The managerial career path
In arguably the most intriguing Europa League competition in its short history, it’s worth taking a look at the managers / head coaches who have guided – at least in part – their teams to the last eight.
Some of the names on the list below have major trophies and reputations that go before them, but what’s curious is that none of them started anywhere near the top of the game.
What’s more, most lasted just a year in their first job – sometimes moving to better roles, sometimes falling foul of the game’s pervasive sacking culture.
Unlike players, coaches have and need time to learn and develop, with the first job often providing more lessons than any other. And yet most don’t get the chance to put those lessons into practice; statistics from English football via the League Managers Association reveal that over half of first-time managers do not get a second job. How many potentially world-class managers have been lost through football’s ‘safety first’ approach?
The managers leading out their teams in the quarter finals did get another chance, and have flourished since. For some it has taken decades to reach this stage.
Data can help us understand what a manager has achieved, but also what they have tried to achieve with his playing style, squad composition and accounting for the resources available. Coupled with a softer approach of understanding what lessons he (and increasingly she) has learnt through successes and failures, perhaps we can make the managerial recruitment process both smarter and more efficient.