Thinking of Man City assistant Mikel Arteta becoming Arsenal Coach
The old saying goes a great coach doesn’t mean a great manager by Dan Smith
Take Steve McLaren as an example. He would be mocked by most fans for his record, yet most players who have worked with him speak of him being some sort of genius when it comes to tactics. Some people are simply comfortable on the training pitch but not with all the other hassle that comes with being in sole charge.
I made it clear I think the Kroenkes are looking for the cheap option, but to be fair, they have put a set up together behind the scenes where maybe they strictly want just a coach.
The criteria might be for the Spaniard to carry on doing what he was doing at City and let others worry about recruitment, contracts etc. Essentially the days of Arsene Wenger controlling every aspect are over.
Let’s look at some names who managed in the Premiership but started off as an assistant coach.
I’ll give you 10 examples rating from worst to best (it is easier to find worse to be honest!).
A bit like Arteta, the feeling was that Clement has surrounded himself with so many top names as assistant manager at Chelsea, Real Madrid, PSG and Bayern Munich that he would be able to be a great boss in his own right.
He’s at the Championship level having been sacked by Derby and Swansea but has done enough to keep being offered jobs.
He could take the easy way out and work with Carlo Ancelotti again. Let’s be honest not a bad manager to have writing you a reference.
Sir Alex Ferguson felt it was always important every few years to freshen up his coaching team. Yet the success he had in the later years of his life he claimed was down to the ability of Queiroz who took a lot of the training.
Players were genuinely gutted when he left, with a young Ronaldo claiming him to be a father figure but how could he say no to Real Madrid then Portugal? Neither was successful.
A top manager (Ferguson) who puts a lot of his success down to the assistant and predicts he will be a great boss one day. Sound familiar?
It might sound weird saying this now, but when David O’Leary refused to follow George Graham from Leeds to Spurs, he was predicted to be the next big thing in management. Leeds had great young talent and were expected to wrestle the dominance away from Man United and Arsenal.
Unfortunately, the whole club, including how the manager conducted himself, got carried away with the hype – especially their route to the last 4 of the Champions League.
In reality they had yet to win anything, but naively guaranteed the banks they would keep qualifying for the CL to pay off loans. It’s a financial situation the club are still trying to recover from. How much he overspent was a stick to beat him with but due to mismanagement by the board, he and his players never got to finish this project.
One of the few goalkeeping coaches to make it as a manager at the top level, doing his apprenticeship at Malaga, then in Greece. The reputation he built up in Europe was harmed by not winning anything at Porto.
To be honest, he might not have been given a chance at Wolves without their strong connections to Jorge Mendes who had several Portuguese nationals, including Nuno, as clients. Still, to get his team playing with the style of football he has, shocked many – leading him to even be linked with the Arsenal job.
Kind of been overshadowed by the likes of Harry Redknapp and Poch who took Spurs into the Champions League. Back though when Spurs were……Spurs, he was the first coach in the Premiership era to suggest they could be a force.
Then manager, Jacques Santini, was rightfully concerned when his sporting Director insisted in bringing in his fellow countrymen, so no one was surprised when Jol ended up in charge. He changed the style of football at the Lane and famously – if not for a dodgy lasagne – would have finished in the top 4.
It’s often forgotten, most likely due to his failure with the national team, that McLaren has won trophies as a manager, the Dutch title with Twente, while also winning Middlesbrough’s only silverware and taking them to the UEFA Cup Final. Yet his overall record seems to contradict the reputation he has as a coach.
So many who have worked with him describe his methods as being ahead of its time, which is why he’s probably been given too many opportunities at this point to prove himself.
It’s worth considering though in Holland and Germany where managers do their work on the training pitch and leave other issues to other departments, he seemed more comfortable.
Andre Villas Boas
Knew Jose Mourinho from the age of 16. Their friendship meant when the latter became manager, he would take his buddy with him.
Naturally It would lead to Boas constantly being compared to his countryman, especially when he went unbeaten at Porto, winning 4 trophies including the Europa League. It was this reputation that got him the Chelsea then Spurs jobs.
His man management seemed to be an issue in England especially at Chelsea where maybe he was naïve, thinking he had the backing of Roman Abramovich to break up its powerful dressing room. He rebuilt his reputation with trophies in Russia and is now in France.
If someone from this point won us an FA and Europa League in May, he goes down as a legend. Well that’s what Di Matteo did, going one better by winning Chelsea’s first ever Champions League.
Where he was smart was (assuming he was in the post only till the summer) he told the dressing room what they wanted to hear. The likes of Terry, Lampard and Cole who had been frozen out by the previous regime were yet again allowed to manage the dressing room. In the short term it worked.
With Klopp making a name for himself throughout Europe, Huddersfield went by the theory if they employ his assistant, surely he will have some of Klopp’s hidden secrets. Which is essentially what we are doing regarding Pep Guardiola and Arteta.
The difference is Huddersfield don’t have the resources we do to have made their vacancy enticing for everyone.
Wagner won the hearts of the Terriers with his personality, against the odds winning promotion and keeping them in the topflight. He worked on not even the biggest budget in the Championship yet alone the Premiership.
Perhaps he returned to Germany once he realised he had taken the club as far as he could. Something tells me he will be back in England one day.
No wonder to this day the Spurs manager talks highly of the late great Sir Bobby Robson. He was originally hired purely as an interpreter to help the Englishman learn the language. Yet he charmed Sir Bobby so much that when he didn’t need him anymore, he made him his assistant.
There are a couple of documentaries which show this is the moment where Jose started a journal of everything he was learning. He simply listened and wrote things down, essentially teaching himself. It’s a classic example that you don’t need to be an ex professional to learn about the game. If he still has that book it would be worth a lot of money.
Anyone else you can think of?