Foreign Invasion Series #2 – Managers

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It’s been a long time since I did the first post in this series (it was the end of November), in which I looked at the foreign players in the Premier League. But I’ve finally had time to look at the managers in this country’s top division.

In the first Premier League season of 1992-93, none of the 22 clubs had a manager from outside the British Isles. At the start of this campaign, there were eight foreign bosses.

Things have clearly changed, just as the number of foreign players have rapidly increased in the last 20 odd years. Back then, most clubs had British owners, and they stuck to what they knew by appointing British bosses. But as foreign owners have arrived (more about that in the next piece in this series), they are wanting to bring in managers to add flair to our game.

As a Reading fan, I’ve never experienced having a manager from outside the UK, but if you look at all the big clubs in the Premier League, there’s no British boss in sight in the current top six of the table (as of 30th January 2015).

Ossie  Ardiles was the first foreign boss in the Premier League with Spurs
Ossie Ardiles was the first foreign boss in the Premier League with Spurs

Jose Mourinho was in the vanguard of foreign football coaches coming to the Premier League. Perhaps the only successful non-British manager before him was Arsene Wenger.

The pair’s achievements have sparked the current fashion for defaulting to a foreign coach rather than opting for an English one.

When Mourinho started at Chelsea in 2004, there were five other foreign managers in the Premier League. But one of those was David O’Leary, from the Republic of  Ireland, who had spent all his  football life in England. Another was Alain Perrin at Portsmouth, who was soon to be replaced by Harry Redknapp. The other three were Wenger at Arsenal, Rafael Benitez at Liverpool and Martin Jol, who was in charge at Tottenham.

If you take out Sir Alex Ferguson’s 13 Premier League titles, just one out of the other nine seasons since 1992 have ended in a British manager being victorious – Kenny Dalglish at Blackburn in 1995. No English manager has ever won the Premier League.

The first foreign boss to come to England was Ossie Ardiles, who spent just over a year at Spurs from June 1993 to November 1994. There was a one and half year wait until the Ruud Gullit was brought in at Chelsea.

Since Glenn Hoddle was sacked in 1996, Chelsea have not had a permanent English manager
Since Glenn Hoddle was sacked in 1996, Chelsea have not had a permanent English manager

That appointed in fact started the trend at Stamford Bridge. Gullit’s predecessor, Glenn Hoddle was the Blues’ last British permanent manager. Since then, they’ve had 10 different non-British bosses, with Jose Mourinho having two stints.

So I’ll end with a quote from The Special One, who, despite being Portuguese, the Premier League has too many managers from abroad.

He said:”I’m speaking against myself but I disagree with there being so many foreign coaches in this country and in the Premier League at the moment.

“Influence from abroad is good and you can learn the differences from other cultures but I think the main culture has to always be the British culture.”

Are British managers being held back by foreigners? Have your say in the comments section below…

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