The best coach/manager, how do you measure that ?

Discussion in 'Football' started by gerd, 16 July 2013.

  1. gerd

    gerd Retired Footballer

    8 January 2002
    Over the moon
    KRC Genk, Spurs
    I got this idea by reading a post of PLF in the Bayern thread.
    Guardiola will be Bayern's new coach and he will have this fantastic squad of players.
    Of course Guardiola dserves praise for all he achieved until now, but sometimes i would like to see him as manager/coach of a club like Hull City, Cardiff or Sunderland or even Notts County...would he succeed with lesser players ? I always had the same thoughts about Cruijff as a coach...not that it's easy to coach all these stars, but if they are happy, the odds that a coach winssilverware with such a team are much higher.

    One could say that last year Heynckes was the most succesfull coach in the world. Nobody will argue about that...but was he also the best. Look (for example) what Laudrup achieved with Swansea or in Belgium what Dury achieved with Zulte Waregem (the previous season they narrowly avoided relegation and Dury led them to a second place).

    Sir Alex Ferguson is the most succesfull coach in English history. But does that make him "the best" ? How would he have done as coach of Zulte Waregem, Hartlepool or Queen of the South ?

    Your thoughts on this. Is the coach who wins the most silverware also the best and would caches who are succesfull with big clubs do well with lesser. Would Ferguson have avoided relegation with QPR ?
  2. Rentalkid

    Rentalkid Premiership

    5 August 2003
    We'll never find out about the potential of the big guns like Guardiola or Ferguson to make a difference in less "blessed" football clubs, I guess. To measure their true class, you can only watch and value their training efforts, how the teams playing styles change and, of course, the end results.

    It's a valid point you bring forth, but there are definitely two sides to this argument. Ferguson might just be the perfect match for Manchester. I guess nobody will doubt that. Had he trained smaller clubs and failed to strengthen them before (or after), would that really have left an everlasting stain on his resumee? There are just so many factors beyond a managers/coaches reach that can mess up all his work and efforts. Sometimes, the chemistry between a certain personality and his working environment just don't mix; sometimes the coach involved needs more than one chance to finally succeed. He can still become great later on, can't he?

    So, if we take Guardiola as the prime example (coming from managing one world class squad of players to the next), we'll most likely never get an answer to the question: "Could he have done well with a mid- or low-table side?" - but what would that mean, anyway? In most leagues all around Europe, from a certain position downward, the opposition becomes rather balanced. Sure, if any coach manages to win a league title with the likes of Sunderland, Betis or Frankfurt, that would rightfully leave a huge mark, but that's a whole lot to ask even of the very best coaches around. Considerable amounts of success are a different kind of story ...

    Joachim Streich would currently be THE man I'd mention to look out for in the future, after almost reaching the CL qualifiers with SC Freiburg, having elevated this always struggling team to a solid, nicely playing contender for the international ranks.
    On second thought, though, I recognize the fact that this funny, sometimes downright weird personality fits right in with Freiburg and that definitely plays a big part in their whole story of success, too. No matter how good he is, I'd have a hard time imagining him under the oversight of, say, the bosses of Bayern, Real, Barca etc. pp. In Streich's case, I dare theorize, it just seems like the perfect mixture. The right guy for the right club.
    And of course that can and has happen(ed) within bigger clubs as well. Ferguson and Manchester United, Wenger and Arsenal, Lattek and Bayern ... the list goes on and on. Regardless of their prior or later success - these coaches were able to cope with all the obstacles of professional football on the absolute highest level for years and years, which is a big achievement in itself - MAYBE ... the biggest?!

    One thing is certain: All the mentioned coaches know what they're doing. If one or another is truly leaps ahead of his colleagues is an interesting question indeed, but a highly speculative one.
    Guardiola might end up winning a dozen titles with Bayern, just like he did with Barcelona. He would still have to "prove" - to some(!) - he can coach smaller teams with comparable success afterwards. In the eyes of these folks he may never be considered "truly great". I'm okay with that. But it goes to show the enormous, kind of unfair pressure coaches of big clubs are under - especially when they're relatively fresh in the business. If you flip the coin and have a young coach fail at a big club (Klinsmann comes to mind), they are usually burned for the rest of their career, even though THAT doesn't necessarily say anything about their abilities.
    Isn't it like that? Coach a small club and fail - well, you were lacking the resources anyway. Coach a big one and fail - you're gonna have a hard time getting back on you feet.

    Closing, I wanna give my opinion on who I think is the best coach ever: Otto Rehagel!
    Seriously: First he made Werder Bremen a giant in Germany in the eighties, then he failed at Bayern (talk about a clash of personalities), only to become the first coach ever winning the Bundesliga title with a promoted team (Kaiserslautern in 97) and finally topped it all off with the European Championship in 2004 ... with GREECE! If you're really strong on the side of those who argue in favor of coaches who were successful with smaller teams, Rehagel simply cannot be overlooked. What a career! :)

    Currently, the same can be said about Juergen Klopp. He was already doing great things with Mainz. Dortmund offered him plenty more options, but do not forget how dire their financial situation still was when he took over. Without spending big bucks he managed to form a team of world-class footballers. The recent success is mostly his. He lead a quasi-bankrupt club back into the spheres of elite in record time. He played a big part in creating one of those giants so many other coaches would love to take over one day, even if that means their success might be frowned upon. ;)
  3. cfdh_edmundo

    cfdh_edmundo Maverick

    30 December 2002
    To be fair to Ferguson he took a very mediocre and totally tiny St. Mirren into (what was then) the SPL. He also took an ordinary Aberdeen side to the Scottish Championship (the first time a non Celtic-Rangers team had won in 15 years) and Scottish football was better and harder then, he won the Cup Winners Cup with them (betaing teams like Real Madrid, Bayern and Spurs) and then won the league again a few more times. There are some legitimate questions about his career (perhaps man-management during Scotlands WC in 86 or could have won more CLs during his time at Man Utd, given their resources) - but I think it's unfair to say he didn't demonstrate ability with smaller teams.

    I agree that Rehhagel has a very good track record as well, but maybe he should have quit after Euro 2004... At the time he was 65/66 and his last few years as Greece were a bit sterile, he was never able to get back to the heights of Euro 2004, and at Hertha it was a disaster (althought in a very hard job).
  4. gerd

    gerd Retired Footballer

    8 January 2002
    Over the moon
    KRC Genk, Spurs
    With this thread i was' targeting Ferguson, i merely used him as an example.
    For the record: he is a great manager, one of the best i know, but then perhaps George Jones or Chris Peters are even better at grasroots level (most of you have understood that Jones and Peters are fictional managers).
  5. Milanista

    Milanista Mangiamoli! Staff

    19 December 2002
    London & Milan
    AC Milan
    A good example and currently hot property in Italian football is Montella. He started as an interim manager at Roma for a few months, then went to Catania and did great things - the team played good football and did very well. Now at Fiorentina he's got a unique playing style, aiming for CL and attracting players like Gomez.

    Give him a few more years and he'll be doing great things.

    Another Italian example is Prandelli. This guy earned respect from every club he has worked at. I don't think he has a single enemy.
  6. Rentalkid

    Rentalkid Premiership

    5 August 2003
    The operative word here being "maybe". It's just impossible to measure. Same goes for raw talent. But that's the whole point, I guess. I don't even think that's a problem. Maybe the wrong guys get to grab all the personal awards at the end of a season and are overpaid in comparison, since collecting silverware is always something "real" to go by when evaluating a coaches work - but that's not a dramatic injustice anyways, since the Guardiolas of the world definitely are good at what they're doing.
    So what if Laudrup, Montella, Streich and co. are indeed better at their job? They're all doing just fine. In fact, arguing in favor of other FIRST division coaches isn't even entering the rabbit hole, now, is it? I mean ... what if my youth-coach back here in the countryside knew more about football than any of those lucky bastards? Where are his Porsches? :P
  7. drekkard

    drekkard International

    23 March 2005
    Barça, Arsenal, Ajax
    I would measure good coaches by the football their temas play. That's why I consider Guardiola a great coach, because he made Barcelona play wonderfully. The same could be said about Arrigo Sacchi but also about Low, Wenger at some point, Hiddink, Van Gaal and people like Prandelli of course! Titles to me are not that important, because sometimes you depend on injuries, bad luck or a bad referee. It's easier to judge how nice their teams played, right?

    I think it's impossible to compare big team coaches to small clubs. I don't think Guardiola would make it better than Laudrup at Swansea (twho knows?), but Laudrup would hardly have done what Guardiola did. One of the aspects to take into account in top clubs is that you have to harmonize big egos, big contracts and a lot of pressure coming from different sides. That's why former players have it easier to coach those teams, because they already know the dynamics of a squad.

    Plus, you have to take into account how much they add to the sport. Capello is a very good coach if you look at his numbers, but watching their teams play I've never been surprised or mesmerized. Prandelli, on the other side... I love watching Italy play, probably for the first time in my life. I know this will come down to personal oppinions, but that's what I would evaluate of a coach, in this priority:

    1- Practices entertaining, offensive football
    2- Adds something new or refresinh to the sport
    3- Is a gentleman inside and outside the field
    4- Knows how to manage egos and make success last
    5- Wins titles

    In number 1 I put offensive football. Yes, I know that defensive football can also be an art, but it's an art I don't like that much. I totally despise coaches like Clemente or Bilardo. I'm a Menotti/Bielsa fan, you see?
  8. beachryan

    beachryan Golden Boot Winner

    4 July 2003
    I think to be the 'best' there are several requirements:

    1. Outperform the 'points per dollar' or equivalent measure. I.e., if you lined up teams in a league by their total spend (transfer+wages), any team that is higher in the real league than the 'money' league has outperformed. They say it's never easy to win a league, but if your team is literally worth double the next nearest competitor (Bayern cough cough) than it's a whole lot easier.
    2. Have won the biggest trophy (World Cup, CL, League)
    3. Have a long and established history of success, preferably with multiple teams in multiple leagues

    That's pretty much the criteria for me. I think that my cat (who is dumb even by feline standards) could have won the league once or twice with Barcelona while Pep was there - such was the quality of the team he inherited. To be honest, this Bayern team is in a similar situation. Managers like Wenger, Klopp - those guys impress me. They manage to compete because of tactics and coaching, not just being able to sort out the best squad of players.

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