We are beginning to appreciate the substantial impact that a good manager or head coach may have on our prospects over a season, and those that have had high-profile success are becoming increasingly desirable. Take Marco Silva for example, who was recently subject to a £10m offer to buy him out of his current obligations. His popularity is understandable in light of the impact that he has had on both of the teams that he has managed in the Premier League.
Silva’s performance, like Pochettino’s before him, is well known but the exciting thing is that there are many other managers who have had a similar or even bigger impact on their teams who are rarely, if ever, talked about. The main difference is that they have done this outside of the division that the boardrooms know best.
That these managers are rarely talked about is due, in part, to the value placed on having managed in our league. Our own research at 21st Club suggests that league-specific experience is overrated and that in reality there is no correlation, for example, between experience in the Premier League and success. Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger, Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho, Mauricio Pochettino, Marco Silva had all, at some stage, never managed in the Premier League. As Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger said sometime following the emergency landing of US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River, “everything is unprecedented until it happens for the first time”.
The other reason that we don’t notice strong managerial performance outside of our own league is that we simply don’t look. The sheer number of potential candidates makes monitoring their performance a daunting task. Yet we are increasingly working with forward-thinking clubs across Europe who are keen to explore what the wider market has to offer. Discussions around the club’s aspirations, requirements and playing philosophy enables us to narrow the field through creating managerial performance indices which rules out candidates who are either a poor fit, or are not performing effectively relative to the resources at their disposal.
Ultimately, identifying high-performing candidates from across the continent where there is less competition for their signature helps us to acquire affordable talent so that if Marco isn’t an option, at least we can find others like him.