The 50 greatest managers of all time

Sir Alex Ferguson with Champions League and English Premier League trophies

For all that he has won, there's much more to Alex Ferguson's managerial career than just trophies

10. Jock Stein

Points 1640
Nationality Scottish

Jock Stein once said that, everything he knew about football, he learnt in the pits. The importance of teamwork, the effect of camaraderie. Given that background, there are a lot of easy metaphors about diamonds in the rough and rising out of the darkness.

But then they are also entirely apt metaphors. Stein’s managerial career was initially marked by delivering teams to unexpected and unprecedented success.

On taking over at Dunfermline in March 1960, he immediately saved them from relegation and then steered them to the first trophy of their history – the 1961 Scottish Cup.

Such was his high-flying effect on Hibernian, then, that Stein didn’t even finish a full season before Celtic swooped.

And, in 1967, he famously lifted a group of largely local boys to the continent’s greatest stage. Even more impressively, he did so by changing the history of football tactics. The manner in which Stein’s Celtic overwhelmed Helenio Herrera’s Inter banished the Catenaccio strategy which had strangled Europe for almost a decade.

As Inter defender Tarcisio Burgnich later said, after enduring wave after wave of full-back-supported Celtic attacks, “We just knew, even after 15 minutes, that we were not going to keep them out… Even in the dressing room at half-time we looked at each other and we knew we were doomed.”

Ironically, the tables would be turned on Celtic three years later as Feyenoord claimed the 1970 European Cup with Ersnt Happel’s tactical trump cards. But the fact that Stein had yet again taken a team from the lower-regarded Scottish league to another final – and, indeed, another two semi-finals – was further testament to his ability.

Stein couldn’t quite bring that effect to international football as he was unable to break Scotland’s first-round glass ceiling in the 1982 World Cup. Nor could he qualify for the European Championship of 1980 or 1984. But, tragically, as Scotland stood on the brink of passage to Mexico 1986, Stein died as he lived. At the age of 62, Stein suffered a fatal heart attack on the Ninian Park bench as his team secured the 1-1 draw they needed against Wales.

In tragedy, there was still triumph. And, whatever of diamonds, few careers have sparkled with so many trophies.

Career Dunfermline 1960-64; Hibernian 1964-65; Scotland 1965; Celtic 1965-78; Leeds United 1978; Scotland 1978-85
Trophies 1 European Cup; 10 Scottish titles, 15 domestic cups


9. Jose Mourinho

Points 1645
Nationality Portuguese

Like many of football’s greatest personalities such as Bill Shankly, Malcolm Allison and Ernst Happel, it can often be difficult to separate Jose Mourinho’s charisma from his exact career.

And it is undoubtedly telling that the majority of his most memorable moments have come off the pitch rather than on it: the sprint down the line at Old Trafford, the ‘special one’ press conference, the celebration under the sprinklers at Camp Nou.

To many of his detractors, that is all just evidence for the argument that Mourinho has managed to manipulate an exceptionally generous media image of himself. Because, even though that last moment came after the current Barcelona’s only significant defeat in this era, the narrow semi-final win was emphatically put into perspective by the 5-0 victory over Mourinho’s Real Madrid in November 2010

And, certainly, it is highly doubtful as to whether any Mourinho team could ever achieve football as expansive or as exhilarating as the Catalans that night. Just like so many of those moments and almost every Mourinho quote, the majority of his management is calculated and mechanical.

Indeed, it’s been argued of late that Mourinho isn’t a particularly innovative or inventive manager, devoid of imagination in both his approach and tactics.

But therein lies his genius too. Despite the essential functionalism of Mourinho’s framework and formations, so good is his man-management that players often carry out their instructions to maximum and disproportionate effect. Few teams have been as driven or as focused as his Porto, Chelsea and Inter 2009-10 teams.

Adding to this, few managers have been as meticulous as Mourinho either. Because of his approach to scouting, strategy and every tiny moment that goes to making up a 90-minute game, as little is as left to chance as possible. And that has ensured that Mourinho has been the surest thing in management since the dawn of this millennium.

Without money he lifted Uniao de Leira and fired Porto to a Champions League. With it, he drove Chelsea to the two highest points-per-games record in the history of English football. While Mourinho was at Stamford Bridge, any opposition slip-up was fatal to a title tilt. And, although it is a mark against his record that he never won a European Cup with Roman Abromivich’s money, he made it up for it by emulating Happel and Ottmar Hitzfeld and winning the second of his career at Inter.

Even in the shadow of this brilliant Barcelona, he has kept his record of a trophy every season going at Real Madrid. As such, there might be much to debate about his style. But not his stats.

Career Benfica 2000; Uniao de Leiria 2001-02; FC Porto 2002-04; Chelsea 2004-07; Inter 2008-10; Real Madrid 2010-
Trophies 2 Champions Leagues; 1 Uefa Cup; 6 domestic titles (2 Portugal, 2 England, 2 Italy); 6 domestic cups


8. Miguel Munoz

Points 1650
Nationality Spanish

For most of the last seven decades, it’s been a great football truism that Real Madrid have never been about the manager. The position has largely just been that of a hired hand to preside over a continuing sequence of world stars. But there was one grand exception to this.

Having been in charge of Real for a total of 15 years, Miguel Munoz was is the longest-serving manager in the club’s history. And that was far from a case of just languidly overseeing great players play. Munoz had to make some tough decisions. Most notoriously, there was the call to end Alfredo Di Stefano’s career at the club in 1964.

But that still came in the middle of the club’s finest spell of domestic dominance with eight titles in 10 years. What’s more, despite the loss of such world-class stars as well as the gains the rest of Europe had made in catching up with Real, Munoz ensured they remained a continental force. The club reached a further two European Cup finals in the 1960s before a new team reclaimed the trophy in 1966.

Although Munoz endured something of a barren period after eventually leaving the Bernabeu in 1974, he came closest to ending the national team’s. Munoz delivered Spain to three successive tournaments as the Euro 84 final. For 44 long years, it was the country’s best ever performance. But it is testament to Munoz that it was far from his.

Career Real Madrid 1959; Plus Ultra 1959-60; Real Madrid 1960-74; Spain 1969; Granada 1975-76; Las Palmas 1977-79; Sevilla 1979-82; Spain 1982-88
Trophies 2 European Cups; 9 Spanish titles; 3 Spanish cups


7. Valeri Lobanovskiy

Points 1655
Nationality Ukrainian

“We have won the league but so what?”

It was an odd response to a mere message of congratulations. But then Valeri Lobanovskiy elaborated on his unique reasoning.

“Sometimes we played badly. We just got more points than other teams who played worse than us. I can’t accept your praise as there are no grounds for it.”

Having grown up and studied in the great Soviet age of science, Lobanovskiy’s definition of ‘perfection’ went far beyond the figurative meaning usually used in football. He meant it in a very pure mathematical sense.

It was no surprise, then, that he would go on to develop such a model for football. Analytically viewing opposing teams as “two sub-systems of 11 elements each, moving with a defined area and subject to a series of restrictions, Lobanovskiy attempted to tilt the equation towards his own sides.

Every position had set instructions to react to any given scenario. And the net result was remarkably akin to Ajax’s pressing game. So, occasionally, were the performances. In three separate spells at Dynamo Kyiv, Lobanovskiy won two Cup Winners Cups, 13 titles and – in 1999 in a much-changed Champions League – unexpectedly reached Europe’s last four. By then bringing across so many Dynamo players to the national team, he also brought similar success. Under Lobanovskiy, USSR gave their best performance in 16 years by reaching the final of Euro 88.

Ultimately, however, football is a game of far too many variables. And Lobanovskiy couldn’t control them all. As such, another USSR team failed to qualify for Euro 84. And, despite their brilliance, Dynamo never got to a European Cup final. But the stats of Lobanovskiy’s career still add up to some astonishing achievements.

Career Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk 1969-73; Dynamo Kyiv 1974-90; USSR 1975-76, 1982-83, 1986-90; UAE 1990-93; Kuwait 1994-96; Dynamo Kyiv 1997-2002; Ukraine 2000-01
Trophies 2 Cup Winners Cups; 13 domestic titles (8 USSR, 5 Ukraine); 9 domestic cups


6. Bob Paisley

Points 1665
Nationality English

For nine years, Paisley enjoyed a near-perfect managerial career. He remains the Champions League’s most successful coach with three trophies.

And nor was it just a case of continuing another man’s work.

Despite the foundations Bill Shankly had put in place and so much talk of the Boot Room, it is often underestimated just how much Paisley enhanced that culture. He was much more than a soft, safe pair of hands. If the history of Liverpool between 1959 and 1990 was one long period of evolution, Paisley’s appointment marked something of a Cambrian explosion.

As stated elsewhere on this site, he turned a club that were regular winners into relentless winners. And he did so by unveiling an authoritative streak underneath an initially avuncular and occasionally incoherent exterior.

While not a Churchillian motivator, he had an understated understanding of psychology which got the very best out of the vast majority of his players. Likewise, Paisley was often loath to discuss ‘tactics’. “I didn’t talk tactics because I wasn’t taught tactics. I was merely advised on certain things about my game.”

But that couldn’t cover an innate comprehension of the flow of a game. As Liverpool historian Paul Tomkins has argued “a big part of Paisley’s great tactical brilliance was knowing which players were needed and where they would fit into the team.”

This revealed itself in two areas. On a micro scale, there was his advanced acumen on how to use substitutes. David Fairclough’s super-sub reputation was as much down to Paisley’s nuanced knowledge of how a game would flow as the striker’s own qualities.

On a macro level, there were the continental performances. Paisley gave Liverpool a much more patient and poised approach which resulted in Liverpool’s first European Cup and his own record of three separate trophies. That remains his strongest argument to be considered the greatest coach of all time.

But there are two reasons why he isn’t. Firstly, despite the magnificence of that European Cup record, his season-to-season performances were actually quite mixed. In six seasons competing for the trophy, Liverpool went out in the opening round twice.

But, while that may seem like a very minor caveat, there remains the larger one that he never repeated such success in any other job. And, yes, that may well be down to the fact he never had another job. But, despite his notable improvement of Liverpool, it remains impossible to tell how well he would have done in different circumstances. The same applies to Pep Guardiola at present.

And, as such, it’s also impossible to put Paisley on the top of any such list. But then such words could also be used to describe his scarcely believable run of trophies.

Career Liverpool 1974-83
Trophies 3 European Cups; 1 Uefa Cup; 6 English titles; 3 domestic cups


5. Brian Clough

Points 1670
Nationality English

To a very significant degree, this entry should really have two names at the top – that of Clough and Peter Taylor. Certainly, it’s no coincidence that his greatest achievements came when his co-manager was complementing his qualities. Or that his worst failures – Leeds United – arrived when his erstwhile assistant was absent.

Such was the overwhelming force of Clough’s personality, however, that it has taken belated accounts like the film of The Damned United to properly write Taylor back into the narrative. But it’s not just that notable charisma that makes Clough so unique.

Although Otto Rehhagel later emulated Clough’s achievement of taking two provincial teams from the second division to a major domestic title – as he did with Derby and Nottingham Forest – no other manager has taken a promoted side to the continent’s prime trophy. And that Clough actually retained the European Cup while doing it all in such quick succession – four years between Second Division and second European Cup – makes it all the more incredible.

To a certain extent, that success was dependent on the circumstances of the time: football’s less dramatic economics, the greater variety in competition. But, also, Clough’s magnificent man-management.

On once taking a cop of Sigmund Freud’s The Psychopathology of Everyday Life off biographer Duncan Hamilton, Clough inadvertently revealed exactly how he did it.

“I don’t need a boring book by Freud to show me how to [read people]. I’ve been doing it since day one in management. I can tell, from the moment I see someone in the dressing room, whether he’s off colour, had a row with his missus, kicked the cat or just doesn’t fancy it that particular day. I know who needs to have his arse kicked. I know who needs leaving alone to get on with it… It’s a special kind of coaching done only by very, very good managers – like me. The art of management is knowing your own players, and I’m not talking about whether someone has a better right foot than left. I’m talking about really knowing them, knowing what sort of person you’ve got on your hands.

“And I don’t remember Freud winning a European Cup final.”

To many, the fact that Clough’s major successes actually ended at that last European Cup final detracts from his reputation. From 1980, he only ever won another two League Cups. But, to Hamilton, this period actually represented an achievement that was equal to his earlier alchemy. Having endured the breakdown of his relationship with Taylor, he then endured the complete breakdown of Forest’s finances. On the verge of bankruptcy, Clough had to do more than balance the books. And, despite the budget of a Third Division team, he did more. He built another side that challenged for the title.

“Clough reckoned that the creation of a new team was equal to his winning two Championships with different clubs. He didn’t think that either of the managers he most admired, Bill Shankly or Jock Stein, would have been able to match what he had done in such circumstances.”

But it’s for more reasons than that that he is above them in this list.

Career Hartlepools United 1965-67; Derby County 1967-73; Brighton and Hove Albion 1973-74; Nottingham Forest 1975-93
Trophies 2 European Cups; 2 English titles; 4 league cups


4. Giovanni Trapattoni

Points 1970
Nationality Italian

Had Giovanni Trapattoni not been so intransigent, then his trophy haul might be even more spectacular. An effective slave to the lop-sided il gioco all’Italiana formation in his early managerial career, that devotion meant Trapattoni had no answer to Ernst Happel’s simple positional switch in the 1983 European Cup final. With the elementary transfer of Hamburg’s Lars Bastrup from the left to the right, Juventus’s Angelo Cabrini was unable to roam forward and Marco Tardelli was all at sea. But, because such a move was unheard of in Italian football, Trapattoni stuck with the tried and tested. And Felix Magath ran through the gap to score the only goal.

Such conservatism has been a criticism directed at Trapattoni throughout his career. Most notably in international football as his Italy got no further than a World Cup last-16 and Ireland a play-off.

But the opposite side of that is that it is the application within such self-defined parameters that has propelled Trapattoni’s success. He is one of a select band to have won a league title in four different countries and the only manager to have won all three Uefa trophies with the same club.

By applying a similar framework to each side and then relentlessly enforcing discipline, the results have often been resounding. As the game has moved on since his heyday, such abilities are probably no longer enough to win the biggest trophies. But it remains a testament to his quality that they keep his sides so competitive.

Trapattoni may often refuse to change his mind. But there’s no changing that exceptional record.

Career Milan 1974, 1976; Juventus 1976-86; Inter 1986-91; Juventus 1991-94; Bayern Munich 1994-95; Cagliari 1995-96; Bayern Munich 1996-98; Fiorentina 1998-2000; Italy 2000-04; Benfica 2004-05; Stuttgart 2005-06; Red Bull Salzburg 2006-08; Ireland 2008-
Trophies 1 European Cup; 3 Uefa Cups; 1 Cup Winners Cup; 10 domestic titles (7 Italy, 1 Germany, 1 Portugal, 1 Austria); 3 domestic cups


3. Ottmar Hitzfeld

Points 1980
Nationality German

Lothar Matthaus isn’t exactly one for compliments. Which is why it’s saying something that they were all he had for Ottmar Hitzfeld. “He’s by the far the best manager of my football life.”

Of course, Matthaus had been comforted by Hitzfeld in the worst moment of his football life: Bayern Munich’s painfully late 2-1 defeat to Manchester United in the 1999 Champions League final. It is to Hitzfeld’s eternal credit that he managed to lift the core of that side to go and claim the trophy just two years later.

But, by that stage, Hitzfeld had made a habit of such feats. Early in his career in Switzerland he had restored Aurau to respectability and won the domestic cup before breaking Grasshoppers’ six-year title duck. Finally back in his native Germany, then, he ended an even longer drought for Borussia Dortmund. Hitzfeld guided the club to their first league title in three decades before winning another and then a first Champions League. And, in doing so, he also forged one of the longest-lasting threats to Bayern Munich’s hegemony.

Of course, within two years, he would then raise that to levels not seen since the ’70s. Hitzfeld was recently voted the best coach Bayern ever had and also the greatest in the history of the Bundesliga.

Career SC Zug 1983-84; FC Aarau 1984-88; Grasshoppers 1988-91; Borussia Dortmund 1991-97; Bayern Munich 1998-2004, 2007-08; Switzerland 2008-
Trophies 2 Champions Leagues; 9 domestic titles (7 Germany, 2 Switzerland); 8 domestic cups


2. Helenio Herrera

Points 2060
Nationality Argentine

Helenio Herrera didn’t quite land from the heavens to take charge of his teams. But he probably would have liked everyone to believe he did. Going by titles like ‘The Saviour’, ‘The Magician’ and ‘The Wizard’, Herrera had some equally outlandish techniques.

Before continental matches, he would gather his players in a circle and walk into the centre with a pristine white ball in his hands. The squad would then extend their fingers towards it and chant “It’s the European Cup! We must have it! We shall have it! Ah! Ah! Ah!”

Really though, despite the cynicism of the likes of Ladislao Kubala, Herrera’s idiosyncrasies were evidence of a manager ahead of his time. He was fastidious about diet and fitness while the rituals were actually primitive examples of sports psychology.

When all of that was applied to a promising core of players, the results were revolutionary. So revolutionary, in fact, that many accused Herrera of trickery and outright doping. Critical journalists called him “the pharmacy cup coach”. Herrera always claimed such accusations came because doubters simply didn’t have the imagination to do what he did.

But the later allegations at Inter Milan in the ’60s were a little harder to wave away. And the murmurs of match-fixing added to the generally malevolent air of Herrera’s greatest side. As well as such skulduggery, there was the ruthlessness and rigid football. Herrera might have created a supreme team, but also a very suspect one.

Yet there’s also a certain irony to the fact he has become most associated with such a notionally defensive side. Because, just before then, he had created one of the most awesome attacking forces the game has seen. And mostly thanks to his own innovations. By placing inside-forwards in the normally defensive wing-half positions at Barcelona, matches would be turned into massacres.

By the end of the 1958-59 season, Barcelona had scored 96 goals in 30 games as they romped to the Spanish league. In the next campaign’s European Cup then, they put eight past CDNA Sofia, seven past Milan and nine past Wolves as they also retained the title. The only problem was that demanded a response from a chastened Real – particularly after being routed in the league. Madrid would gain their revenge in the match that mattered most – the European Cup semi-final. Herrera lost the match and then his job.

But, as well as changing country, Herrera also changed his approach. And, in doing so, he also became to only manager to enjoy such stunning achievements despite so radically altering his style. In that, there’s arguably no better proof of his prowess. Herrera didn’t have to rely on a set formation or philosophy. Rather he adapted to every scenario with emphatic effect. Even the titles at Barca were preceded by two at Atletico Madrid. And, since then, there have been very few coaches who have followed him.

Career Puteaux 1944-45; Stade Francais 1945-48; Real Valladolid 1948-49; Atletico Madrid 1949-52; Malaga 1952; Deportivo La Coruna 1953; Sevilla 1953-56; Os Belenenses 1956-58; Barcelona 1958-60; Inter 1960-68; Roma 1968-70; Inter 1973-74; Rimini 1978-79; Barcelona 1979-81
Trophies 2 European Cups; 1 Fairs Cup; 7 domestic titles (4 Spain, 3 Italy); 3 domestic cups


1. Alex Ferguson

Points 2780
Nationality Scottish

To properly put a list of achievements as lengthy as Alex Ferguson’s into context, it’s possibly best to illustrate the other careers that his own encompasses.

First of all, he did a Brian Clough by breaking the Old Firm’s dominance of Scotland with Aberdeen and even winning a Cup Winners Cup with them. The Real Madrid side he beat in the final had reached the same stage of the European Cup just two years before.

Secondly, he emulated Matt Busby and Bill Shankly by transforming Manchester United from a faded giant to a modern super-club. For those that cavil at the resources Ferguson has enjoyed in contrast to those past masters, it’s worth reflecting that he helped create them.

Finally, he has long surpassed the likes of Bob Paisley, Giovanni Trapattoni and Miguel Munoz as a thoroughly relentless trophy winner.

Indeed, there’s an interesting parallel between Ferguson’s time at United and that of Liverpool’s two giants.

Collectively, Shankly and Paisley were at Liverpool for 24 years. In that time, they won three European Cups, nine domestic titles, two Uefa Cups, two FA Cups and three league cups.

By comparison, Ferguson has been at Old Trafford for 25 years. In that time, he’s won two Champions Leagues, 12 domestic titles, a Cup Winners Cup, five FA Cups and four league cups. If anything, it illustrates the astonishing breadth of Ferguson’s career.

Paisley, of course, has that extra European Cup that Ferguson doesn’t. And it’s that continental record that has always been the one major caveat to his CV. But, when pointed out, it’s also usually a caveat devoid of proper context.

After all, Ferguson has still won as many European trophies in total as any other manager. What’s more, the exact length of his career has thrown up an unprecedented number of challenges. Having finally overcome the hangover from the Heysel ban, Ferguson then created his greatest teams during the most competitive period of the Champions League’s history. As barely needs repeating, no club has retained the trophy since Ferguson first entered the competition. They days of racking up rallies are long gone.

And yet, still, Ferguson might have forged the European Cup’s greatest record had it not been for the rise of one its greatest teams. A brilliant Barcelona have now denied him twice. How Ferguson reacts to that challenge is going to be revealing.

Because, so far, his career has been characterised by eventually beating off all-comers: the Old Firm, Kenny Dalglish’s Blackburn, Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle, Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal, Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea, Carlo Ancelotti’s Chelsea. He’s won almost every trophy possible in almost every way possible: with adventure, with caution, by romping home, by just making it over the line, with power, with poise. No other has proved as durable, as adaptable, as dogged or – ultimately – as successful. The fact he’s still competing for the game’s top prizes three decades after winning his first is the ultimate evidence of that. And the caveat that he’s not finished yet makes it all the more formidable.

Career East Sterlingshire 1974; St Mirren 1974-78; Aberdeen 1978-86; Scotland 1985-86; Manchester United 1986-
Trophies 2 Champions Leagues; 2 Cup Winners Cups; 15 domestic titles (12 England, 3 Scotland); 14 domestic 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.


 @MUckcRAcKER That is the biggest pile of crap you've ever spoke. You mentioned Pep and Paisley, what they achieved don't get me wrong were great achievements no doubt, however, pep especially inherited what is looked at and is quite possibly the greatest team to have ever walked out onto a football pitch. Paisleys achievements were great too but that team was built by Shankley and already knew how to win. Sir Alex turned Man United from top 6 under achievers into the most decorated, hated and admired football team in british history and it was all his own work. And the stat of 2 in 26 being the equivalent to a striker scoring 2 in 26 is stupid, winning the champions league is the biggest achievement in club football and the fact Pep Guardiola done it twice in 4 years shouldn't be the benchmark as, as i said, the team he inherited is incredible more to the point built by another manager, Frank Riijkard.


 @surutusurutu He was briefly manager of Scotland but that wasn't his team. He was only there because of the death of Jock Stein, you can hardly hold that against him.


 @surutusurutu although ferguson hasnt won a world cup, but he has built so many dynasty over that 25 years period. The main factor which i think makes him stand out is the fact that when he joined Man Utd in 1987, Man Utd was nothing but a average joe in the 1st division. so it is magnificent achievement considering he built man utd reputation from "almost" scratch.


 @nismoz How stupid are you? Scolari only started two players from Mourinho's Porto team at the euro 2004 in the first match and they lost. Due to outcry from fans and the media, he placed most of Mourinho's players in the next match and they won comfortably. Please, learn your facts before you speak boy.

Coach Daniel
Coach Daniel

 @nismoz Your argument is not objective at all and is totally against the progress of the game.


@nismoz Mourinho made that Porto team from scratch with far more limited funds than he had at Chelsea. And you're being deliberately stupid to say he 'only' won two Premier League titles - he was only there for three years! And at Inter he didn't just win a weakened Serie A - he beat the side ranked 4th in FP's list of the greatest of all time and won their first European Cup in 45 years. And he'll probably win it again with Real Madrid this year.

So, he takes the big jobs. So what? Look at all the other men who fall short of his achievements with the same resources. No manager could win a major league title with a provincial club these days, not even Brian Clough. (Except perhaps in Germany.)

And finally, Mourinho has never created a dynasty, but he's not the only one on this list you can say that about. Some managers are dictators, some are wanderers. Some have been between the two. But it's not that important in evaluating their abilities.


 @cfc912 i think ur the real retarded one, the following players were well established internationals for portugal before Mourinho even joined Porto,  Vito Baia..Paulo Ferreira..Jorge Costa..Nuno Valente...Costinho..Pedro Mendes so where the fuk did u get "Mourinho created all these players into international players for portugal???" if u have no clue on the topic go n do some research before u open ur mouth again amateur!


 @Coach Daniel against the progress of the game? perhaps u shud explain urself in much more analytical details!??!


 @adamrhbrown  @nismoz look at him now,period,its easier to go to a team and stay there all your career,than to change teams and with every team splash it out and win everything!


@adamrhbrown@nismoz @adam brown, if u dont know what ur talkin about, do some research and see who were the players at Porto in season 2002-04. He inheritted most of the squad from the very beginning and Porto has always been a powerful in the early 2000s. if u have a brain there u would know EPL back in 2003-05 was by far easier to win than nowadays! Perhaps u have forgotten the only competitors back then was Man Utd and Arsenal where as now its teams like man city liverpool tottenham all have a fair crack at it. If Serie A without Juventus and AC Milan/Fiotenrina/Lazio all started off on minus points, common sence would prevail that the final standings on the seria A table would be affected?? Yes they beat Barcelona in 1st leg of the 2 leg semi final in 2010 CL, but whats his overall record against Barcelona again?? at inter, he faced barcelona 4 times for 1W/1D/2L and his overall record is by far alot worse. So buying his way to CL trophy only means that hes not innovative or bold enough to promote his own youth players and build his team around it. why did he leave Inter so soon? thats right majority of the players are nearing wrong 30s and he knows he cant build another team, thats why he ditched Inter Milan for RM.


 @cfc912 2 or 3 porto players?? so is it 2 or 3 lol u cant even get ur own facts right n sitting here making up numbers! the main argument here is mourinho had a full team of internationals at his disposal, whether its at euro 2000, or wc 2002 or euro 2004. all those players mentioned above had played in those tournaments.Porto before mourinho's arrival was already a powerhouse so grab urself a tissue box and find urself a corner doochebag!


 @nismoz Anyway, you're an idiot and have no idea about what you're saying. You're probably a new football fan and supports a bandwagon team. Your stupid little comments can't discredit Mourinho's achievements nor the countless players who praises him. 


 @nismoz  Anyone can get capped at International level you idiot, it doesn't mean they're a starter. Mourinho's success began 2 years and a half before 2004 so he did help turn them into starters.


 @nismoz  Please, moron, look at Scolari's team for the Euro 2004. He only started 2 or 3 Porto players and when they lost to Greece in the first match, the media and fans were in outrage and called for Mourinho's Porto players to play. And MOURINHO'S team, led them to the final.


 @arditspahija  @adamrhbrown I think you play too much fantasy football, if you think its easier to stay at one club n develop world class players and bring them through to first team, why doesnt mourinho do that at chelsea, inter milan or even real madrid?? or should i say it wud be so much easier if you buy every top class player from other clubs and weaken their strength so you can win all the titles?? that's effectively what mourinho did, jump around clubs and buy all the players he think will weaken his enemy! if he cud buy barcelona he wud, only idiots are kept in the dark about him getting rejected for the barcelona head coaching job in 2008!


 @adamrhbrown  @Adam first of all, get urself some medication before you post any further comments. i know ur good at reading magazines and stats but only an idiot like you wud sit here and say he's a god coz he won inter a triple. Alot of teams in the past had won triple by beating some of the best teams of their era eg) Man Utd v Juventus in 1999, despite the fact Inter beat barcelona in 1 game (from a milito offside goal) doesn't mean they are really better. otherwise all the teams that had beaten barcelona over the past 4 years wud of been rated higher than barcelona. secondly, if you think its hard to win serie a titles in that era, think again who was the coach before Mourinho at Inter Milan? i am sure ur google search would tell u its Mr Mancini who had won 2 serie a titles before mourinho's arrival. The only difference is, Mancini had less money to spend compare to Mourinho. In Mancini's 4 years at Inter, his total spending was 108.5 million euros ( first 2 years he only spent 30 million). Compare to Mourinho's 2 years spending of 135 million euros explains why Mourinho achieved better results. Anyone wanna argue, here's the proof: 






@adamrhbrown@Adam LOL @ ADAM BROWN FOR FYI 10 of Mourinhos Porto Players played for Portugal in that era. In the 2004 CL Final there was 9 portugal internationals in the starting lineup. Its like saying Barcelona has 9 players playing Spain or Vice versa. Mourinho Inheritted a Portugal national side by virtue of default and this era was by far Portugals golden era! from Euro 2000 to WC2006 they had wonderful runs in international tournaments and nearly all the Porto players in that side had already played for Portugal! The only reason why Porto didnt win another CL was coz Mourinho took all the players with him over to Chelsea and half other players all departed for other richer clubs. Same theory with Chelsea, if hes so great like he self proclaimed being the special one, how come he fuked up @ Chelsea when he had Roman's deep pockets to line up his ego!?!? Subsequent coaches in chelsea and inter all failed to match his consistency is not coz of his true ability rather its his incompetency not developing his own youth players and promote em when chances arises, he just buys all the established players for quick fixes and when they are nearing the wrong end of 30s, Mourinho jus flys the nest and goes to another club which gives him more transfer money! As i mentioned above, hes only good at buying his way to trophies for short term success when it comes to stay in one team and build a dynasty and develop his own young players and maintaining longetivity, hes no where near the same level as Guardiola/Ferguson/Wenger etc.


@nismoz@Adam Interesting that you have ignored my main point - comparing Mourinho's record with others who have done the same jobs recently. Porto's players were not as weak as is often made out, but who else could have taken them anywhere near a Champions League triumph? Not many. How many of his Chelsea successors have struggled to match him for consistency?All of them. You may argue he took over at Inter at just the right moment, but again they weren't much use in Europe before he went there. And his overall record against Barcelona doesn't matter if he takes Real to the title and a 10th European Cup. Alex Ferguson's teams have been made to look very ordinary against Barca recently. Does that make him an overrated manager? Does it make Guardiola the best manager today? Not necessarily.


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