Manchester United

Top 5 Managers – You Wouldn’t Want on Your Pub Quiz team

Managing a Premier League club is no easy task, just ask Tony Adams, Paul Ince and Iain Dowie.

The modern top level manager has to have sharp tactical nouse, a nose for the transfer market and be the friendly face of a global brand. We are in an era now then where Premiership managers are former physio’s and coaching prodigy’s rather than the former footballing favourites of yesteryear.

The recent reveal of Andre Villas Boas’ jargon filled powerpoint application for the Burnley job in 2010 (The Independent) has shown that sometimes you can know too much to be a football manager. So we thought it was time to show that to be a successful Premier League manager you don’t need a PHD in sports psychology or the ability to string a sentence together, you just need a football brain.

Here’s a rundown of the Premier Leagues least intelligent managers;

Brian Clough

Hartlepool United, Derby County, Brighton & Hove Albion, Leeds United & Nottingham Forest

Favourite quote:

“If God had wanted us to play football in the clouds, he’d have put grass up there.”

One of the most charismatic and egotistical football managers and men to have ever lived. There was no one like Brian Clough before and there will never be again. All he knew was football, neglecting lessons in favour of sport at school and he left without any qualifications. He would go on to be a prolific striker for his hometown club Middlesbrough before turning to management at 30 after a career ending injury.

He took to football management like a duck to water, with his no nonsense personality and winning tactics, bringing him great success at Derby County and Nottingham Forest. Not bad for a man with no real education, although this did show at times as his behavior and quotes ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous. From his brilliant self confidence:

“I wouldn’t say I was the best manager in the business. But I was in the top one.”

To his strange view of the game:

“That Seaman is a handsome young man but he spends too much time looking in his mirror than at the ball. You can’t keep goal with hair like that.” 

It’s nothing new to say that Brian Clough did and said some amazing things but it’s the not so inspiring and frankly bonkers quotes that see ‘Cloughie’ make it onto the list.

Ian Holloway

Bristol Rovers, Queens Park Rangers, Plymouth Argyle, Leicester City & Blackpool

Favourite quote: 

“To put it in gentleman’s terms if you’ve been out for a night and you’re looking for a young lady and you pull one, some weeks they’re good looking and some weeks they’re not the best.

Our performance today would have been not the best looking bird but at least we got her in the taxi. She wasn’t the best looking lady we ended up taking home but she was very pleasant and very nice, so thanks very much, let’s have a coffee”

One of the most popular managers in the English game, not really for his footballing success but for his charming personality and mastery of the post match interview. This bonkers Bristolian never fails to entertain when there’s a mic pointed in his direction and his unique use of analogy has made him fan favourite.

His speeches aren’t exactly the work of Shakespeare but they’re just as witty and enthusiastically performed as an RSC production.

Famous quotes such as:

“I love Blackpool. We’re very similar. We both look better in the dark.” 

and…Reporter: “Ian, have you got any injury worries? Holloway: “No, I’m fully fit, thank you.” give Holloway the image of a comedian rather than a calculating and complicated manager.

However though, Holloway has shown in the past and most notably with Blackpool that technical tactics aren’t always the way forward as the ‘tangerines’ all out attack approach to the Premier League almost kept the seasiders up in 2011. He has a great football brain and unquestionable passion but it’s Holloway’s barmy approach to the media that sees him 4th on the list.

Kevin Keegan

Newcastle United (x2), Fulham, Manchester City & England

Favourite quote:

“I’d love to be a mole on the wall in the dressing room.”

Not one to keep his feelings to himself, Kevin Keegan’s personality was echoed in his all out attack footballing philosophy. One of the biggest personalities ever to grace the Premier League dugout although his inept tactical nouse and sometimes comical phrases made sure ‘King Kevin’ never made it into MENSA.

His Newcastle side famously threw away a 12 point lead in the 95/96 season as Keegan’s: “…it doesn’t matter how many we concede, as long as we score one more than you” approach backfired. It all culminated in the childish repost from Keegan before the final game of the season where he uttered the Premier Leagues most famous quote I will love it if we beat them! Love it!”

His career from then on was plagued by his ambitious tactics, even admitting he wasn’t cut out for the England job before quitting in 2000. Not only was a lack of intelligence and guile present in Keegan’s management career but also in his subsequent broadcasting ventures as he uttered many bumbling quotes.

“There’ll be no siestas in Madrid tonight.” and “The substitute is about to come on – he’s a player who was left out of the starting line up today.” are just a few of the quotes that should confirm Keegan’s place on the list. You can’t knock Keegan’s passion but it’s just a shame he didn’t have the grey matter to back it up.

 Harry Redknapp

Bournemouth, West Ham United, Portsmouth (x2), Southampton & Tottenham Hotspur and England er…Bournemouth.

Favourite quote:

“Samassi Abou don’t speak the English too good”

The cockney wide boy of football managers and fan favourite is well known for his problems with reading and writing but this has not stopped him reaching the top of the English game. His simple approach to life combined with his cheeky chappy personality has made him one of the Premier Leagues most popular coaches and some fans were devastated when he didn’t get the England job in 2012.

Redknapps success has been born out of his vast experience and footballing brain rather than academic qualifications although sometimes a stronger grasp of the English language would have helped in interviews. A mixture of choice language:

“No, I’m not a wheeler and dealer. Fcuk off. I’m not a wheeler and f**king dealer. Don’e even say that. I’m a f**king football manager.and cockney charm “John Hartson’s got more previous than Jack the Ripper.” doesn’t paint the brightest picture of old ‘Arry and that’s why he’s on our list.

Ron Atkinson

A host of teams including Manchester United, Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest

Favourite quote:

“Well, either side could win it, or it could be a draw.”

Big Ron Atkinson has been a large figure in English football for over 30 years and during his time in the dugout and the commentary box he has confirmed himself as the dumbest football manager the Premier League has ever seen. Nicknamed as ‘the Tank’ during his playing days, Atkinson took this same attitude to management as his brash and brazen approach brought success and the ‘Big Ron’ title.

Atkinson enjoyed several successes and failures with different clubs and also had a few scrapes with Chairman and other staff along the way. However it was only in 1999 that Atkinson’s stupidity came to the fore as his reputation as a good football manager was severly damaged as he tried to rescue Nottingham Forest from the drop.

His buffoonery was evident immediately, as in his first home game in charge  he sat in the wrong dug out before the match kicked off  and then an 8-1 defeat weeks later confounded his unpopularity. It was a timid end to Atkinson’s management career as he failed to keep Forest up, but he then went on to devalue his own intelligence even more by embarking on an ill fated broadcasting career.

Terms such as ‘Ronglish’ were used to describe Atkinson’s clumsy commentary and analysis while working for ITV. Some of Big Ron’s classic lines were “He sliced the ball when he had it on a plate.” and “I think Sir Alex might have been thinking about pulling Giggsy off… but that might be an incentive to stay on.”

Not only could Big Ron struggle to put together a sentence, but his stupidity hit a new high when he was caught racially abusing Chelsea skipper Marcel Desailly while commentating. He made the comments after he thought the microphone had been switched off only to find that it had been broadcast to the middle east.

It’s this kind of moronic action that sees big Ron top the list as the Premier Leagues least intelligent manager.

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