Let’s face it, whilst Adam Pearson’s decision to sack Phil Brown raised a few eyebrows, no one was really too upset about it outside of Hull City. Brown was, let’s say, an acquired taste, sort of like a marmite-anchovy sandwich. However, in a sense, Brown’s a real loss. Whilst no one likes a manager who believes in his own hype, can you imagine how tedious it would be if there were 20 Roy Hodgsons in the Premier League, all quietly efficient, humble and personable? How bleedin’ boring! No, what we need is flair, flamboyance, finesse and above all, some lovely arrogance please. These 5 managers have or had these qualities in abundance, and so, let’s celebrate the pure superciliousness of these football managers past and present.
Let’s get the ball rolling with a real showman, Phil Brown. The thing that really annoyed people about Phil was how full of himself he seemed to be mid-way into his first season managing in the top flight.
Brown took 20 points from his opening nine matches, recording victories away at Arsenal and Tottenham in the process. However, his September manager of the month award clearly went to his head, because by December, Brown had decided that his half time team talks were so good, they really needed to be conducted in front of tens of thousands of people.
If showing off at the City of Manchester Stadium wasn’t bad enough, Brown then decided to celebrate avoiding relegation by having a good old sing-a-long to the tune of The Beach Boys classic “Sloop John B” on the last day of the season in 08/09. Whilst Brown’s achievement was no mean feat, it was hardly a miraculous escape. After guiding the club to a comfortable league position in the first half of the season, Hull won only one match in 2009, and stayed up on the last day of the season despite losing 1-0 to a Manchester United reserve team.
It was a remarkable achievement to keep Hull City in the Premier League, but Brown’s celebrations, coupled with his love of a tanning bed and dodgy goatees, left many to conclude that Brown can at times be a tad narcissistic…
“It wouldn’t be mentioned at all now would it, Sam Allardyce for the England job? But at the time I should have got it and I really don’t know why I didn’t…Maybe my external look isn’t to everybody’s liking and one or two people seem to dislike Sam Allardyce for whatever reason.”
Seriously Sam, we get it, you’re a big deal, but please stop referring to yourself as ‘Sam Allardyce”. Just say, ‘I’ or ‘’me’.
Furthermore, the reason why you never got the England job had nothing to do with your ‘external look’. Although a nice St. Tropez tan like Phil would’ve been nice, the reason you didn’t get the ‘big job’ was probably because nobody wanted to watch England spend 90 minutes smashing the ball up to Kevin Davies, who I’m sure you’d have called up straight away.
Allardyce has done well with Blackburn Rovers thus far, and performed wonders with Bolton Wanderers. However, Allardyce has won nothing of note throughout his career, and listening to “Sam Allardyce’ talk about “Sam Allardyce” suggests that Sam Allardyce has a slightly inflated opinion of himself and his achievements to date.
‘Old Big ’Ead’ is still the only English manager to win two consecutive European Cups, and before Jose Mourinho was taking the Premier League by storm, Clough’s outspoken comments entertained the press and football loving public for the better part of three decades.
At Derby County, in only his second job in management, Clough led the club to the second and then the First Division title, whilst at Nottingham Forest Clough won it all barring the FA Cup.
This obviously all went to Clough’s head, but unlike Allardyce and Brown, he had the medals to back up his arrogance. Clough was scornful of the FA after they overlooked him for the England job, and was likewise upset that after his rash resignation, the Derby County board never felt compelled to recall him. Further, Clough told a hugely successful Leeds team to throw their medals in the bin because everything they had won before he’d arrived had been won by cheating, an event now fictitiously retold in the film adaptation of David Peace’s ‘The Damned Utd’.
Despite being quite obviously self-absorbed and narcissistic, he is also one of the great English managers, and some of the quotes he has left us with will be long remembered for their arrogant brilliance.
“I wouldn’t say I was the best manager in the business. But I was in the top one.”
“Rome wasn’t built in a day. But I wasn’t on that particuar job.”
“I’m sure the England selectors thought if they took me on and gave me the job, I’d want to run the show. They were shrewd, because that’s exactly what I would have done.”
The Portuguese has to be the most charismatic figure we have seen since Brian Clough. The self-proclaimed ‘special one’ was never far from the headlines from the moment he took over at Chelsea in 2004, and football fans found the former Porto manager a hugely divisive figure.
Mourinho’s chiseled features, designer stubble and sharp overcoats were not everybody’s cup of tea, nor was his decision to sit talking on his mobile phone after securing his first title with Chelsea. However, whatever people think about ‘the special one’ no one can deny that his attempt to steal the show was pure soap opera. Here are some of his more interesting moments
“Wenger has a real problem with us and I think he is what you call in England a voyeur. He is someone who likes to watch other people”. – On Wenger’s recurring public attacks on Chelsea.
“It was a goal that came from the moon – from the Anfield stands. The best team lost. After they scored only one team played, the other one just defended for the whole game. Liverpool scored, if you can say that they scored, because maybe you should say the linesman scored.” – After losing in the 2004/05 Champions League semi-final to a single ‘goal’, scored by Luis Garcia.
“I think Ancelotti is forgetting that one of Milan’s most legendary managers, Arrigo Sacchi, never played to any higher standard than me. And my dentist is great, even though he’s never had a toothache…” – Mourinho’s retort to jibes by Carlo Ancelotti that Mourinho never played the game at the highest level.
Hoddle was by no means a poor coach. In fact his record at Swindon Town, Chelsea and England was impressive, with his time at Tottenham and Wolves the only blot on his managerial file. However, Hoddle was often criticized as being an arrogant figure. For example, the way in which he shifted the spotlight of blame for England’s defeat to Argentina in France 1998 on to Beckham suggested he was reluctant to shoulder the burden for his players.
Another party piece of Hoddle’s was to belittle the technical aptitude of his players in training, and his eagerness to display his own abilities. One former England player observed that – ‘If he was chocolate, he would eat himself’.
Perhaps the most obvious example of Hoddle’s self obsession was the fact that he believed it acceptable to publish his ‘ World Cup Diaries’, revealing details that should have stayed in the changing rooms. For example, his detailed account of Gascoigne’s reaction to being left out the squad for the World Cup in 1998 showed a serious error of judgement.
Well there you have it, five of the more self-absorbed managers to have coached at the highest level in England. All that remains now, in the absence of Phil Brown, is for the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson and Roy Hodgson to get themselves down to their local tanning salon and Burton menswear for a perma-tan and a truly horrendous suit…
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