Football managers play a very vital role in the performance of a team. Thus, having a manager who was himself a footballer is ideal. However,there are some very good managers who never played football professionally. Today we will have a look at such managers.
Managers like Jose Mourinho, Arsene Wenger etc are not included in this list as they have played professional football, even though for a brief period of time. Here are the top 10 managers who never played football professionally.
10. Paul Clement
Clement has managed Derby County, Swansea City and Reading and has previously held coaching roles at Fulham, Blackburn Rovers, and the England under-21 and Republic of Ireland under-21 teams.
His playing career did not progress beyond non-league footballer. He concentrated on coaching from the age of 23, as he worked in the Chelsea centre of excellence while holding down a job as a Physical Education teacher.
Clement obtained a UEFA ‘A’ coaching licence in 1999 and became a full-time football coach in 2000, when Fulham appointed Clement to a role in their academy.
9. Gerard Houllier
Gerard Houllier is well-remembered by Liverpool fans for his treble in 2000/01 season in which he won the FA Cup, League Cup and the UEFA Cup. He is also one of the managers who never played football professionally.
Not many can claim to have won the Ligue 1 with two different clubs. Gerard Houllier did just that when won three Ligue 1 titles, his first with PSG in 85/86 and then guided Olympique Lyonnais to two French titles, before announcing his resignation on 25 May 2007. He also coached the French national team between 1992 and 1993 and Aston Villa between 2010 and 2011.
8. Roy Hodgson
Hodgson was a youth player with Crystal Palace, but was never able to break into the first team. After leaving Crystal Palace he played non-League football for several years with Tonbridge Angels and Gravesend & Northfleet. At the age of 23, he completed training to become a fully qualified coach.He then joined Maidstone United, where he served as assistant manager to Bob Houghton.
He has since coached across Europe and beyond, including clubs like Fulham,Liverpool and West Brom and also the national teams of Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, Finland and, most recently, England. His greatest success with a Premier League club came at Fulham, whom he improbably saved from relegation in 2008 and led to the Europa League final in 2010.
7. Avram Grant
Grant has spent the majority of his career coaching and managing in Israel, winning a number of national league and cup victories with different teams, and also managing the Israeli national team for four years.
Grant’s professional coaching career started at age 18, in 1972, as youth coach of his home-town team, Hapoel Petah Tikva. In 1986, After a 14-year spell in this job, he was promoted to first team coach, leading the club to two Toto Cup victories, in 1990 and 1991, thus bringing Hapoel Petah Tikva back to the top of Israeli football after nearly 25 years.Managerial roles with few other Israeli clubs, followed, before in 2006 taking up a technical director role at Portsmouth.
In 2007, he became director of football at Chelsea and took over as boss that September following Mourinho’s exit. An unpopular appointment with fans, he still led the club to the 2008 Champions League final, which they lost on penalties to Manchester United, before he was dismissed at the end of the season. Short spells at Portsmouth, whom he led to the FA Cup final, and West Ham followed.
6. Brian Kerr
At age 13, Kerr took his first coaching role when appointed to the Crumlin United under-11 side. He gained employment in University College Dublin as a trainee technician, while following his football interests. Kerr, although playing for Shelbourne F.C. B team, realised he did not possess enough talent to make it to the top as a footballer and at an early age decided to concentrate on coaching.
He became manager of Shamrock Rovers B team at the age of just 21. He worked his way up to the position of manager at top flight League of Ireland side St Patrick’s, winning the title twice before being appointed technical director of the Football Association of Ireland in 1996. Kerr coached the national side’s under-20 team to third place at the 1997 World Youth Championship and won the under-16 and under-18 European Championships in 1998.
One of the best managers who never played football, Kerr, was rewarded with the national team’s top job in 2003, but he failed to guide Eire to either Euro 2004 or the 2006 World Cup and was sacked in 2005. He then managed Faroe Islands national team between 2009 and 2011.