A far cry from the fashionistas of Paris and Milan, the British man tends to be at the deplorable bottom rung of the trend setting ladder. However, as the managerial merry-go-round increases to full velocity in the Premier League, the foreign inquisition has been mostly overlooked and the home grown manager is now seemingly a much more desired entity. A notable example of this stems from Liverpool and their appointment of Brendan Rodgers. Considering the Northern Irishman has had just one successful year managing at the highest level of English football, the decision by owners Fenway Sports Group to bring him to Merseyside was certainly audacious. However, with Rodgers just one of many British managers carefully selected to lead Premier League teams, has the foreign policy worn down and are the British finally the most fashionable and desired managers?
Just 4 years ago, the future of the British manager looked bleak. With Paul Ince, Tony Adams and Ricky Sbragia all failing to deliver at their respective clubs, the brigade of unemployed coaches was ever increasing. Alan Shearer, Tony Mowbray and Gareth Southgate were also facing criticism for poor performances from their players, England seemed a breeding ground for substandard managers. Now, in 2012, the story seems to have had a patriotic twist, as British managers are now considered hot property.
The most obvious argument for the employability of British manager is the language barrier. When Harry Redknapp joined Portsmouth after the dismissal of the disastrous Frenchman Alain Perrin, the former Spurs manager stated that some of the players could not speak a word of English or French so were unable to understand the commands of him or his predecessor. What made it even more ludicrous was that Perrin could barely speak English, so even the home grown players were not able to follow instruction accurately. Jacques Santini was another notable disaster that many Spurs fans will undoubtedly remember. Santini could barely string a sentence of English together; his short spell at White Hart Lane littered with comedic translation.
The trouble of communication between foreign managers and British players is also indicated through many of the current England squad, who admitted that it was difficult at times to follow the direction of former national coach Fabio Capello. The entire starting XI at the current European Championships proudly singing the national anthem is a stirring sight and an act of patriotism undoubtedly the influence of home grown manager Roy Hodgson; an act that was never commanded under Capello.
With English managers, comes an understanding and an appreciation for the way in which the Premier League is played. The varying styles of Europe’s top football leagues is obvious, with the Premier League demanding much more physical intensity. Many British managers have played in English football so are aware of the ferocity that is so prevalent in the domestic league. Often foreign managers tactics are caught up and fragmented in the hustle and bustle of an English game. Of course, more continental ideas can be implemented into a teams tactics; you only have to look at Rodgers and his Barcelona style passing, possession game to see continental influences. However, with Rodgers having experience in a demanding league such as the npower Championship, the new Liverpool boss is also fully aware of the physical demands that are part of British football.
British coaches starting new tenures need only look at Sir Alex Ferguson and David Moyes to understand the appreciation, adoration and longevity that can all be discovered as a manager. Paul Lambert, Chris Hughton, Steve Clarke and the aforementioned Rodgers will all be craving to emulate the British managers who have achieved so much in the Premier League, especially Sir Alex. The United boss has continued to encourage British talent to thrive and whilst his young, home grown wonder-kids of the mid-nineties may never be emulated again, you would be hard pressed to find a foreign manager that could have such a desire to ensure young, British players get their opportunities.
It is without question that home grown managers popularity has increased over recent seasons. However, that does not indicate a drastic downfall of a foreign influx of coaches. Leading by the example of the tenure of Arsene Wenger, managers from overseas are still imprinting their mark onto the Premier League. You only have to look at the battle at the summit of the table this season to find that the Italian defeated the Briton. With European domination in mind for some of the elite clubs, a foreign manager has the ability to understand the European game and entice stars from around the globe to ply their trade in England. However, the nationality of a manager does seem to have an affect on the style and reputation of a club. It now seems that the English manager is not considered an easy or safe option, but can flourish and demand the exiting, fast flowing and dominating football that is usually applied to the foreign coach.
Whilst some supporters would prefer to have a coach from the continent who could apply some real European flair to a squad, their is no doubt that the new era of British managers will try their utmost not let fans down. Rodgers, Hughton, Clarke, Lambert and Co. will understand the history and traditions of their respective clubs and would not let the team stray from its roots, whilst still bringing a fresh approach to a club that is tantamount to some of the tactics employed by the “exciting” foreign manager.
With Brian McDermott, Nigel Adkins and Sam Allardyce all leading their teams to the promised land, how long will it be before they are plucked from their current clubs, should they achieve relative success in their first season in charge, just as Rodgers and Lambert did? No longer are owners turning to expensive foreign coaches but are instead looking closer to home and approaching the less costly, easily transitioned British manager, who has now climbed up the ladder and firmly cemented himself as well and truly fashionable.
Fans of clubs managed by a Briton, what do you think? Is a home grown manager the more fashionable option? Let me know your thoughts. Tweet me @mattpegg1