“It’s always time an English manager was given the chance, as far as I’m concerned Gary, or a British manager – there’s no doubt about that. And there’s not enough of us given the chance,” said Sam Allardyce on Match of the Day in 2017, before he was handed the Everton job.
Every month now we have to put up with one of these dinosaur managers moaning about how they can’t get a cushy Premier League job because of those darn talented foreign managers. But Sam, while you have been spouting out Brexit b*llocks on the radio, English managers have been given their chance and are thriving in the Football League.
Frank Lampard was surprisingly given his first job in football at Derby County this season, as a managerial novice and has performed brilliantly in his first campaign. He got his side back into the play-offs and beat Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds in a thrilling second leg at Elland Road to book the Rams’ place at Wembley against all the odds.
The former Chelsea manager must be praised for having the tactical nous to switch to a midfield diamond having suffered three consecutive defeats against Bielsa earlier in the season, including that defeat in the home game of the play-offs.
He will meet another talented English manager in the opposite dugout. No, not John Terry as Sky Sports would have you believe, but Dean Smith, the boyhood Villa fan who is just 90 minutes away from achieving the dream of leading his side to the top flight.
Smith cut his teeth at Walsall over four years before making the move to Brentford and made his name as one of the top managers in the division. Villa came calling with an offer that was too good to turn down and Smith has lead the Villains to their second consecutive play-off final. They will be hoping to climb the Wembley steps as victors this time around.
One English manager has already achieved promotion this season to the Premier League of course. You cannot praise Sheffield United’s Chris Wilder enough for the work he has done in the Football League over the past few decade, achieving three promotions in five years, one with Northampton before moving to the Blades and taking them from League One to the Premier League.
He was named LMA Championship Manager of the Year last week, which may seem harsh on Norwich’s Daniel Farke but it is a testament to the good work he has done. Elsewhere in the Football League a whole host of talented British managers are flourishing.
Nathan Jones was a revelation at Luton Town before moving onto Stoke and will surely be one to watch out for next season in the second tier. Danny Cowley will get the chance to test himself in League One with his Lincoln side after they won the League Two title while Welshman Michael Flynn will take his side to Wembley in the play-off final. Sol Campbell also deserves some praise for leading Macclesfield to safety during his first stint as a manager.
At the time of writing, with Yeovil, Oldham and Brighton and the hunt for new managers, but 66 out of the 89 managers in top four tiers are British. That includes 49 Englishmen, four Northern Irishmen, eights Scots and five Welshmen. That works out as a percentage of 74.1% across the top four tiers.
In fact, you could go as far as saying there has never been a better time to be an up-and-coming British manager. Ex-players are being given the chance to show what they can do and Chris Wilder and Frank Lampard are proving you can reach the Premier League, it just won’t be handed out to you on a plate.