The Best English Managers Never to Have Managed England

Robbie Walls
Brian Clough
Brian Clough / R. Viner/Getty Images
facebooktwitterreddit

While the England job has often been seen as the 'impossible job' - a poisoned chalice passed on since Sir Alf Ramsey's departure - it may have been a slightly easier task had the FA actually appointed the right men.

The Three Lions have undoubtedly been led by some of the country's greatest ever managers - Sir Bobby Robson, Don Revie and Terry Venables to name three - but there is an air of what might have been had other notable candidates been appointed.

As it is, they weren't - and there's now 54 years of hurt and counting under England's belts. So whou could have stepped up to the plate and delivered? Here, 90min looks at the best English managers not given the chance to shine...


Brian Clough

Brian Clough and Peter Taylor
Brian Clough and Peter Taylor / Getty Images/Getty Images

Perhaps THE greatest manager that England never head, Ol' Big Head was robbed of a chance of taking the top job, most notably in 1977 when the offer was instead handed to the more mild-mannered Ron Greenwood.

Clough's abrasive and unpredictable nature had not endeared him to the powers that be at the FA, despite his unrivalled success in domestic - and soon to be European - football.

As a manager and man, like no other, 'Mr Clough' took both Derby County and Nottingham Forest from obscurity to the top of English football, with his success at Forest also seeing the club secure consecutive European Cup victories in 1979 and 1980, dominating football on the continent.

For all of Clough's accolades, there is an ill-fated spell at Leeds United that also lives long in many memories. Sacked after just seven weeks in the job, he went on to conjure up one of the greatest television interviews/debates of all time - dubbed Clough vs Revie - with the one-time Brighton manager at his sparkling, charismatic best.

Give it a watch.


Harry Redknapp

A combination of file pictures created o
A combination of file pictures created o / IAN KINGTON/Getty Images

'Arry is another who was the people's candidate for the job, only to be ousted by the other man pictured above.

After Fabio Capello's resignation on the eve of the 2012 European Championships, there was much clamour for the Spurs manager to get the nod. Instead, however, the wisdom of the top brass handed to the position to Roy Hodgson, fresh off the back of his failed spell at Liverpool.

While Hodgson had enjoyed success abroad and led Fulham to an unbelievable run to the Europa League Final in 2010, he was not exactly a dream managerial appointment, going on to lead his nation through three woeful tournament experiences.

With Hodgson taking the hot seat, Redknapp would suffer the ill fortune of also losing his club job, as Spurs failed to qualify for the Champions League, despite finishing in the top four that season - with Chelsea taking the final spot after winning the competition. Heartbreaking.


Ron Atkinson

Chelsea v Manchester United - The Emirates FA Cup Final
Chelsea v Manchester United - The Emirates FA Cup Final / Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images

Although he may have tarnished his reputation during his punditry career, there is no denying that Big Ron was worthy of the England job at his peak - missing the opportunity after being sounded out following Graham Taylor's resignation in 1993.

After leaving West Brom in 1981, Atkinson spent five years at Manchester United, securing two FA Cup successes, ushering in the young talent of Norman Whiteside and Mark Hughes, as well as the purchase of Bryan Robson from his former club.

After being replaced at Old Trafford by Alex Ferguson, Atkinson spent a brief spell abroad and at Sheffield Wednesday, before developing a talented Aston Villa side which ran United close in the early seasons of the Premier League.

A controversial figure, but another missed opportunity for England.


Bob Paisley

Bob Paisley
Bob Paisley / Getty Images/Getty Images

While Clough is often seen as the man most sadly ignored by England, few can argue that Bob Paisley is another glaring omission from the top job.

As the reluctant architect of that famed Liverpool side of the late 70s and 80s, the humble Paisley led his side to six First Division titles and three European Cup's, building on the foundations set by the great Bill Shankly.

Such was the magnitude of his success, the Englishman won a staggering 2.2 trophies per season on Merseyside, a feat only bettered by Pep Guardiola.

Not only a proper footballing legend, the great man also served for his country during World War II, before returning to England to pick up his footballing career.


Howard Kendall

Howard Kendall
Howard Kendall / Fox Photos/Getty Images

On the other side of Liverpool, another managerial icon emerged in the 80s.

While often somewhat forgotten alongside the likes of Clough and Paisley, there is no denying the brilliance of Kendall and his Everton side that ended their city neighbours domination.

A fine player in his day - part of Everton's Holy Trinity of Kendall, Alan Ball and Colin Harvey - Kendall was an even better manager, and led the Toffees to two First Division titles as well as an FA Cup success - with the club deprived of a chance at European Cup glory due to the 1985 Heysel disaster, which saw English side's banned from the competition.

While he was unlikely to oust the legend that was Sir Bobby Robson from his position at England, he was wrongly overlooked in 1990 in favour of Taylor.


Bill Nicholson

The Tottenham icon is another who does not perhaps get the recognition he deserves, but all Spurs fans are aware of his greatness.

After assistng Walter Winterbottom at the 1958 World Cup, Nicholson took the job at White Hart Lane and remained the main man for 16 years, delivering a plethora of trophies - including the UEFA Cup and the 1961 First Division, the greatest era in the club's history.

After becoming disillusioned with football, Nicholson retired from management in 1974, the same year in which the great Ramsey left his post at England. Perhaps Nicholson could have been a worthy successor?


Joe Royle

The Funeral Of Former England Football Manager Graham Taylor
The Funeral Of Former England Football Manager Graham Taylor / Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images

The final name on this list may not quite have the pedigree of some of the names mentioned above, but he is another who would have been a worthy appointment.

An FA Cup winning manager with Everton in 1995, as well as being the man who took Manchester City from the third tier back into the Premier League, his footballing CV speaks for itself.

His famous FA Cup and League Cup runs with second tier Oldham saw him placed as a strong candidate alongside Kendall and Graham Taylor for the England job after Robson's departure, yet was beaten to the post by the more experienced Taylor.

While he failed to get the job, it is testament to his ability as a coach that Royle was favoured for the role above the likes of Terry Venables, who had had much more top flight and European experience.


facebooktwitterreddit