By Alicia Pryzsienak

Anyone can become the manager of a club, pick a squad, decide the team and hurl instructions from the dugout, but not everyone can lead their teams to glory. During his exclusive UCFB guest speaker talk, former Everton manager Sam Allardyce suggested that managers and coaches must have “the right personality” for their team, and that without that it could all go downhill.

Unsurprisingly, being a football manager takes a lot of hard work and dedication. Spotting future talent and helping them develop to reach their full potential is something which is quite special. Hours of work and endless duties are what make this role so hard. So, using this, we’ve produced a fun list looking at the top coaches over the years and why they’re so special…


Johan Cruyff

Cruyff will forever be one of the most iconic figures in football, as both a player and manager. Cruyff was the proponent of the ‘Total Football’ philosophy, which allowed him to lead Ajax and Dutch football in general from obscurity to global stardom. His influence on the game can be seen throughout football, none more so than the teams of Pep Guardiola who has hailed the Dutchman as the biggest influence on him following their time together at Barcelona


Rinus Michels 

Seen as the creator of Total Football, Michels managed Ajax throughout the 1970s and led them all the way to the European Cup. Michels went on to win La Liga with Barcelona and guided the Netherlands to a European Championship in 1988. In 2019 Michels was named the greatest manager of all time by France Football, the body behind the Ballon d’Or. He is a true legend of the game.


Jill Ellis 

Starting off with an impressive record as UCLA Bruins coach, Ellis went from strength to strength all the way to the top with the United States Women’s National team, paving the way for women’s football and coaches around the world. Her managerial honours include: two FIFA Women’s World Cups; 2008 Beijing Olympics gold medal; 2014 CONCACAF Women's Championship; the 2015 and 2019 FIFA World Women’s Coach of the Year, and much more. 


Sir Alex Ferguson

A legend of the game for all Manchester United fans and adored by most managers around the world, Fergie won 13 Premier League titles, two Champions Leagues and five FA Cups across his 27 years at Old Trafford. What’s often forgotten, but not in Scotland, is the success he had with Aberdeen before leaving for Manchester, winning three Scottish Premier League titles (the last of which in 1985 that was the last time the league was won by a non-Old Firm team), four Scottish Cups and most famously beating Real Madrid in the final of the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1983.


Bill Shankly

The iconic former Liverpool manager brought a great deal of success to Anfield, laying the foundations for the incredible European success the club would later have. Shankly led the Reds to promotion into the top flight in 1962 before lifting three First Division titles, two FA Cups and a UEFA Cup.


Pia Sundhage 

Sundhage coached the United States Women’s National team from 2008-2012, leading them to two Olympic gold medals and a silver at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2011. Her success led her to be named 2012 FIFA World Coach of the Year and later winning another Olympic silver medal in 2016 when managing her native Sweden. Other managerial honours include two Four Nations Tournament titles in 2008 and 2011.


Pep Guardiola

Guardiola still holds the record for the most consecutive league wins in Bundesliga, La Liga and Premier League. In his first season at Barcelona he won the treble, and in 2011 won the Champions League for a second time with Barca with what is widely regarded as the greatest club side ever produced. During his time in Manchester he has broken the Premier League points record, gaining 100 points during the 2017/18 season, and won two Premier Leagues, two League Cups and an FA Cup.


Jose Mourinho

Known as the Special One, recently appointed Tottenham boss Mourinho is only one of five coaches to have won the Champions League with two different teams – Porto and Inter Milan. Mourinho’s major win titles include two Primeira Liga championships; three Premier League titles; two Serie A championships; one La Liga championship; two UEFA Cup/Europa League titles and two Champions League titles.