Is English management set for a renaissance? Three homegrown bosses take to the technical area for the first time in new Premier League roles this weekend as the top-flight of the nation’s football gives a few of its own a chance.
That’s what some will have you believe, at least. But as Steven Gerrard, Dean Smith and Eddie Howe begin life in charge of Aston Villa, Norwich City and Newcastle United respectively, there comes the realisation that two of them are replacing fellow Anglian managers and Howe is already the third-longest-serving English boss in the Premier League by virtue of having been in the post for 10 days.
So what does it take for the Premier League’s great teams to give a homegrown head coach a go? Who has gone the longest without appointing an English manager? And which boss can claim to have been the last from his homeland for more than one top-flight outfit?
The Current English Managers
1. Sean Dyche – Burnley – 3307 days in charge
With nearly 10 years of service under his belt, Dyche has two promotions under his belt, including one as Championship winners in 2016. Since then he has consolidated the Clarets in the top flight, with this being the club’s longest such run since the 1960s.
2. Graham Potter – Brighton & Hove Albion – 914 days in charge
Potter was left to take the long road to Premier League management, spending more than seven years with Ostersunds in Sweden before being given a go by Swansea City in the Championship in 2018-19. After a decent season, he was appointed by Brighton to replace Chris Hughton.
3. Eddie Howe – Newcastle United – 11 days in charge
Having spent over a year out of the game after leaving Bournemouth, the much-respected Howe returns to the Premier League as part of the new Saudi-backed project at Newcastle. While the job at St James’ Park is a daunting one given the lack of points under their belts so far, the 43-year-old has the chance to build quite the platform.
4. Steven Gerrard – Aston Villa – 8 days in charge
After leading Rangers to a first Scottish Premiership title post-liquidation, Gerrard has been handed a first chance in the Premier League in place of the sacked Dean Smith. Many have tipped the former Liverpool midfielder for the Reds’ hot-seat in years to come if he progresses well at Villa Park.
5. Dean Smith – Norwich City – 4 days in charge
It took Dean Smith only eight days to get back into work after his departure from Aston Villa, taking over from Daniel Farke as Norwich City manager this week. With the Canaries sitting at the bottom of the table, Smith has a big job on to buck the recent trend of them making immediate returns to the Championship.
The Clubs Who Have Looked Elsewhere
6. Crystal Palace – 180 days and one appointment since last English manager (Roy Hodgson)
Patrick Vieira took the reins at Selhurst Park in the summer of 2021 after Roy Hodgson’s four-year spell was brought to an end.
7. Chelsea – 298 days, one appointment (Frank Lampard)
There is split opinion on the legacy left by Frank Lampard following his 18 months in charge at Stamford Bridge, with some identifying the flaws which led to his sacking but others crediting him for the groundwork laid ahead of the 2021 Champions League success under Thomas Tuchel.
8. Watford – 488 days, three appointments (Nigel Pearson)
There’s no such thing as a long-term future at Watford if you’re in the management game, with Vladimir Ivic, Xisco Munoz and Claudio Ranieri having all been entrusted with the reins since Nigel Pearson was sent packing in July 2020 despite giving them a great shot at safety.
9. Brentford – 1136 days, one appointment (Dean Smith)
Thomas Frank has done one hell of a job in west London, but it was Dean Smith’s departure for Aston Villa which gave him the chance in the first place. The lifelong Villa fan had been a huge success at Griffin Park prior to the change of guard.
10. Leeds United – 1267 days, one appointment (Paul Heckingbottom)
There was a revolving door fitted to the manager’s office at Elland Road prior to Marcelo Bielsa’s appointment in 2018, with Paul Heckingbottom the last of a long line of short-term leaders at Leeds. The former Barnsley manager lasted less than four months, but he was by no means an outlier.
11. Everton – 1283 days, three appointments (Sam Allardyce)
By late-2017, Sam Allardyce’s reputation as the ultimate managerial firefighter was safe and secure. Having kept up Sunderland and Crystal Palace either side of his ill-fated England appointment, Everton were next to call on ‘Big Sam’, but it would be another short-term gig before Marco Silva, Carlo Ancelotti and latterly Rafa Benitez took up home in the Goodison hot-seat.
12. Leicester City – 1494 days, two appointments (Craig Shakespeare)
Following on from a title-winning manager is never easy, and Craig Shakespeare didn’t last long as Leicester City boss. Having led them in their Champions League quarter-final defeat to Atletico Madrid in April 2017, he was replaced by Claude Puel six months later and Brendan Rodgers has since won an FA Cup at the King Power.
13. West Ham United – 2371 days, four appointments (Sam Allardyce)
Here’s Sam again, but this was one of his longer roles. He was Hammers boss for four seasons before his 2015 exit, with Slaven Bilic taking his place. Since those days, the east London side have twice appointed David Moyes, either side of Manuel Pellegrini’s one-year run in the job.
14. Tottenham Hotspur – 2747 days, four appointments (Tim Sherwood)
Spurs have had their ups and downs since Tim Sherwood left his post at White Hart Lane, with Mauricio Pochettino having led them so close to Champions League glory in 2019. After the Argentine was fired in favour of Jose Mourinho, Nuno Espirito Santo and Antonio Conte have since been given the chance to emulate Pochettino’s record.
15. Southampton – 3227 days, six appointments (Nigel Adkins)
Incumbent manager Ralph Hasenhuttl is far from the first foreign appointment the Saints have turned to in recent years. Not since Nigel Adkins was fired just eight months after their 2012 promotion to the Premier League have they been led by an Englishman, with Mauricio Pochettino, Ronald Koeman, Claude Puel, Mauricio Pellegrino and Mark Hughes all getting the permanent gig prior to Hasenhuttl.
16. Wolverhampton Wanderers – 3428 days, seven appointments (Terry Connor)
Terry Connor was handed the Wolves job until the end of the season after Mick McCarthy’s exit in February 2012, but he was relieved of his position that summer and it has been a mixed bag of imports and Brits since then. Stale Solbakken, Dean Saunders, Kenny Jackett, Walter Zenga and Paul Lambert all managed them outside the top flight, then Nuno Espirito Santo took them up and Bruno Lage was appointed this summer.
17. Liverpool – 3968 days, three appointments (Roy Hodgson)
It was an ill-fated appointment of Roy Hodgson that preceded Kenny Dalglish’s second spell in charge at Anfield in 2011, with Brendan Rodgers then taking them close to the Premier League title in 2014 and Jurgen Klopp getting the long-awaited job done in 2020. Steven Gerrard is widely tipped to eventually become their first English boss in over a decade.
18. Manchester City – 5303 days, five appointments (Stuart Pearce)
When Stuart Pearce departed the City of Manchester Stadium in May 2007, nobody could have predicted what would await the blue side of town. Sven-Goran Eriksson’s season under Thaksin Shinawatra was one thing, but the new revolution has seen Mark Hughes, Roberto Mancini, Manuel Pellegrini and, brilliantly, Pep Guardiola take City to increasingly-uncharted territory.
19. Manchester United – 12,797 days, five appointments (Ron Atkinson)
November 6, 1986 was a monumental day in English football history as Ron Atkinson was sacked by Manchester United and replaced by a certain Alex Ferguson. History followed, and even post-Sir Alex it has been a Scotsman (David Moyes), a Dutchman (Louis van Gaal), a Portuguese (Jose Mourinho) and a Norwegian (Ole Gunnar Solskjaer) who have led England’s biggest club.
20. Arsenal – 13,026 days, five appointments (Don Howe)
The late, great Don Howe’s resignation on March 22, 1986 marks the last time Arsenal had a permanent English manager. He was replaced by George Graham, who was then succeeded by a fellow Scot in Bruce Rioch, albeit Rioch was born in Aldershot. A Monsieur Arsene Wenger was next in the hot-seat, and he was succeeded 22 years later by Unai Emery. Current boss Mikel Arteta is a fifth non-English appointment since Howe left more than 35 years ago.