Why Are English Managers Not Succeeding In European Club Competitions?


    It has been easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle in the past century, than for English managers to succeed in European club competitions, and many have been wondering why that has been the case.

    Despite the successes of English clubs in European competitions, English managers have still not recorded much triumph in management, although they have had purple patches.

    Their counterparts across the continent of Europe often smile from time to time, as their tactical brilliance shows through trophies won across different seasons.

    The tactical nuance of English managers often differ from their fellow competitors across the world, with the prevalence of a stark difference in style, formation, team spirit, and mental strength amongst other noticeable divergences.

    Bobby Robson is the last Englishman to win a major continental title – guiding Ronaldo De Lima and his then-Barcelona teammates to the Cup Winners Cup in 1997, a competition that was abolished in 1999.

    English Managers In European Club Competitions

    If you are searching for previous English managers who have won either the European Cup (now the modern-day UEFA Champions League) or the UEFA Cup (now UEFA Europa League), look no further, as only 8 individuals have done that.

    Bob Paisley led Liverpool to 3 European Cup titles, while Brian Clough led Nottingham Forest to 2 European Cup titles.

    Additionally, Tony Barton and Joe Fagan also led Aston Villa and Liverpool to one European Cup title each.

    In terms of the UEFA Cup, Bill Nicholson and Keith Burkinshaw led Tottenham Hotspur to 1 title each.

    Also, Bobby Robson and Bob Paisley led Ipswich Town and Liverpool to 1 UEFA Cup title respectively.

    As aforementioned, only 8 English managers have won either the UEFA Cup or the European Cup, a figure that is dwarfed by Italy and Spain.

    Twenty-two Italian tacticians have won either the UEFA Cup or European Cup, while Spanish managers have won 25 of either trophies.

    This tells you the massive gulf in terms of quality, brilliance, and artistry between managers of these origins.

    It will also interest you to know that no English manager has won the English Premier League title since its inception in 1992.

    It must be noted that the key league mentioned is the “Premier League” and not the “English Football League” or the top-flight division that existed before the 1992/93 season.

    Has Any English Manager Won A European Trophy In The 21st Century?

    Since the turn of the 2000s, no English manager has won a European competition, and it is embarrassing for a country as big as England footballing-wise and even in other spheres.

    Great Britain’s flag is heavily hoisted by Scottish managers, with Sir Alex Ferguson winning 2 UEFA Champions League titles – both with English side Manchester United.

    Jock Stein won 1 European Cup with Celtic, while Sir Matt Busby led Manchester United to its first European Cup triumph.

    Late Scotsman Bill Shankly also led Liverpool to one UEFA Cup title, and most recently David Moyes led West Ham United to UEFA Europa Conference League success.

    Certain factors can be attributed as the likely reasons why English managers don’t succeed in Europe, including; tactical naivety, and the lack of interest in coaching by many notable English names today.

    Gary Neville, Wayne Rooney, and Frank Lampard are great names in English football, and they did great things during their playing days.

    However, they have failed to accentuate such brilliance in management, regularly capitulating abysmally.

    If England wants to sort out its coaching conundrum, then they have to start from the grassroots, and also learn from top countries like Italy and Spain, whose managers are blossoming.


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