10 Football Managers Who Overshadow Their Teams
A good football manager knows that his job is to ensure the best results for his team.
This is no easy job however, and in the process, many football managers quickly become the focal point of fans and media alike.
Some managers fail to effectively handle the pressure, further exacerbating the situation.
Others handle it excellently; so well, in fact, that the media begins to focus more on the coach's success than the team.
Whether it be for the right or wrong reasons, many coaches throughout football history have overshadowed their team's success.
Let's look at 10 recent examples of this phenomenon.
Where Jose Mourinho goes, the media follows.
And not just the media, either. Mourinho is arguably the most popular manager in the world; the number of montages you'll find on line for the guy is ridiculous, especially considering he's not even a player!
Mourinho has been remarkably successful throughout his coaching career. Even if you don't rate him as the top coach in the world right now, you have to recognize his quality and admit that he is at least one of the top three.
But it's not just the fact that he's won numerous titles with Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid that allows him to overshadow his teams. It's his charisma, his swagger, his arrogance—which can inspire confidence in his players and fans, while simultaneously stimulating disgust and borderline hatred from the opposition.
Jose Mourinho is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of manager, one which I doubt we'll see again. Of all the managers on this list, I don't believe there's anyone who can overshadow his team quite like Mourinho can.
Chelsea have struggled badly in the EPL this season.
The team's core players of years past have almost all entered into the final years of their career, and are at least a couple years removed from their prime.
The transition from old guard to new guard has not been smooth at all, and many players are reportedly unhappy with their roles at Chelsea this season.
However, this season, all of this has been overshadowed by Andre Villas-Boas, Jose Mourinho's one-time apprentice.
Chelsea were bound to have tough season this year. Even with an on-form Fernando Torres, there's little chance that this Chelsea squad would be able to contend with the Manchesters for the EPL title, or with the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid in the Champions League.
But despite this, Villas-Boas has managed to make his job much harder than necessary from the very start.
He's tried in vain all season long to impose a 4-3-3 system that Chelsea simply don't have the personnel for. He's alienated his most senior players, and stupidly proclaimed that he only needs the owner to "back [his] project," and not the players.
There are many more flaws to be pointed out regarding Villas-Boas' tenure, such as his high defensive line, which has made Chelsea's normally formidable defense look like one of the least secure in the EPL.
I have no intention of joining the chorus of voicing calling for the sacking of Villas-Boas—as a non-Chelsea fan, I think I'll just sit back and watch the fireworks.
However, what I do know is that Villas-Boas' situation and constant speculation over his future has overshadowed Chelsea as a club this season, and have prevented the team's problems from being sufficiently addressed.
At the end of the 2007-08 season, Barcelona were not doing well as a club. They finished third in La Liga, their lowest finish since the 2002-03 season, and failed to win any silverware either.
Fast forward three seasons, and Barcelona have three La Liga titles, three Supercopas, two Champions League titles, two Club World Cups, two UEFA Super Cups and one Copa del Rey under their belt.
Most importantly, the title of the "best club in the world" could be said to definitively belong to Barcelona.
And all of it could be credited to the revolution brought about by the club's ex-captain, Pep Guardiola.
While I wouldn't say that Pep Guardiola enjoys a more popular reputation than guys like Messi, Xavi, Iniesta or even Fabregas, I would still argue that Guardiola overshadows the club in that he was the one who brought the magic and success back to the club.
He brought the Johan Cruyff-style free-flowing football back to Barca (even though I still maintain it can be a tad boring at times), and he was the one who converted Messi from a great talent to the greatest player in the world.
If Guardiola were to leave Barcelona in the summer (which, as ridiculous as it may sound, he says is very possible), Barcelona would surely struggle to find a manager quite as great and quick to produce results as Guardiola was.
From the moment Maradona was selected to be Argentina's manager for the 2010 World Cup, it seemed as though all the media wanted to talk about was Maradona.
To be sure, he gave them plenty of ammunition. His squad selections were very frustrating, as established veterans like Esteban Cambiasso and Javier Zanetti were regularly left out for inexperienced defenders like Nicolas Otamendi, who was still playing his football in Argentina at the time.
Also, his 6-1 loss to Bolivia was Argentina's worst loss ever. It put Argentina in danger of missing the World Cup and raised plenty of questions about his managerial skills.
Finally, after he secured World Cup qualification for Argentina, Maradona let out all his frustration with the media by telling them, "suck it and carry on sucking it." This led to a two-month ban from football, as well as a fine and warning on future conduct.
Despite all of this, however, Maradona didn't do too poor of a job as the Argentina boss. Before the disastrous loss against Germany, which exposed Maradona's inexperience as a manager, he won four games in the World Cup, leading many to consider his squad the title favorites.
Maradona wasn't great as Argentina's manager, but no one realistically expected him to be, and the Argentinian team probably should have received some of the ridiculous amount of attention their manager received throughout his tenure.
Sir Alex Ferguson
Do I really need to say anything here?
Sir Alex Ferguson is arguably the most important and highly-regarded man in Manchester United history.
Things were not always so easy for Ferguson and United. When Ferguson first took over as manager, the club did not experience any type of trophy success for three seasons, and even came close to sacking him after a 5-1 loss to Manchester City in September 1989.
Nevertheless, Ferguson managed to turn things around that season by winning the FA Cup, and United have hardly looked back since.
In Ferguson's long tenure with the club, United have now won 12 league titles, five FA Cups, four League Cups and two Champions League titles, along with a host of less significant trophies and awards.
United are one of England's top clubs in the world now, but without Sir Alex Ferguson, who knows where they'd be today.
No matter what he did, it seemed as though Fabio Capello was always receiving criticism from the English media for his reign with the England national team.
Capello was England's winningest coach ever, but you wouldn't have guessed it from the way the press handled him.
Capello faced a variety of criticisms during his time as ENT boss. Many decried his conservative style as stifling the talent of England's Golden Generation, as it was popularly known.
Others criticized his squad selection, questioning call-ups given to the likes of Emile Heskey and Matthew Upson, among others, and the continued omission of top-class talents like Micah Richards.
Ultimately, once Fabio Capello's England were eliminated from the 2010 World Cup in humiliating fashion against Germany, no one was really ready to give Capello a second chance.
Even though England only failed to top their group due to an awful goalkeeping error from Robert Green, and were very negatively influenced by a disallowed Frank Lampard goal that clearly crossed the goal line, once England exited WC2010, most media members and Englishmen were ready to see Capello replaced.
A solid performance in Euro 2012 qualification—undefeated, with five wins and three draws—could not change this. Ultimately Capello resigned, to the pleasure of many Englishmen, in the aftermath of the John Terry captaincy incident.
It's a real shame Capello never got to finish his project with England, because I feel he could've really put his stamp on his spell with England at Euro 2012, confirming himself as one of England's greatest managers. Alas, it was simply not to be.
If you ask Tottenham fans to pick the one person most responsible for Tottenham's success this season, some may tell you it's Luka Modric, or Gareth Bale, or Rafael van der Vaart, or Adebayor, or even Ledley King.
But an overwhelming majority will likely point to Tottenham's manager, Harry Redknapp.
Redknapp is a big believer in the "unimportance" of tactics, as he wrote in The Sun. He usually tells his players to go out and play their game to the best of their abilities, with little emphasis on tactical discipline or rigidity.
In this day and age, many may believe that such an approach is archaic or naive, but clearly, it's paid dividends for Tottenham, as they've spent much of the EPL season comfortably overachieving in third place.
The manner in which Redknapp overshadows Tottenham is particularly clear in the current debate over his job. Already, Luka Modric has stated that he will not sign a new contract until Redknapp's status as Tottenham's coach next season is confirmed.
Modric's status will likely have a big impact on whether Bale and Adebayor decide to stick with the club as well, and will likely also impact how attractive the club is for major talents like Eden Hazard in the summer.
If Redknapp leaves, Tottenham could theoretically face an exodus of most of its top players, while the club could become regular title contenders if Redknapp stays. Rarely do you see a manager hold so much sway over the future success of a club. And if that isn't overshadowing a club, I don't know what is.
Louis Van Gaal
Louis van Gaal didn't completely overshadow Bayern Munich during his reign at the club, but he was certainly the man to praise when the club was excelling, and the man to criticize when the club wasn't.
Van Gaal's philosophy on coaching explains the role he played at Bayern during his two-year tenure with the club. Via FIFA.com: "The coach is the focal point of the team but you need to have an open mind, and so do all the players. Everyone needs to work together to achieve a common goal."
Munich have always been a big club in Germany, but it had been a while since the club had tasted success, as the appointment of Jurgen Klinsmann never quite panned out for Bayern.
Van Gaal fixed this for the German giants. Van Gaal was key in converting Bastian Schweinsteiger into one of the best midfielders in the world. He also helped bring in Thomas Mueller and Holger Badstuber, two of the club's finest products over the last decade.
Van Gaal's efforts led to a league and cup double in his first season, with only a Champions League final loss to Inter Milan denying Van Gaal a historic treble.
Van Gaal's second season was not quite so successful, as Arjen Robben struggled with injuries and Bayern Munich made a poor start to the Bundesliga season (2W-2D-3L). They were knocked out of the Champions League once again on away goals, and lost in the domestic cup semifinals versus rivals Schalke 04.
Van Gaal failed to go out on a high note with Bayern Munich, but he surely left his stamp on the German giants, and his products (Schweinsteiger, Badstuber, Mueller, Diego Contento) continue to act of evidence of his influence on the club.
Nowadays you can't mention the name of Arsenal without bringing up Arsene Wenger. The two are interconnected, and one hardly is discussed without the other.
Wenger doesn't boast as long of a history with Arsenal as Sir Alex Ferguson has with United, but his resume is nothing to scoff at either.
With three EPL titles and four FA Cups as Arsenal manager, plus the honor of going through an entire EPL season undefeated in 2003-04, Wenger is the most successful manager in Gunners history.
Wenger is currently experiencing a very tough time at the Emirates, with calls for him to be sacked coming on the regular from fans and media alike.
However, Arsenal's recent 5-2 win over Tottenham showed that he's still got it, and that the club may be able to achieve at least one of its objectives before the end of the season (fourth place).
They still must beat out Chelsea and Newcastle for the spot, but if they do so, Wenger will have survived another poor season and outdone expectations with a relatively weak Gunners team (in comparison to previous years).
We round out this list with the most modest manager—job-wise and personality-wise—on this list: David Moyes.
The work that Moyes has done with Everton in the EPL is simply remarkable.
Operating on a shoestring budget for much of his tenure, Moyes has achieved top-half EPL finishes with Everton in seven of his nine seasons with the club. After a rough start, he is on track to make that eight out of 10 now.
He's managed to bring in top-class talent on cheap transfers, with the likes of Tim Cahill, Mikel Arteta and Steven Pienaar joining on transfers worth around £2 million or less.
He's also managed to become one of only four EPL managers to reach 150 EPL wins in their career. The fact that he's also managed to take a modest club like Everton to the Champions League (in 2004-05) is also remarkable.
This season, purchases of guys like Darron Gibson from Manchester United, and bringing Landon Donovan and Steven Pienaar back to Everton on loan, have illustrated the continued genius and financial understanding of Moyes.
As long as Everton have Moyes, they can rest assured they are in safe hands—the hands of one of the greatest yet most modest managers to grace the EPL.