English Managers Within the Top Two Tiers

Harry Redknapp added himself to the list of fallen managers following a final blow for Birmingham when they were beaten at home 3-1 by Preston North End yesterday. It could of well been his last game in managerial football if his wishes are worshipped.

In 2017/2018 already, big names have been shown the door including Frank de Boer, Gary Caldwell, and Michael Brown.

Harry Redknapp became the first British manager in the top two tiers to be sacked this season, and now the struggle for new English manager’s deepens.

There’s only a shortlist of English coaches at the highest levels, which I name in this list.

Eddie Howe – AFC Bournemouth

English manager Eddie Howe masterminded a victory on Friday when his side came from a goal behind to win 2-1, courtesy of Jordon Ibe’s stroke of genius and an impeccable finish by Jermaine Defoe. Had the former Bournemouth defender have lost to Brighton on Friday night, it may have been his job on the line.

So the question that I bid today is, who are the English prodigies in professional management?

Sean Dyche – Burnley FC

Well respected manager Sean Dyche, who has been notably ever-present for the club with a flawless disciplinary record, has branded Burnley as a recognisable force in the English top flight of football since taking over the club from Eddie Howe.

His engaging, honest press conferences give the impression of a truly confident manager, as his record plays testimony to, with three seasons spent in the Premier League under his reign, separated by a short spell in the Championship where they finished first during their debut season.

Otherwise, the Northamptonshire-born coach has a remarkable repertoire of football knowledge and techniques, resulting in Welshman Sam Vokes topping the club’s goalscoring leaderboard last season, and the introduction of two new player’s to replace Danny Ings, including the resurgent John Walter’s from rivals Stoke City, and Championship top goal scorer Chris Woods.

Woods netted the only goal in the game against low performers Crystal Palace. It is inspired signings and grounded coaching approach that classes Sean Dyche above other continental managers at the present, alongside Eddie Howe.

Who else has the gift of the gad then?

Paul Clement – Swansea City

The likeable Paul Clement has taken over the difficult duty of Swansea coach since Bob Bradley departed the club in December 2016. Don’t worry, if you have been missing the American’s bulletproof approach to English soccer, then check out this Soccer AM sketch here featuring yours truly!

After selling Gylfi Sigurdsson to Everton prior to the start of the Premier League season, Clement needed to use all of his experience and contacts to attract an excellent replacement, bringing Renato Sanchez to the club, to the great delight of Welsh supporters.

Swansea City have started the season reasonably well considering their desperate campaign for survival last season. His team sit 14th as things stand, but are only three points behind Tottenham Hotspur in fifth, each with five games played.

Craig Shakespeare – Leicester City

Ever since Leicester City won the Premier League in 2015/2016, it has been all anyone can talk about, and who else to thank for inspiring this than Claudio Ranieri?

Taking over control of City from Ranieri then would be a daunting task for any manager, let alone the inexperienced Craig Shakespeare. But when Leicester sacked the Italian, it was the Englishman’s opportunity. Former English and Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson was in the mix for making a return to the club, but it was his fellow Englishman Craig Shakespeare that would take charge.

Shakespeare had been serving as Claudio’s number two during his successful reign, which would have allowed him to see how things were done and even add some of his own ideas.

With Leicester City facing the unfaceable prospect of dropping out of the top flight a year after winning the league itself, Shakespeare made an impressive start to life as full -time coach, winning five games in succession, and lifting his team into a safe spot.

Shakespeare has continued control of the club with the backing of the club’s board. However, Leicester have lost three of their five opening fixtures, and sit an uncomfortable fifteenth in the league standings.

Roy Hodgson – Crystal Palace

Following the early exit of Frank de Boer, Roy Hodgson stepped back into English football as the manager of an underperforming club by anyone’s standards, Crystal Palace.

Hodgson has enjoyed a prolific career in English football where he has remained at the top level for much of his career.

The coach managed England during the Euro 2016 campaign, however, announced during the campaign that he would be leaving immediately after. Hodgson also managed Finland for a spell during 2006/2007.

Hodgson made a strong impression during his position as Fulham boss. In fact, he became LMA manager of the year in 2010, after guiding Fulham to their first European final. They lost 2-1 to Atletico Madrid, if to cast any disappointment on the affairs.

Hodgson became a favourite upon Fulham fans initially as his appointment rescued them for relegation in his first season. His credentials increased to an unprecedented level for the club over the following season’s to come, reaching the European Cup final, and recording 50 victories with just 32 draws and 46 losses throughout his time in charge.

Hodgson drew attention from fellow league rivals Liverpool in 2010, signing a three-year deal during the summer, and went on to make valuable contributions in the transfer market, and keep a respectable record in the league, despite his new critics.

When England came knocking, the offer was too good to refuse, where his heroics would help England to reach the Euro 2012 quarter-final, losing in devastating fashion to Italy on penalties.

Roy Hodgson then survived expected criticism across world football when England exited the World Cup of 2014 at the group stage. He would then secure qualification for Euro 2016, where the tough task became no less humiliating for Hodgson, beaten 2-1 by Iceland in the knock-out rounds.

Hodgson quit straight after the defeat.

Simon Grayson – AFC Sunderland United

After a shocking campaign in the Premier League for Sunderland last season, David Moyes left the club quickly after it had finished.

They put their trust in Englishman Simon Grayson, a manager with an air of confidence about him, and a strong pedigree of championship management.

However, it has not started the way things were planned to, as Sunderland have only won one game from eight and sit nervously in the relegation zone.

Grayson will try to look at it positively, as he has lived life on edge before with Blackpool, guiding them to safety and their previous highest finish in English football, 19th in the Championship.

When Grayson took charge of Leeds United, he enjoyed a nine-game unbeaten spell during his debut as manager of the Yorkshire club. Their form continued throughout the season, earning themselves promotion to the Championship. Leeds finished in an unfortunate seventh spot the following season, which was not enough to rescue his job in the eyes of the board.

Grayson will have learnt from mistakes and experience in the past, and believe there is every reason to be hopeful for Sunderland this season.

Nigel Clough – Burton Albion

Nigel Clough revisited Burton Albion in 2015, following eleven years in charge previously, which made him one of the longest serving managers in the Football League.

It is unsurprisingly so, as his successful skills as manager has helped Burton Albion reach the pinnacle point in its club history. Three promotions back-to-back between 1999 and 2002 led Burton to the Conference for the first time ever in the club’s long history.

Clough left Burton Albion in 2009 for higher calibre outfit Derby County, and following an exceptional job done with his ancestor club, Burton finished that season on top of the pile.

Jimmy Floyd-Hasselbaink assumed control of the club after pre-successor Gary Rowett parted ways in 2014/2015, and the Chelsea legend would guide Burton to a new height of success, reaching League One in emphatic fashion.

Then, it was the turn of Nigel Clough to take charge again, who in his first season helped Burton secure second place and promotion to the Championship.

Burton have remained at this level ever since, and with Nigel Clough as coach still, who knows where they might be heading next?

Gary Rowett – Derby County

Rowett resumed life as a manager with Birmingham City before Redknapp eventually took over, opening the door for him to join Derby County.

It has been an uphill struggle to begin with, as Derby County have been on the receiving end of desperate criticism in recent years due to their appalling inconsistency. However, Rowett has at least won more games than lost in his initial fixtures since appointed in March, which will be somewhat pleasing to the board and the support.

Chris Wilder – Sheffield United

In 2017 there are few more recognisable English managers than Chris Wilder, who after seasons of despair, revived Sheffield United from their draught in League One by winning their campaign by storm, recording 100 points impressively.

The Blades, as they are commonly known by their fan base, are starting the season in equally resilient style, by winning five games from eight, and sit comfortably in a play-off spot.

Chris Wilder could be the man to resurrect the return of Sheffield United back to the Premier League, where they have spent three seasons in all.

Neil Warnock – Cardiff City

From one Sheffield United man to another – Neil Warnock currently convenes control over Cardiff City, who are pushing for promotion yet again.

Warnock has been a well-respected football manager for many years, managing clubs at various levels and is somebody with the mind and presence to transform success.

Steve Bruce – Aston Villa

Optimistic as ever, but a poor start from Aston Villa has placed a lot of pressure over the position of Steve Bruce as manager of Aston Villa.

Steve Bruce led Hull City to the FA Cup final in 2014, where they lost out to Arsenal during Extra-Time heartbreakingly for the club.

Ian Hollaway – Queens Park Rangers

Born in South-Gloucestershire, this excellent English coach has experience managing a wide variety of clubs including Millwall, Crystal Palace, and now QPR.

QPR are absent again from the Premier League and from the most likely clubs to gain promotion this time round, however, Hollaway will hope to inspire his players to obtain at least a play-off place, but it is not without extravagant competition around them that he will have to do his job.

Mark Warburton – Nottingham Forest

Warburton has experience managing in the English top flight with Middlesborough and now represents another club wearing red; Nottingham Forest, who are applying pressure from the off in the Championship this season.

Sitting tenth with four wins from eight in the league, and having knocked Newcastle out of the League Cup already, Forest and Warburton are in with a real chance of securing a top six position this semester.

Gary Monk – Middlesborough

Formerly a Leeds United favourite with the fans, Gary Monk shocked its supporters this summer when he sought a new challenge on Teeside.

Monk has an excellent reputation within English football, where he did an exceedingly grand job managing Swansea City in the Premier League, and then came close to leading Leeds back into the top flight too.

Boro’ currently lie in seventh, just outside the play-off positions, but have the odds stacked against them this season as many teams look to progress.

Lee Johnson – Bristol City

Lee Johnson has become a highly plausible manager in the English Football League for his fanatics with Bristol City, keeping them up in the Championship last season.

Still only 36, he finished his playing career in Scotland with Kilmarnock in 2013, where he then instantly stepped into management with Oldham Athletic.

Johnson also managed Barnsley in 2015/2016, leaving Oldham ninth place in League One before joining. Now at Bristol City, the future is bright for this young English manager.

Neil Harris – Millwall

This impressive Millwall coach has brought life back into the club since joining in 2013. As a player, Harris spent vast amount of time with the club, which earned him respect as manager when he stepped up to managerial level.

However, his heroics afterwards introduced him into true Millwall folklore. Millwall reached the Quarter-Final of the FA Cup last season, as well as earning a sixth place finish in the league. Millwall and Harris were rewarded promotion via the play-off route, and there granted their second visit to Wembley that season.

Dean Smith – Brentford FC

Dean Smith has helped Brentford FC stay alive since leaving Wallsall for West London in April 2015. During his first full-season in the Championship, he was awarded Manager of the Month in August, and went on to finish comfortably in ninth.

He then followed up this initial achievement by staying up for the second season in-a-row, slipping just one spot to tenth.

It is more of struggle for Brentford this season it seems however, who currently reside in 21st spot. Smith needs to remain calm if he is to lift his side out of bother.

Paul Heckingbottom – Barnsley FC

It is Paul Heckingbottom’s third season in charge of Barnsley Football Club, and it has become a different place since taking over in 2015.

He won the football League Trophy and gained promotion via the play-offs during his first spell with the club in 2015.

The following season, Paul Heckingbottom led Barnsley to fourteenth in the Championship, helping retain their success over recent years.

Paul Parkinson – Bolton Wanderers

Paul Parkinson led Bolton to the League One title in 2016/2017 after a disappointing campaign the season before, which resulted in relegation.

Now in the second tier of English football, Bolton Wanderer’s have refreshed hope of regaining their status as one of the best clubs that English football has to offer.

With the excellent track record that Parkinson has, he is surely to right man for the job.


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