Fergie as Attlee, Wenger as Thatcher, Zola as Brown…who says football and politics don’t mix!

With the Prime Ministerial debates coming up soon, I felt like trying to raise the bar for debate here on footballfancast (I’ll probably fail, but please indulge me) by trying to compare the Premiership’s finest (or not in some cases as you’ll find out shortly) with those who have held the highest office in the land since World War Two, a neat cut off point I feel. Please note, this article is not an attempt to be overtly political and does not especially represent the political leaning of either myself, the manager’s or the club’s they represent and should be taken as anything more than just a light intellectual jaunt. Disclaimer over, let’s begin proceedings shall we.

Clement Attlee – Alex Ferguson – Both took over ailing administrations and delivered something special. Both worked better with colleagues than without and sought advice when needed, both created something special out of havoc, but both knew how to rule with an iron fist when needed. Like Ferguson, Attlee at first struggled to get to grips with Europe and although mistakes were made on their foreign excursions, they enjoyed a little success along the way e.g. Ferguson 1999, 2008, Attlee, Decolonisation of India.

Winston Churchill – Mick McCarthy – More so for their bellowing style than anything else, as comparing Churchill with, well anyone, is a thankless task in itself, but there couldn’t be a list without him. Good at marshalling their troops (boom boom), both canny public speaker’s prone to a ramble and both have unrivalled passion for their cause and won’t quit without a fight…plus big Mick would look dapper to say the least with a monocle on.

Sir Anthony Eden – Brian Laws – Both inherited something on the decline (Burnley’s disastrous form, Britain’s decreasing international prestige) and yet their actions somehow hastened it further. Eden was deeply unpopular obviously due to the Suez Crisis and so may Brian Laws be after relegation is confirmed (come on, it looks to be sticky at best). Both have a quiet demeanour to their detriment and the only reason you’ve heard of them is for all the wrong reasons.

Harold MacMillan – Roy Hodgson – Both can raise a smile with their barbed wit and both have talked like Dickensian fruit and veg sellers. Hodgson and MacMillan share a shy and shuffling manner and both are held in great esteem around the world. MacMillan once famously remarked that “most of our people have never had it so good” and whilst a debatable point on MacMillan’s Britain, few Fulham fans would disagree about our Roy, a truly likeable fellow. Also, I bet these two always had and have a Werther’s Original to hand to give to passing children (in a non-dodgy, avoiding the temptation to sing the Wenger chant kind of way).

Sir Alec Douglas-Home – Iain Dowie – They came, they saw.

Harold Wilson – Harry Redknapp – Wilson and ‘Arry are seen as the archetypal wheeler-dealers but both left financial mess behind them (Pompey administration and subsequent points deduction, the IMF Crisis of 1976 and devaluation of the pound). Chirpy, down to earth and never shy of a quotable line or a dozen, these two would be a match made in heaven for a swift few down the local.

Ted Heath – Rafael Benitez – Heath was famously bad with the media and when he smiled it was more out of nervousness or sarcasm, the same has to be said of Rafa. Both quietly usher (although the race for fourth has been rather noisy of late) their respective sides into Europe and both had to contend with wrangles from within…it claimed Heath’s neck, will it Rafa’s?

James Callaghan – Steve Bruce – Callaghan waited and waited for the top job for years whilst serving under Wilson and you get the feeling Bruce is doing the same with the Old Trafford hot seat. Callaghan despite a calm and bright start failed to take the initiative and Sunderland’s early season form under Bruce mirrors this. Callaghan held many positions in Government (the only person to have held the positions of Foreign Sec, Home Sec, Chancellery and Prime Minister – have that for a fact of the day!) and Bruce’s travelling gypsy management style suits this too after leaving Wigan the first time around for Crystal Palace despite only being in charge for two months in 2001, he has had 7 managerial jobs in 11 years of club management.

Margaret Thatcher – Arsene Wenger – Well it would have to be because of the fiscal prudency would it not? Wenger’s penchant for summer saving bodes well when in comparison to Maggie, though they are both prone to a splash every now and again. Wenger has been around Arsenal for over a decade now much the same as Thatcher was in Number 10. Like Thatcher, Wenger is prone to the odd petulant and frankly rude outburst, enemies are a plenty amongst their peers and they both show no signs of leaving us just yet for this fiercely principled twosome who built their respective sides as we know them today in their own image.

John Major – David Moyes – Neither operated with much backing (one support wise, the other financial), both were good at making deals and both seem like thoroughly nice chaps to boot.

Tony Blair – Sam Allardyce – Blair was popular once believe it or not, Allardyce was too – oh how times change. Both pay way too much close attention to the media and modern technology in an attempt to seem at the forefront of all things new and shiny, best highlighted by Blair’s use of spin, special advisers and media management, and Fat Sam for his ridiculous Madonna in-concert style mic and love of all things Pro-Zone. Like Blair, Allardyce spent very little for the first few years then when given the chance, like Labour were in their second term, Sam during his time at Newcastle, spent it rather poorly all things considered, and with the amount of money at hand, results should have been better. History will regard them in higher esteem than they are held in now.

Gordon Brown – Gianfranco Zola – No matter whether you like the guy or not, he’s still losing his job soon.

What are everyone else’s thoughts, is Alex McLeish a dead ringer for Margaret Thatcher, Is Tony Pulis really Churchill in disguise?

Written by James McManus