Where there’s will, there’s god. There are 2 types of people in the world. One, who believe that destiny is cruel and hence they take life as it is. The second category believe that destiny is man-made. They refuse to accept what they have, they refuse to be drawn away by limitations.
The following list is a introduction to some of those men who abolished the trend of “player turned managers”.
5. Andre Villas-Boas –
Sophisticated off the pitch, mercurial on it – Andre Villas-Boas earned his UEFA ‘C’ Coaching License at an age of 17. Such was his footballing intellect, he was announced the head coach of the British Virgin Islands national team at the age of 21.
He then moved to FC Porto and started to coach their U-19 side. He would later be promoted to work under another relatively young manager, Jose Mourinho. He followed his master’s footsteps till 2009 when he decided to make a name for himself.
AVB, as they call him, has had brief stints at 4 clubs as a head coach since, namely – Acamedica de Coimbra, FC Porto, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspurs, his most successful being the one at Porto, where he finished the season undefeated with 85% wins That materialized into a treble in his first season.
His relatively short stints at clubs, his desire to leave coaching after 10 years to race in the Dakar rally and most importantly his young age force place him at number 5.
4. Gerard Houlier –
He won the cup treble with Liverpool in 2000-01 season, Ligue 1 with PSG and Lyon in 1985 and 2005 respectively and he has also been the manager of the French national team, but not many know that Gerard Houllier chose teaching as his profession in his early days. Houllier was admitted to Lille University where he was to pursue a degree in English.
But, when his father’s prolonging illness started to turn fatal, he gave up his studies and started working as a teacher part-time. He spent the year of 1969 as an assistant at Alsop Comprehensive School, Liverpool which got him hooked to football.
Football started to become more than just an ‘interest’ and at the age of 26 he started off as a player-manager for AC Le Torquet. The rest is history.
3. Carlos Alberto Parreira –
A physiotherapist by profession, Carlos Alberto Parreira was an utter stranger the hooks and crooks of the beautiful game. A life-long Fluminese fan that he was, Parreira started out as a physio for his beloved team. He later went on to join the Kuwait national team, where he was regarded so much that he was announced the U-21 side coach.
After spending a quarter of his life switching between club and national sides, he reached the promised the land in the 1990’s. He was announced as a coach for the Brazil national team. The gamble payed off. Brazil won the World Cup in 1994.
The world cup triumph paved his way towards more success. Copa America, and FIFA Confederations Cup were to follow. He is only the second manager (or the first physio) to have qualified for world cup with 5 different national teams.
2. Arrigo Sacchi –
It will come as a surprise to many that Sacchi did not top the list. I don’t blame you. He could top any list on this Earth, he was really that good.
His journey from being a shoe salesman to the manager of one of the greatest club sides ever assembled is phenomenal. He was a milestone man when it comes to football tactics. He abolished the much cliched ‘Italian man marking’ and introduced the zonal marking system which is much efficient and attractive.
His AC Milan side remain the only club to have won back to back UEFA Champions League in the modern era. But, it was not just Sacchi who was responsible for it. With Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit and Franck Riijkard in attack and Franco Baresi and Paolo Maldini in defense, things were always destined to happen.
But that’s not taking away the fact that he was a revolutionary in the game. He changed people approached football.
You don’t need to be a horse to become a jockey. How right was he!
1. Bill Struth –
Winning 18 league championships, 10 Scottish Cups, 2 League Cups, 7 war-time championships, 19 Glasgow Cups and 17 Glasgow Merchant Charity Cups in his 34 year-old career at Rangers, he is Britain’s most decorated manager with 73 trophies in his warchest.
Bill Struth was a stonesman. A real stonesman, yes. His physical toughness helped him make a career out of middle-distance running. He later joined Hearts as a trainer and soon left the job to become an assistant at Rangers.
As time passed by, his command over the game manifolded. A strict disciplinarian as he was, he asked his players to turn up in suits and ties before training and games.
Nothing beats pure will. He’s the stonesman that sold the world. His loyalty and rate of success despite of being a complete outsider of the game earns him the first spot.