English management is at an all-time low, the FA must take significant steps in order to improve the English game…
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Posted by Featured Articles | Published on July 25, 2016
In a week where we have seen Sam Allardyce appointed as head coach of our national side and Steve Bruce quit as Hull City manager after 4 years in charge, I have been thinking about the state of English management. And let’s be blunt, it really is in a sorry state.
No English manager has won the top flight since 1991-92 when Howard Wilkinson won it with Leeds United. Meaning no English manager has ever won the Premier League. Imagine that being the case in Spain, where in the last 10 years, 6 La Liga titles have been won by a Spanish manager. Or in France, where since 1995 only one non-French manager has won Ligue 1. The last German manager to win the Bundesliga was only 3 years ago, Bayern Munich under Jupp Heynckes.
Just look around, every single English manager that has been given a chance at the very top level has failed. Alan Pardew, Roy Hodgson, Garry Monk, Tim Sherwood, Steve Bruce, Sean Dyche, Phil Brown, Tony Mowbray, the list goes on and on. Nobody can say that these managers have not been given a fair crack at the whip but eventually every single one has been found lacking.
Swansea didn’t have to give Garry Monk a chance but they did and he let them down. 1 win in 11 Premier League games is inexcusable, Monk left Swansea with 14 points in 15 games, just 2 points above the drop zone. He deserved to get the boot. And just look at Swansea after, Guidolin led Swansea to just 3 losses in 10 games, a dramatic turn-around.
The same applies with Tim Sherwood, given a great opportunity at Spurs. After serving just 5 months of his 18 month contract, Sherwood was sacked by Levy. Subsequently, Sherwood was appointed Villa manager and after making an immediate impact, he started to impress. However with just 1 win in 10 games at the start of the 2015/16 season, Sherwood was sacked, just 8 months after taking the position.
Steve Bruce and Sean Dyche are in a similar boat. Both managers have enjoyed 2 promotions to the Premier League but only to be paired with a relegation back to the Championship. They’ve both failed to keep their respective sides in the Premier League, not exactly success, is it?
These days, the Premier League moves so quickly and there is little room for mistakes. Why should owners of multimillion pound businesses take risks on a potentially mediocre English managers when there are better, more qualified foreign candidates around? It’s not the owner’s job to ensure the level of English management is up to scratch.
This is where the FA need to step in.
In England we officially have 1,395 UEFA A Licenced coaches, that’s 5,539 less than Germany and 14,028 less than Spain. That condenses considerably when you look at the number of Pro-Licenced coaches we have, just 203 in the whole of England. Again, compared to Spain’s 2,140 and Germany’s 1,000+, it looks pretty atrocious.
But why are numbers so thin on the ground?
In Germany, it costs approximately £445 to earn your A-Licence coaching badge, it costs just over double that in Spain. However, in England someone looking to pass their coaching badge must typically cough up anywhere between £2,550 and £3,300 and dedicate a minimum of 240 hours over a 2 part course. A huge commitment for anyone.
In addition to being extremely expensive to complete and very time consuming in the process, the majority of courses are held at the home of the FA, St. George’s Park. Located in Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire. Approximately a 3 hour and 20 minute journey from my house. So, not only have you got to put aside £2,500 and 240 hours, you also have to do a fair bit of travelling too. Unless you live near Burton.
Moreover, entering the course does not guarantee a pass, far from it. The pass rate for a ‘UEFA B-Licence’ (Level 3 equivalent) is just 30%. Staggering. By paying thousands to sign up to the course, you then run the risk of failing. I’m not saying that everyone should pass but you can’t blame people for not wanting to lose out.
Furthermore, in order to progress and eventually complete a ‘UEFA Pro-Licence’ you must first obtain the ‘A-Licence’. Once you have done that, a committee made up of a representative from The FA, the League Managers’ Association, Professional Footballers’ Association, Premier League and Football League will assess your eligibility and whether the course is suitable.
It’s starting to look a little clearer as to why English coaching is so far behind.
With United, City, Chelsea, Spurs, Liverpool and Arsenal all under foreign management, I suppose the real question is ‘when are we going to see an Englishman win the Premier League?’ I doubt it will be anytime soon. In fact, I can’t see it happening in the next 10 years, the barren run since 1992 continues. The closest Englishman to have won the top flight since Howard Wilkinson was Kevin Keegan back in 1995/96, his Newcastle side came 2nd to Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United.
It is clear that the FA must take big steps in order to improve not only English management but the English game as a whole. Everything starts with the coaches, from when the likes of Ross Barkley, Dele Alli and Harry Kane were 9 years old all the way to now, coaches have a huge effect every single day. They are not only important for the players of today but also the players of the future, if we don’t sort this issue we will fall further and further behind the other European forces. If the FA can get this right, it will not only improve our English leagues, it will improve the national team and the success English football experiences by and large.
English management is at an all-time low, the FA must take significant steps in order to improve the English game.