As England play their 1,000th match against Montenegro at Wembley on November 14th, Elephant Sport takes a look at the men who have taken charge of the Three Lions down the years.
15. Sam Allardyce (2016)
‘Big Sam’ is the hardest to judge of them all, seeing as he only had one game in charge – an utterly forgettable game against Slovakia that was won by Adam Lallana in the 95th-minute.
His reign was brought to an abrupt and infamous end after a newspaper sting purported to show him offering advice on how to “get around” rules on third-party player ownership.
Despite being the only permanent England manager with a 100% win record, the embarrassment that Allardyce brought on the FA and the briefness of his reign puts him stone dead last in this list.
14. Steve McClaren (2006-2007)
He was nicknamed the ‘wally with the brolly’ after he sheltered under an umbrella in the pouring rain during England’s 3-2 defeat to Croatia at Wembley – a result that ended their hopes of reaching the 2008 European Championships.
Generally viewed as one of the Three Lions’ least inspiring managers, and considering the quality of the squad McClaren had at his disposal, the failure to qualify for Euro 2008 has to go down as one of the biggest under-achievements in England’s history.
13. Kevin Keegan (1999-2000)
Keegan was an icon whilst representing England in his playing days, but he failed to achieve the same distinguished status as manager – to put it politely.
The former Newcastle United boss’ side exited Euro 2000 after Phil Neville gave a last-minute penalty away in a 3-2 defeat to Romania, and dramatically quit his role as boss after a 1-0 defeat against Germany in the last-ever match at the old Wembley.
It’s fair to say it wasn’t an enjoyable time for England fans – nor, by his admission, was it an enjoyable time for Keegan, later saying he “found it hard to fill in the time”.
12. Graham Taylor (1990-1993)
Taylor remains a well-respected figure in football for his success with Watford and Aston Villa in the 80’s and 90’s but, much like Keegan, he proved that international management isn’t for everyone, with an ignominious stint in charge of England.
The ex-Villa boss was famously depicted as a turnip on the front of a tabloid newspaper following England’s 3-2 defeat to Sweden in Euro 1992 and, after the dismal failure to qualify for the World Cup in the USA, resigned from his post in 1993.
11. Don Revie (1974-1977)
Revie was the mastermind of the great Leeds United team of the 70’s, but failed to live up to expectations as England manager.
He was appointed to much fanfare in 1974, but the Leeds legend failed to get England to Euro 1976 and left for a highly-lucrative move to coach the United Arab Emirates a year later. It was always going to be tough to succeed the great Sir Alf Ramsay, but someone of Revie’s calibre should have performed a lot better.
10. Fabio Capello (2008-2012)
Capello was one of the biggest names in football management when he got the England job in 2008. Considering his huge reputation as a manager across Europe, coupled with the talented crop of players at his disposal, it was difficult to see how this could possibly go wrong – but it did.
Despite a very strong qualifying campaign for World Cup 2010, the tournament itself was a disaster. A dreary 0-0 draw with Algeria was sandwiched in between a Rob Green howler against USA and a thrashing against old rivals Germany.
The Italian dramatically resigned from his post after John Terry was stripped of the captaincy against his wishes. Not many England fans were sad to see the back of him.
9. Sven Goran-Eriksson (2001-2006)
The Swede became the first foreign manager of the England national team in 2001 when he replaced Kevin Keegan. Eriksson was seen as something of a master tactician and, following success in Serie A with Sampdoria and Lazio, it seemed like a forward-thinking choice.
However – despite having the so-called ‘golden generation’ at his disposal – Sven could only guide England to the quarter-final stage of the 2002 World Cup, Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup. He really should have done a lot better with the squad that he had, and the way that quality was squandered means he won’t be remembered fondly as England boss.
8. Roy Hodgson (2012-2016)
The former Liverpool and Inter Milan manager swooped in and pinched the England job from right under Harry Redknapp’s nose in 2012 after Capello dramatically walked out just a few months before the start of the European Championships.
Hodgson steered England to the quarter-finals of that tournament, where they were ultimately knocked out on penalties by Italy. That wasn’t a bad achievement under the circumstances, but that’s as good as it got for him.
His side crashed out at the group-stage of the 2014 World Cup and were then embarrassingly dumped out of Euro 2016 by Iceland, which led him to resign in his post-match press conference.
He maneuvered some tricky circumstances well and always managed to guide England through strong qualifying campaigns, but the way his sides crumbled at the finals of major tournaments leaves Hodgson mid-table in this list.
7. Ron Greenwood (1977-1982)
Greenwood isn’t somebody that is particularly well-remembered and wasn’t that highly thought-of at the time either; mainly due to him not being Brian Clough, who many thought should have been given the job back in 1977.
However, he was important in the revival of England; finally steering the nation back into a major tournament in 1980 after a decade-long absence. Greenwood’s tenure also included the landmark selection of England’s first-ever black player when Viv Anderson was included in the squad in 1978.
His England team went unbeaten at the 1982 World Cup in Spain, but missed out on a semi-final spot after failing to beat the hosts in the second group stage. Despite that, Greenwood remains a bit of a forgotten man in England’s history and, therefore, only manages seventh place on this list.
6. Glenn Hoddle (1996-1999)
Hoddle’s ideas, on paper, looked exciting. As befitted one of the most exciting talents of his generation, his aim were to play an attacking, stylish brand of football and drag the national team into a modern era of the game.
His stint in charge was eventful. He brought a young Michael Owen into the squad for the World Cup in 1998 and, well, the rest is history, as they say. That was also the match where David Beckham was infamously sent off for petuntately kicking out at Diego Simeone.
He left the role in controversial circumstances after doing an interview where he seemed to suggest that people with disabilities were being punished for sins in a former life. Unsurprisingly, the FA didn’t react well to these statements and fired him soon after.
There’s a feeling that Hoddle left before he really got started and could have been more successful. Due to some of the failings of many of the managers who’ve followed him, he’s ranked fairly highly in this list.
5. Walter Winterbottom (1946-1962)
Seeing as Winterbottom left his post nearly 60 years ago, it’s hardly surprising that many England fans will never have heard of him.
He was England’s first-ever manager and is the longest-serving coach in the history of the nation, staying in charge for 16 years. He took England to four World Cup tournaments and also helped revolutionise the managerial role, putting more emphasis on coaching players on the training ground.
Some argue that he never really recovered from the embarrassing 6-3 home defeat to Hungary in 1953 and his sides never went far enough at major tournaments, but his pioneering influence as coach paved the way for future managers and leaves him with a strong legacy in the game.
4. Gareth Southgate (2016-present)
After finding themselves in a post-Allardyce wilderness, Southgate sewed England back together and made watching them enjoyable again in that unforgettable summer of sun, singing and beer-throwing in 2018.
He certainly wasn’t everyone’s first choice when he took the reins in 2016; seen as just another FA ‘yes man’. But he soon stamped his authority on the side by phasing out an ageing Wayne Rooney, bringing through young players and switching to a three-at-the-back system for the World Cup.
The former U21 boss saw his changes work wonders as England reached the semi-finals for the first time since 1990; falling at the penultimate hurdle against Croatia. It’s still early days in Southgate’s tenure, but the summer of ‘18 won’t be forgotten in a hurry and that puts the current coach up in fourth-place.
3. Terry Venables (1994-1996)
Much like Southgate, Venables put the enjoyment back into watching England after the failure of missing out on a place at the World Cup in 1994. England really captured the imagination of a nation on home soil at Euro ’96 and, again, much like Southgate, helped produce another unforgettable summer in the nation’s sporting history. The 4-1 hammering of the Netherlands remains one of England’s all-time great performances.
He didn’t stick around for as long as perhaps he should have, but the memories he helped created coupled with the way he got the best out of his players – Paul Gascoigne in particular – means he sneaks into the top-three.
2. Bobby Robson (1982-1990)
Robson is remembered as the suave, charming, twinkly-eyed coach who nearly guided England to their second World Cup triumph in 1990. He undoubtedly goes down as a legend, but he wasn’t always liked in the same way that he is now.
The former Ipswich and Barcelona boss had a mixed record at tournaments and was subject to mass derision in the press before that memorable World Cup campaign of 1990 after a fairly disastrous Euro 1988, where England lost all three of the matches they played.
However, Robson turned things around in Italy two years later; cementing himself as a legend within the game.
1. Alf Ramsey (1963-1974)
It won’t come as much surprise to anyone that Sir Alf Ramsey tops this list, considering he remains the only England manager to life the World Cup aloft.
The second longest-serving boss guided a side that contained the likes of Gordon Banks, Bobby Moore and Bobby Charlton to the nation’s only trophy in 1966 with a famous 4-2 win over West Germany at Wembley Stadium.
Despite his tenure tailing off and failing to lead the side to Euro 1972 and the 1974 World Cup, it’s difficult to look beyond Ramsey as the greatest England manager of all time. It’s been over 60 years now and there’s still not been a man to repeat his feat. It’ll be interesting to see how much longer that wait goes on…
Image credits: Dmitry Sadovnikov, Rob Anefo & Anton Zaitsevvia via Wikipedia Commons.