Soccer – UEFA Champions League – Qualifying – Play Off – Second Leg – Arsenal v Besiktas – Emirates Stadium

Sh*t Player, Great Manager – 5 of The Best

Jimmy Floyd-Hasselbaink got off to a winning start as Burton Albion manager earlier this week, as he strives to become the latest formerly successful footballer to make it in management.
But is a successful playing career a pre-requisite for prospering as a manager? Not really, there’s hope for all us Football Manager addicts yet.

Arrigo Sacchi
Silvio Berlusconi's 25 years as president of AC Milan
Saachi juggled an amateur playing career with a job as a shoe salesman before coaching with a number of Italian clubs’ youth teams. When asked about his credentials as a football manager, having never played professionally, he retorted that he “never realized that in order to become a jockey you have to have been a horse first”.

He started out at Parma, before getting a chance at AC Milan. While there, he revolutionised tactics in Italy, introducing zonal pressing in favour of traditional man-marking.

He also helped build one of the most successful club sides ever, winning two back-to-back European Cup titles with the likes of Ruud Gullit, Marco van Basten, Paolo Maldini and Franco Baresi.

He later led Italy to a World Cup final in 1994.

Carlos Alberto Parreira
Brazil Soccer
Sacchi’s Italy were beaten in that final on penalties by Carlos Alberto Parreira’s Brazil.

Parreira never played professionally but started out his career as fitness coach at São Cristóvão. However, he got his break coaching Kuwait’s youth sides, eventually managing their senior side at the 1982 World Cup.

He went on to win the league title with his beloved Fluminense in his homeland, and has managed five different nations at World Cup finals.

Gerard Houllier
Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Aston Villa v Newcastle United - Villa Park
The Frenchman was a schoolteacher, while completing his degree in English, until the age of 26 when he became player-manager of amateur side Le Touquet.

He worked his way up the divisions in France before landing his first big job as manager of Paris Saint-Germain. There, he won the league before taking over firstly as national team boss, then technical director.

He went on to win a domestic cup and UEFA Cup treble with Liverpool in 2001, before guiding Lyon to two league titles.

Arsene Wenger
Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Swansea City v Arsenal - Liberty Stadium
As a youngster Wenger played for a number of French amateur sides, whom he took upon himself to manage due to a lack of resources. He continued his studies in medicine, politics and economics before joining Ligue 2 club Cannes as assistant-manager as a 34-year-old.

Such was his impression at Cannes that Michel Platini’s father recommended him as manager to Nancy just a year later. He then joined Monaco, where he won the league in his debut season with the likes of Englishmen Glenn Hoddle and Mark Hateley in his side.

At one stage he was wanted as manager of Bayern Munich but stayed with Monaco, who sacked him in 1994.

He spent 18 months managing in Japan before joining Arsenal to questions of “Arsene who?”. The rest is history.

Bill Struth
Scottish Soccer - League Division One - Rangers
Most readers won’t be old enough to remember Struth’s lengthy spell as manager of Glasgow Rangers.

He was a stonemason by trade but, having excelled in middle-distance running, he joined Hearts as a trainer. He soon moved to Rangers as assistant boss before taking over the reins as manager.

His spell in charge lasted an incredible 34 years, from 1920 to 1954, when he won 73 trophies, including 18 league championships and ten Scottish Cups. The main stand at Ibrox is now named in his honour.