British Managers - here to stay or on the way out?

A recent interview by Hartlepool manager Dave Jones highlighted a potential problem for young British managers hoping to make a name for themselves in years to come.  He believes that in 5 years, there won’t be a single British-born person in charge of any team in England’s top two divisions, and they will have to look to the lower leagues to ply their trade.

Statistics back up his claim to an extent.  In 1995/96, of the twenty teams in the Premier League, 18 of the managers were English, with the other two being Sir Alex Ferguson (Scottish) and Joe Kinnear (Irish).  Fast forward to now, and 13 of the 20 teams in England’s top flight are bossed by managers from outwith these shores.

But before we start hankering after the legends of yesteryear, it is worth remembering that it is not doomsday yet, and there is still a great pool of British managers working today that are worth keeping an eye on over the next 5-10 years.  Direct Soccer looks at 10 managers under the age of 45 that could be the next set to gain legendary status in years to come.

[caption id="attachment_1930" align="alignleft" width="300"]Eddie Howe, AFC Bournemouth Manager Although he has been around for a number of years, Howe is still only 39 years old. The boss of AFC Bournemouth has a fine coaching pedigree and is tipped to be an England boss in the future.[/caption]

EDDIE HOWE (AFC Bournemouth)

Tipped to be an England manager of the future, 39 year old Howe has won plaudits for his attacking style of play with the south coast Premier League side.  An early starter (aged 31), Howe first got the managerial reins at Bournemouth in 2008 while they were in League Two.  After gaining promotion to League One, Howe moved onto Burnley for a couple of seasons before returning to Dean Court in 2012 where he guided the team to the promised land of the Premier League.

After finishing their first season in the top flight in 16th, Howe’s experience has grown and the Cherries currently sit 14th but look a sure bet to remain in the Premier League next year.  Highlights this season have included a 6-1 thrashing of Hull and a 4-3 win over Liverpool.


SEAN DYCHE (Burnley)

[caption id="attachment_1927" align="alignright" width="300"]Sean Dyche - Burnley FC Manager Another young manager expected to go far in the game, Dyche's Burnley have performed wonders in their return to the top flight, picking up 28 of their 29 points gained so far at home, the 3rd best record in the division.[/caption]

The gravel-voiced 45 year old has gained many admirers this season with Burnley sitting 10th in the top flight.

Dyche began his managerial career at Watford in 2011/12, guiding them to their best finish in 4 years.  He then took over the reins at Turf Moor where he has seen Burnley progress from a mid-table Championship side to a perennial challenger in the 2nd tier or have a top flight presence.  Runners-up in 2013/14, Burnley bounced straight back from relegation 2014/15 to win the Championship in 2016 and in their first season back in the top division, Dyche’s side have produced many great results, including wins over Champions Leicester and a draw at Manchester United.


BRENDAN RODGERS (Glasgow Celtic)

  [caption id="attachment_1931" align="alignright" width="300"]Celtic Manager Brendan Rodgers After an impressive career south of the border, Rodgers took on the job of keeping Celtic at the top of the game in Scotland. So far his side have lifted the League Cup and are on a 28 match unbeaten run to lead the league by a massive 27 points.[/caption]

44 year old Northern Irishman Rodgers took over as Celtic boss in the summer and already his side have bagged the Scottish League Cup while running away with the SPFL Premiership (currently 27 points in front of Aberdeen and Rangers) and going on a record breaking unbeaten run.  A manager that believes in playing an exciting brand of attacking football while keeping possession, Rodgers started his career in the dugout at Watford in 2008 before moving onto Reading and Swansea.  After establishing the Swans as a Premier League side, Rodgers landed a dream job at Anfield, and came close to leading Liverpool to their first title since 1990 in 2013/14.

[caption id="attachment_1925" align="alignleft" width="300"]Garry Monk and David Wagner altercation After a strong start to his managerial career with Swansea City in 2014, Monk (in middle) has led Leeds United up the Championship table this season.[/caption]  



GARRY MONK (Leeds United)

37 year old Monk has only been in management since 2014, getting his break with Swansea City following the departure of Michael Laudrup.  A manager who believes in a fluid passing attacking game, Swansea did the double over Arsenal and Man Utd in 2014/15 and finished 8th in the Premier League.

After being sacked in 2015/16, Monk got the job of revitalising sleeping giant Leeds United, a poisoned chalice of a job if ever there was one!  So far Monk’s Leeds team have been making great strides in their quest to return to the top flight, ruffling feathers on the way to sitting in a playoff position in the EFL Championship at the time of writing.


PAUL CLEMENT (Swansea City)

45 year old Clement has worked his way up through the coaching ranks to finally get into the hot seat himself.  Assistant to Carlo Ancelotti at Chelsea, Real Madrid, PSG and Bayern Munich, the Reading-born Clement took charge at Derby County in 2015.  Despite the Rams sitting in 5th place, Clement was sacked on February 8th 2016 and went back to assisting Ancelotti in Munich before Swansea City came calling last month.  The Swans face a battle to maintain their Premier League status, but wins over the likes of Liverpool and Southampton have helped Clement get off to a good start in Wales.

[caption id="attachment_1929" align="alignleft" width="300"]Swansea City Manager Paul Clement Another manager to serve his apprenticeship as a coach at clubs such as Real Madrid, Chelsea and Bayern Munich, Clement took over the reins at Swansea City tasked with the job of keeping the club in the Premier League.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1932" align="alignleft" width="300"]Robbie Neilson - MK Dons Manager Neilson cut his teeth as boss of Hearts leading the side back to the SPFL Premiership in 2015. After a strong first season in the top flight Neilson was approached by MK Dons to take the side back up to the English Championship. (pic.source[/caption]


ROBBIE NEILSON (Milton Keynes Dons)

Scotsman Robbie Neilson took over the reins at MK Dons in December 2016 after a successful managerial debut with Heart of Midlothian.  The 36 year old Neilson’s first job as a boss in 2014 saw the Jam Tarts lift the SPFL Championship title in 2014/15 and he re-established the Gorgie outfit as a top league club in 2015/16 with a respectable 3rd place finish behind Celtic and Aberdeen.  After a strong start to 2016/17, Neilson moved on to try and get MK Dons back to the Championship, and a 1-0 win got his managerial career in England off to a winning start.

  [caption id="attachment_1923" align="alignleft" width="300"]Clyde FC boss Barry Ferguson After a distinguished playing career, Ferguson stepped into the managerial side of the game in 2014 with Blackpool FC. He has been with Scottish League Two club Clyde FC since June 2014 and is one to watch for the future.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1933" align="alignleft" width="300"]Ian Cathro - Heart of Midlothian At the age of 30, Hearts boss Cathro is the youngest manager in the Scottish game. The rookie comes into his first managerial role from an extensive background in coaching at top quality clubs such as Newcastle United, Valencia and Dundee United.[/caption]



A legend at Glasgow Rangers, 38 year old Barry Ferguson took his first steps into management as caretaker boss of Blackpool in 2014.  He then took over as player/manager at Clyde in June 2014 where he guided the club to the SPFL League Two playoffs in his second season, losing to Queen’s Park in the final.  Despite working to a tight budget and players being unavailable at the last minute due to the club being part-time, Ferguson has learned a lot in his brief managerial spell to be a name to look out for at a higher level in years to come.


The youngest manager in the Scottish game, Cathro is just 30 years of age and is the current boss of Heart of Midlothian, taking over from Robbie Neilson in December 2016.  A highly sought after coach, Cathro has impressed in his coaching roles in Portugal, Spain, Scotland and England and is tipped to be a top manager for many years to come.  He is ably assisted by another top coach making his way in the game, Austin MacPhee, who owns the AM Soccer football club and school in Fife.

  [caption id="attachment_1928" align="alignleft" width="300"]Manager of Queen of the South, Gary Naysmith Former Scotland international Naysmith stepped up from a fine start to his life as a manager at East Fife to Championship side Queen of the South in 2016.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1924" align="alignleft" width="300"]Charlton Athletic Manager, Karl Robinson 36 year old Robinson cut his teeth in charge of MK Dons at the age of 30. He is now in charge at the Valley trying to take Charlton Athletic back up to the Championship.[/caption]



GARY NAYSMITH (Queen of the South)

Former Scotland full-back Naysmith is the boss at Dumfries based Queen of the South who play in the Scottish Championship.  After a 3 year spell in charge of East Fife where he led the Methil side to promotion from League Two in 2015/16.  Naysmith is a manager with a bright future that should complement his consistent and impressive playing career.

KARL ROBINSON (Charlton Athletic)

The Addicks have fallen from the heights in recent years, and 36 year old Karl Robinson is the man tasked with getting the London side back up the leagues.  After making his breakthrough into management at the age of 30 with MK Dons, Robinson guided the side out of League One to the Championship in 2015.  One of his highlights of his time in charge at Stadium MK was a 4-0 drubbing of Manchester United in the League Cup.

British football will always have a place for a great mix of managers, no matter the nationality, but there's no reason to think that the guys listed above, plus many of the others currently in the game or looking for their next job can't emulate the greats of the past like Busby, Nicholson, Stein, Revie, Clough, Shankly, Paisley, Taylor, Ferguson and Dalglish and lead many of our top clubs themselves.  As long as they continue to be given a chance, British managers will show they belong at the top with their international counterparts.