As I have alluded to already I have spent much of my life obsessed with football management as well as leadership in general. This fascination has included the styles of management, the individuals themselves and their personalities.
Are you intrigued as to how certain managers succeed or fail? Do you wonder why particular managers succeed at certain types of club? Are you fascinated by the way managers communicate and deal with the media? Are you interested to discover what makes a successful manager, about the legends of the past and the strategies and methods of the current greats?
A broad brush study of the history of professional football management draws a timeline that for me essentially shows three distinct phases.
The first, in the early days of the professional game, saw the predominance of authoritarian, dictatorial figures who did little coaching but selected the team. They were often not seen from game to game and experienced little or no opposition to their opinions.
Secondly came the magical age, in the latter half of the twentieth century that saw the rise of the forceful and often seemingly unbridled personalities like Malcolm Alison, Brian Clough and Shanks. I realise that growing up in this era with an opened mouth awe of such men fed my obsession and thank goodness it did. I have been blessed.
I realise I am about to digress but it beggars belief sometimes when I think my childhood can be delineated and described in terms of living in a world of these greats and their iconic teams. Alongside them though were the amazing West Indies fast bowlers of Garner, Marshall and co; the heavyweight giants of Ali, Foreman and Frazier; the racehorse industry great of Red Rum, Shergar, Piggott, Cauthen and Eddery; Nicklaus and Jacklin of the course and Thompson, Coe, Cram and Ovett of the track. What a gift they all were. It is not difficult to see how sport dominated a young life
Finally the third era of football management can be viewed as the recent rise of the tactical master and media savvy ‘head coach’.
There is much to study, learn, explore and share. I can hardly wait. Come with me on this journey into the life and history of the football manager.