. To a degree, its effect also made Serie A the dominant league of the 90s.

“The morning after we beat Steaua Bucharest 4-0 [in the 1989 European Cup final] I woke up with a feeling I had never experienced before… I realised it was the apotheosis of my life’s work.”

The only problem was that such a peak was impossible to reach again. And even the momentum was difficult to maintain.
It’s often forgotten that, like Nottingham Forest the club, Sacchi has more European Cups than league titles. By 1991, after a fourth season without the Scudetto, the players were already complaining about the exhausting, repetitive training sessions.
When he took over the national team, such was the defensive understanding that Sacchi’s approach required that Franco Baresi realised he and the backline would have to forsake a day off to keep their level of integration. And, still, his Italy were unconvincing. Roberto Baggio dragged them to a World Cup final before they went out in the first round of Euro 96.

His meticulous approach was clearly ill-suited to the intermittent nature of international football. But, by the mid-90s, it was also ill-suited to club football. After a moderate spell at Atletico Madrid, Sacchi only spent 23 days at Parma, realising he couldn’t recreate the glory of the ’80s when he lifted them to Serie B.

Sacchi was brilliant. But his exact methods ensured that was all too briefly.

Career Parma 1985-87; Milan 1987-91; Italy 1991-96; Milan 1996-97; Atletico Madrid 1998-99; Parma 2001
Trophies 2 European Cups; 1 Serie A; 1 Serie C


37. Osvaldo Zubeldia

Points 1005
Nationality Argentine

“Osvaldo would look at the law, and he would stand right there on the border of it.”

Those were the words of Antonio Rattin, the man that prompted Alf Ramsey’s infamous call of “animals” after Argentina’s defeat to England in the 1966 quarter-finals.

But it’s fair to say that Zubeldia’s teams lived up to the term much better. The most evocative images from their run of three successive Copa Libertadores between 1968 and 1970 aren’t goals or moments of glory but Nobby Stiles getting headbutted and Nestor Combin having his nose broken in the Intercontinental Cup finals. Hardly surprisingly, it was during this period that the term ‘anti-football’ was coined.

And, worse, Zubeldia’s teams often went beyond the physical. In one game against Independiente, there was one opposition player who had accidentally killed a friend on a hunting trip. The Estudiantes players hounded him for most of the game, chanting “murderer”.

As Juan Ramon Veron admitted, “we tried to find out everything possible about our rivals… so we could goad them on the field”.

But it wasn’t all a history of violence. Like most of the very best managers – and particularly those who worked wonders with smaller teams – Zubeldia left as little to chance as possible.

“All the possibilities afforded by the game were foreseen and practised,” midfielder Carlos Bilardo said. “The corners, the free-kicks, throw-ins were used to our best advantage.”

Indeed, were it not for their drastically different attitudes to discipline, Zubeldia could even be described as an Argentine Brian Clough. He first took little Atlanta to unforeseen heights before ensuring that Estudiantes became the first club from outside Buenos Aires to win the national title. They followed that with the Copa Libertadores’ first three-in-a-row.

The only real failure was with the national team in 1965. But while that might have been explained by the little time he had with them, it was excused by his subsequent successes at San Lorenzo and Atletico Nacional in Colombia.

Zubeldia may have broke the rules. But he also broke the mould.

Career Atlanta 1961-63; Argentina 1965; Estudiantes 1965-70; San Lorenzo 1974; Racing 1975; Atletico Nacional 1976-81
Trophies 3 Copa Libertadores; 4 domestic titles (2 Argentina, 2 Colombia)


36. Luis Alberto Cubilla

Points 1015
Nationality Uruguayan

Not only did Cubilla win an unprecedented two Copa Libertadores with a Paraguayan club, he claimed them across two separate spells.

In reality, frequent returns to Olimpia where a characteristic of Cubilla’s managerial career. The abilities he illustrated in that first brilliant spell of international success in 1979-80 got him a series of more illustrious jobs. But, other than at Penarol – for whom he had won the Copa Libertadores as a player under Scarone – he never replicated that success. As such, he made his way back to Olimpia four times. But he won a major trophy on three of them.

Just like his suit – Cubilla infamously never wore socks despite an otherwise pristine appearance – his CV was far from complete. But it was still very convincing.

Career Olimpia 1979-80; Newell’s Old Boys 1980; Penarol 1981; Olimpia 1982; Atletico Nacional 1983; River Plate 1984; Olimpia 1988-93; Racing 1994; Olimpia 1995-2002; Talleres 2003; Comunicaciones 2005; Barcelona SC 2007; Colegio 2009; Olimpia 2010
Trophies 2 Copa Libertadores; 2 Recopa Sudamericanas; 9 domestic titles (8 Paraguay, 1 Uruguay)


35. Herbert Chapman

Points 1020
Nationality English

When Herbert Chapman took his very first job as ‘manager’ of Northampton in 1907, the very title itself seemed a misnomer.
“No attempt was made to organise victory,” Chapman would say. “The most that I remember was the occasional chat between, say, two men playing on the same wing.”

On watching his side lose to Norwich City despite dominating, then, Chapman noted that “a team can attack for too long”.
His exact response to that, ordering his team to drop back when they didn’t have the ball, was one of a number of ways in which Chapman proclaimed himself a football pioneer. He initiated a number of innovations which may seem elementary parts of football now but were utterly revolutionary at the time: a tactical framework, team talks, control over signings, man-marking and – ultimately – the W-M formation. Confirming the fact he was ahead of his time, Chapman realised the effects a change to the offside law would have in 1925 and adjusted accordingly.

As Jonathan Wilson writes in Inverting the Pyramid, Chapman “was – at least in Britain – the first modern manager”.

And, predictably, such trump cards translated to success. Having won the Southern League title with Northampton – and then been briefly suspended for refusing to hand over Leeds City’s accounts – Chapman won two titles and an FA Cup for each of Huddersfield and Arsenal.

“Trophies and modernisation tumbled on together,” Wilson wrote, “the one seeming to inspire the other.”

The irony, however, is that Chapman abhorred the results-based pursuit the sport had become in professionalism.

“It is no longer necessary for a team to play well. They must get goals, no matter how, and the points. The measure of their skill is, in fact, judged by their position in the league table.

But, typically, no-one understood that at that time as deeply as Chapman. Such was his meticulousness, that he would surely have adjusted to the demands of any era.

Career Northampton Town 1907-1912; Leeds City 1912-18; Huddersfield 1921-25; Arsenal 1925-34
Trophies 4 English titles; 2 FA Cups; 1 Southern League title


34. Don Revie

Points 1025
Nationality English

Much as Don Revie has recently been painted as the arch-villain in Brian Clough’s great odyssey, it’s often forgotten how much his major career job mirrored the latter’s on a grander scale.

On taking over Leeds United in 1961, Revie immediately saved them from relegation to the third division and very quickly took them to the first. Within months, they were challenging for the title and reaching the FA Cup final. Within a few years, they were winning both.

And Revie did all that by proving a ’60s version of Chapman. As the Guardian wrote, he was a manager well ahead of his time. “He was a confidant to his players, psychologist, social secretary, kit designer, commercial manager and all-encompassing boss. In an era when pre-match preparation consisted of a 10-minute chat before a game, Revie was a revolutionary. Not until Arsene Wenger was appointed Arsenal boss in 1996 would a manager exert such a profound influence on the English game as a whole.”

“His training ideas were ahead of their time,” Peter Lorimer said. “None of the England internationals were doing the things we were.”

More notoriously, Revie also espoused up the win-at-all-costs approach that had become so prevalent at Argentina. To beat Leeds you knew you had to literally battle. Even that could be explained away, however, as another sign of Revie’s progressive approach.

Billy Bremner, perhaps predictably, argued that “what was called cynical in this country was called professional when the Italians played it”.

That pragmatism partly explains why Revie isn’t as fondly remember as the other great club-builders of the time like Matt Busby, Bill Shankly and Jock Stein.

But it’s not the only reason. Ultimately, Leeds became more accustomed to second-place than success. They were runners-up much more often than they were champions, across all competitions. And that was borne out on the greatest stage. Unlike Manchester United, Liverpool and Celtic, Leeds never won the European Cup.

Part of that may have been explained by the fact Revie lacked one main modern trapping: he didn’t have a big enough squad to cope with so many competitions.

But that argument isn’t helped by his subsequent failure with England. Revie’s career ultimately ended amidst allegations of corruption and greed.

But he had at least given Leeds an awful lot more.

Career Leeds United 1961-74; England 1974-77; UAE 1977-80; Al-Nassr 1980-84; Al-Ahly 1984-85
Trophies 2 Fairs Cups; 2 English titles; 1 FA Cup; 1 League Cup


33. Stefan Kovacs

Points 1030
Nationality Romanian

Much as a manager’s successes are often qualified by the fact he merely took over an already winning team, one of the biggest challenges in football can be deciding whether to make any changes to another man’s champions. Few will have felt that as keenly as Kovacs.

In the summer of 1971, he walked into one of the most complete club structures the game has seen. As stated elsewhere on this site, Total Football didn’t just apply to the philosophy at Ajax.

But, at that point, its spiritual father Rinus Michels had departed. And, worse, Kovacs wasn’t picked on the strength of his Steaua career – where he had won a league title and three cups in four years. He was chosen because he was the cheapest on a shortlist of a 15. Indeed, so assured was he that he would fail, he bought a return ticket from Bucharest.

The tests came straight away. In his first training session, a ball was pelted towards his knees. But, in one movement, he controlled it and played it back. That was passed. As were many others.

Because, counter-intuitively, Ajax went to the next level. In his first season, they won every competition they entered to claim a treble. In his second, they produced a ludicrously complete European Cup final win over Juventus.

There were two views to this. Velibor Vasovic argued the first.

“Kovacs had nothing to do with it. He simply took over a very good team, the champions of Europe, and let them continue the way they had been playing.”

But Johan Cruyff countered.

“The results show that Kovacs was not wrong. Our team was ready to take part in making decisions.”

In other worse, Kovacs had the subtle intelligence to entrust a gifted group of players.

Whatever the truth – which is likely somewhere in the middle – that period represented a unique peak in Kovac’s career too. His time after Ajax mirrored his time before it: respectability as opposed to resounding achievements.

Career Universitatea Cluj 1953-62; Steaua Bucharest 1967-71; Ajax 1971-73; France 1973-75; Romania 1976-79, 1980; Panathinaikos 1981-83; Monaco 1986-87
Trophies 2 European Cups; 3 domestic titles (2 Holland, 1 Romania); 4 domestic cups


32. Pep Guardiola

Points 1045
Nationality Spanish

Should Pep Guardiola even be in such a list so soon? Or should he be even higher? The fact many will legitimately ask one of these two questions perhaps proves that it’s still a touch too early to make definitive proclamations about Guardiola’s ability as a manager.

Certainly, when looked at in a broader historical context, Guardiola hasn’t exactly done a Brian Clough. Superficially at least, he’s only taken Frank Rijkaard’s core of continent-beaters to the next level. In the three years before he took over, after all, Barca had won two titles and a Champions League compared to three titles and two Champions League during his own three years so far.

It’s when you look a bit deeper, however, that you realise the drastic difference Guardiola has actually had. It’s not just the trophy count. It’s also the almost total domination of every competition, individual game and even area of the match. Guardiola combines brilliant man-management, meticulous preparation, an astute tactical mind and utter thoroughness with plain old hard work. As Xavi explained, “Pep was right on top of everything like a hawk.”

Because, famously, this Barcelona’s approach is a product of the fact that Guardiola is an absolutely perfect fit for the club. Having been a young Catalan who came through the club’s academy, he has an innate understanding of how to fully implement and enhance its approach.

But, as brilliant as that has all been, it still leaves open the question of just how good Guardiola himself would be in a different environment.

Until he at least prolongs this cycle for an extended period – like Bob Paisley did at Liverpool – or repeats his records elsewhere, he can’t quite be afforded the unqualified praise his team receive yet.

But that’s not to say he won’t get it eventually. Another European Cup and another two years of total dominance and it would be very hard to argue otherwise.

Career Barcelona 2008-
Trophies 2 Champions Leagues; 3 Spanish titles; 1 Spanish cup


31. Mario Zagallo

Points 1035
Nationality Brazilian

Sometimes, as Johan Cruyff once argued, the most revolutionary thing to do is the simplest. After enduring Joao Saldanha’s ludicrous attempts to overcomplicate Brazil’s build-up to the 1970 World Cup – as well as threatening to drop Pele – Zagallo realised the need to stand back and take stock on assuming the senior job.

Facilitating a formation designed to “let great, intelligent players play”, that’s exactly what Brazil did. Zagallo presided over a peak point in football history.

But, like many of the very best managers, he also proved he could translate his ability across time and place. Twenty years later, he guided lowly UAE to their only ever World Cup; 28 years later he almost delivered another title for Brazil. Although that failure in France will always be remembered for Ronaldo’s breakdown, it should be remembered how brilliant Brazil were in the two-year build-up to the final. Other than Parreira, Zagallo is the only Brazilian coach to have won a World Cup, a Copa America and a Confederations Cup.

Such highs can still not hide a number of imperfections in Zagallo’s CV. And, in a CV as long as that, there were a few. More brilliant feats at Botafogo were offset by failures at the likes of Flamengo and Vasco da Gama. For all the fantasy of 1970, too, it didn’t prevent a later reputation for overly defensive football. But nor did that prevent a statue of Zagallo eventually being erected at the Maracana.

Career Botafogo 1966-70; Brazil 1967-68, 1970-74; Fluminense 1971-72; Flamengo 1972-74; Botafogo 1975; Kuwait 1976-78; Botafogo 1978-79; Al Hilal 1978-79; Vasco da Gama 1980-81; Saudi Arabia 1981-84; Flamengo 1984-85; Botafogo 1986-87; Bangu 1988-89; UAE 1989-90; Vasco da Gama 1990-91; Brazil 1994-98; Portuguesa 1999-2000; Flamengo 2000-01
Trophies 1 World Cup; 1 Copa America; 1 Confederations Cup; 1 Brazilian championship; 4 State Championships; 1 Saudi Arabian league; 1 Brazil Cup



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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