Over the weekend I’m sure you will have Paul Merson’s rather embarrassing rant on foreign managers, and in particular Hull’s new boss Marco Silva, while he hoisted the Union Jack over his head and started belting out ‘god save the queen.’ Well I might have exaggerated that last bit but the point is it was all a bit much. Now while I’m not going to dissect Merson’s comments too much, that been done enough already, I think it would be a good idea to examine if British managers really do get a fair chance in the upper tiers of English football.
There is a notion that British managers do not get the top jobs in English football anymore however that simply is not true. Admittedly a high percentage of foreigners do get the top jobs but perhaps that’s because British managers (Alex Ferguson excluded obviously) have a history of failing at these big clubs, certainly in recent years. Liverpool has a succession Of British managers before they turned to Klopp but they all failed. Roy Hodgson was an unmitigated disaster, Kenny Daglish clearly was not in touch with the modern game anymore and Brendan Rodgers’ side threw away Liverpool’s best chance of ever winning the Premier League. David Moyes’ tenure at Manchester United certainly did not help the cause for British managers either.
Some of the stalwarts of management in this country are the likes of Alan Pardew and Steve Bruce who have a patchy record with mid-table clubs, so it is unsurprising that they do not get a chance at some really big clubs. Sam Allardyce and Tony Pulis have had very solid careers but have they ever really done anything spectacular to earn themselves a move to a Manchester United or a Chelsea?
There are some promising English managers that could buck this trend of mediocrity. Eddie Howe has done a wonderful job at Bournemouth and his attractive style of play might give him an advantage over his fellow countrymen when applying for top jobs. As much as Big Sam’s long ball approach has worked the top clubs want to play good football as well as win, its part of the modern game.
There are some examples of English managers being treated harshly, I will concede. Garry Monk probably should’ve been given a bit more time at Swansea, but he’s now doing at excellent job at Leeds. Gary Rowett was very harshly sacked by Birmingham City but this move to bring in big name like Gianfranco Zola has backfired as Birmingham have plummeted down the table since he took over.
In regards to the Hull City job perhaps Mike Phelan was harshly sacked, he did not have much to work with in terms of his squad, but Merson’s dismissiveness of Marco Silva, who has been successful wherever he has been, is very ignorant. Silva certainly represents a risk for Hull City but Swansea City have arguably taken an even bigger risk in bringing in Englishmen Paul Clement whose only spell as a manager was a lacklustre nine months at Championship Derby County.
Overall it is clear that for the most part British managers have, for the most part, been given a chance at top Premier League clubs but have consistently failed. Coaching in this country as a whole is in a mess, and that is reflected in the underperforming national team. At grass roots level, the fact that it costs so much more to get your Coaching badges in this country than the rest of Europe surely has affected the quantity and quality of British coaches.