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 What makes a great manager?
Topic Originator: GG Riva  
Date:   Wed 20 Feb 06:14

There are plenty of good managers in football (and some pretty poor ones, too) but what makes a great one?

Without doubt, a great manager is successful. We're always being told that football is a results driven business, but a truly great manager must surely be measured against a wide range of criteria, like the size of budget he's operating with and how well he uses his resources - players, backroom staff etc.

In Scottish terms, two great managers have been Jock Stein and Alex Ferguson. Both achieved success at smaller clubs before going on to repeat it at larger clubs. They were also tactically astute and able to get the best out of the players at their disposal. Jolly Jim McLean deserves a mention too for taking a relatively small club to their only league title and a EC semi-final, only to go out in murky circumstances. Brendan Rodgers, Graeme Souness and Walter Smith enjoyed a lot of success, but I wouldn't class them as great, just good, since their budget dwarves/dwarfed that of their rivals.

In England, the greatest manager of all was Brian Clough, imo. He led two unfashionable clubs to the league title and some. Derby County reached the EC semi-final and like Dundee United, were knocked out in very dodgy circumstances, against Italian opposition. He went two better with Nottingham Forest, winning the EC in successive seasons with a collection of journeyman footballers sprinkled with a couple of genuine talents (Shilton and Francis.) He achieved this playing attractive football where it should be played - on the ground.



Not your average Sunday League player.
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 Re: What makes a great manager?
Topic Originator: Grant  
Date:   Wed 20 Feb 07:25

Did Clough not spend reasonable amounts for the time though?
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 Re: What makes a great manager?
Topic Originator: ParfectXI  
Date:   Wed 20 Feb 08:06

I wouldn't even say its about the size of the budget - What I would put down as a great manager is the one that can motivate the team AND the fans!!

A great manager can make the team believe they can do anything and a great manager will have the fans excited and believing for the next game.

Obviously add that in with Tactical astuteness and a great footballing brain -but the ability to motivate to me is probably the big one.
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 Re: What makes a great manager?
Topic Originator: cmonpar  
Date:   Wed 20 Feb 08:35

Was Brian Clough manager when Forrest bought Trevor Francis, the first one million pound player?
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 Re: What makes a great manager?
Topic Originator: PARrot  
Date:   Wed 20 Feb 08:36

Liesh deserves a mention for taking us from the pits to the top of the premier league, attracting huge crowds. Then taking Livi into Europe.

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 Re: What makes a great manager?
Topic Originator: GG Riva  
Date:   Wed 20 Feb 13:20

''Liesh deserves a mention for taking us from the pits to the top of the premier league, attracting huge crowds. Then taking Livi into Europe.''

Leishman was certainly a very inspirational manager and a great motivator. By his own admission though, he was no tactical genius, which was why he had firstly Gregor Abel and then Ian Munro as his assistants.

He also insisted on playing Billy Kirkwood every week, so I'm not entirely convinced he knew a good player when he saw one....... :-)



Not your average Sunday League player.
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 Re: What makes a great manager?
Topic Originator: mach1  
Date:   Wed 20 Feb 14:12

It's a very wide ranging subject.

No manager would widely be regarded as great without a measure of success though, regardless of the other more subjective qualities, at least not imo.
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 Re: What makes a great manager?
Topic Originator: sammer  
Date:   Wed 20 Feb 15:43

Leaving a legacy might be one mark of the great manager. Jock Stein’s achievements at DAFC are usually glossed over by commentators as a brief introduction to his glory years at Parkhead, but they still resonate at EEP today. Before Jock Stein, The Pars were barely on the radar of the Scottish game: ever since, we have had a concept of ourselves as a leading provincial club. This despite the best efforts of GG Riva and others who point out that we have rarely actually been that! We still draw bigger crowds than clubs of a comparable size and I think part of the reason lies in Stein putting DAFC on the map by winning silverware and competing in European competitions which were a relative novelty back then. Knocking out Everton, who won the English title that year, was a big moment in establishing an identity which persists to this day. Jim Leishman had stood on the terraces and watched Stein’s teams play so probably understood the potential that lay in the Pars’ support. Maybe Stevie Crawford, who watched Leishman’s teams, can carry on the good work.

Jim McLean at Dundee United and Don Revie at Leeds did something similar, taking unfashionable clubs to the very top level where their supporters still believe they rightfully belong. Clough’s teams- Derby and Notts Forest- seem to have accepted their decline more philosophically. Perhaps the best legacy was left by Bill Shankly who tapped into the fervour of the fan on the terracing, and that is still a feature of Liverpool support on big occasions. Everton were as successful in the 1960s as Liverpool in terms of trophies but no equivalent of Kop culture developed at Goodison Park, so Shankly did not just leave a good team for Bob Paisley to further develop but he left an enduring image of Anfield being some kind of spiritual home.
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 Re: What makes a great manager?
Topic Originator: Johan_Cruyff  
Date:   Wed 20 Feb 17:59

Mach 1 - No manager would widely be regarded as great without a measure of success though, regardless of the other more subjective qualities, at least not imo.

I personally feel the same way - BUT the amount of rave reviews that Marcelo Bielsa gets from all his peers in the game about his methods and way the game is played far outweighs any success he may have had with his teams.


I wouldn't even say its about the size of the budget - What I would put down as a great manager is the one that can motivate the team AND the fans!!
A great manager can make the team believe they can do anything and a great manager will have the fans excited and believing for the next game.

Looks like Ally McLeod is the greatest of all time then ;-)

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 Re: What makes a great manager?
Topic Originator: mach1  
Date:   Wed 20 Feb 18:45

Tbh JC I didn't know who Bielsa was until I 'googled' him. ( must be a crude joke in there about googling folk) lol.

Anyway, yes he is held in very high regard as a multi-faceted tactician.

Don't think he will rank very highly in people's future memories though, until or unless he starts winning things and leaves that tangible legacy of results, or, as sammer said above, creates a Shankly effect a la Kop at Anfield.
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 Re: What makes a great manager?
Topic Originator: Indiapar  
Date:   Thu 21 Feb 10:09

I think what make a great manager is the ability to understand different perspectives, identify both strengths and weaknesses within themselves and other to build on strengths and work on weaknesses. The success if an team is dependent upon the ability of someone to take a group of individuals with different goals and objectives, manage the interactions between them both on and off the park to create something that is more than the sum of its parts. It is the ability to recognise that it is not the greatest players that make the greatest team but a group of individuals who when put together can perform at a high level consistently.
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 Re: What makes a great manager?
Topic Originator: Never10yairds  
Date:   Thu 21 Feb 11:18

Ultimately a manager will always be judged on performances with due consideration to the squad they inherited and resources available to spend in comparison to rivals.

What makes a great manager though? Motivation is a big factor, good operator in transfer window, tactically astute, someone who knows how to set the team up differently for different opponents, how to effectively change the team if plan A isn’t working.
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 Re: What makes a great manager?
Topic Originator: AdamAntsParsStripe  
Date:   Thu 21 Feb 12:47

People I consider great managers and why.
Alex Ferguson: He never accepted no for an answer. He was unmercifully tough on players not pulling their weight but played fair and didn't hold a grudge.
He provoked a reaction from them.
He built an infrastructure at Old Trafford including a brilliant youth setup which paid dividends years and years later.
He had an encyclopedic memory of names and contacts and his achievements at Aberdeen were magnificent too.
Bill Shankly: He tapped into the football culture of Liverpool and in a different age kept his methods very simple.
Sign up and coming talents who were excellently scouted and used his power of motivation to the max.
When he spoke you just felt you had to believe every word he said (which was many)
I read in pre season the players hardly trained with a football but used that time to just get fit. The football training came during the season.
That can't work today but in the 60's and 70's it was effective.
His legacy exists today as Liverpool were mediocre before he arrived.
Jock Stein:
Big Jock was one of the most knowledgeable people in the game.
He knew his players inside out, knew what pubs they drank in and knew them better than they knew themselves.
Jimmy Johnstone was in a dingy little pub on the eve of a game thinking he was safe there.
Next day Jock dropped him having had a tip off :)
What Jock did at East End was extraordinary in such a short time taking us from the yoyo team into real contenders for the title and European football fairytales fans could only dream of.
His achievements at Celtic need no explanation really.

If you only turn up to moan then do it elsewhere
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 Re: What makes a great manager?
Topic Originator: The One Who Knocks  
Date:   Fri 22 Feb 23:48

The single biggest thing that makes a manager great is luck. Fergie was, by all accounts, one game away from the sack at Utd after three lacklustre seasons (his first season would have seen him sacked by any top English club now by the way). If they hadn't beaten Forest in that FA cup tie he'd have been sacked and would have headed back up north with his tail between his legs and would have probably seen out his career in the Scottish football managerial merry go round.
Your choices are half luck, just like everyone else's.

Turn on, Tune in, Drop out.
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