When Managers Were Players

Posted on 20 Jul, 2011, by in Featured

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At 33, John Terry knows he doesn’t have tons of time left to his playing career. He spoke of his aim and hope to become a manager, hopefully at Chelsea after he retires, replacing Andre Villas-Boas.
We hopped on the opportunity to check out the playing careers of all 20 managers in the English Premier League to start the season. No one, no one gets close to Kenny Dalglish’s career.

Arsene Wenger, Arsenal

The Arsenal manager since 1996 had a modest playing career, mostly spending his time with amateur clubs. He was getting his degree meanwhile at the university of Strasbourg. Wenger became a professional in 1978, making only 12 appearances for the team in three seasons. He did win the 1979 title with them. In 1981 he became the youth team’s coach, beginning his managerial career.

Alex McLeish, Aston Villa

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The newly appointed Aston Villa manager played for almost his entire career with Aberdeen (1978-1994), during the clubs most successful period under Alex Ferguson. McLeish, partnering with Willie Miller in the centre of defense, was capped 77 times for Scotland, won three league titles in Scotland and the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1983.

Steve Kean, Blackburn

Another Scottish manager, Kean did begin his career with Celtic but never got a chance there. The winger moved on from small club to small club, spending three years in Portugal with Academica Coimbra. He retired in 1994 after nine years of low level football.

Owen Coyle, Bolton

The Scottish striker spent over 20 years as a player, never staying too long in one place. Coyle scored 249 goals in 669 appearances, mostly for Scottish teams. He spent a couple of seasons with Bolton during the mid 90’s. Coyle actually played one cap for Ireland due to his Irish heritage.

Andre Villas-Boas, Chelsea

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Never a player actually. Guided by Bobby Robson from his teenage days, Villas-Boas seemed destined to coach from day 1, getting his UEFA coaching license at the age of 17.

David Moyes, Everton

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Scotland, again. David Moyes has been Everton’s manager since 2002, his second team in his managerial career. He began managing four years earlier at Preston, his last team during his playing tour. The Centre back began his career with Celtic but soon went on a long journey among plenty of teams, finishing it with a 7 year spell with Preston North End.

Martin Jol, Fulham

The newly appointed Fulham manager, Martin Jol is making his return to the Premier League after managing Tottenham between 2004-2007. As a player, Jol played in the midfield, mostly in the Netherlands with ADO. He also had a short spell with Bayern Munich, West Brom and Coventry. He won three caps for the Dutch national side in 1980.

Kenny Dalglish, Liverpool

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A legend as both manager and player, Dalglish’s return to the helm with Liverpool showed hints of a great potential for future success, along with plenty of cash brought in by the new American owners. As a player, Dalglish played for Celtic and Liverpool, winning four league titles in Scotland, six league titles with Liverpool and three European Cups. He scored 336 goals in 823 matches and was capped 102 (most ever for Scotland) times for Scotland, scoring 30 goals.

Roberto Mancini, Manchester City

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A player from 1981 to 2001, Roberto Mancini spent the bulk of his career (over 15 years) with Sampdoria, scoring 132 goals in 424 matches. He was also capped 36 times for Italy. He won two Serie A titles with Sampdoria and Lazio and the Cup Winners’ Cup with Samp in 1990.

Alex Ferguson, Manchester United

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The greatest manager of all time? Not unlikely, but as a player Alex Ferguson was less brilliant. Playing between 1957-1974, Ferguson finished his career with 170 goals playing with six different club in Scotland, including Rangers.

Alan Pardew, Newcastle

The Newcastle manager who took over for Chris Hughton last season had a rather lackluster playing career stretching on for 18 years with clubs such as Dulwich Hamlet and Epsom & Ewell. He did reach the FA Cup Final in 1990 playing for Crystal Palace.

Paul Lambert, Norwich City

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Capped 40 times for Scotland (yes, another Scottish manager), Lambert played for Borrusia Dortmund during their mid 90’s glory days, part of the Champions League winning side in 1997, playing in the final against Juventus. Later on he played for Celtic, spending 8 seasons with the club, winning four league titles.

Neil Warnock, QPR

A rarity these days – An English manager. Warnock has been managing small club since 1980, and his playing career of 11 years also was spent on lets say, clubs that lacked flair and flash, never spending more than a couple of years with each club.

Tony Pulis, Stoke City

Somehow, with gritty and sometimes violent football, Pulis has kept Stoke City in the Premier League these past three seasons. During his 17 year career as a player (unremarkable) Pulis never spent too long in one place except for his first club, Bristol Rovers, where he played for six seasons.

Steve Bruce, Sunderland

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Manager of Sunderland since 2009 and managing clubs since 1998, Steve Bruce was partnered with Gary Pallister during Manchester United’s start of their domination in the Premier League. He played over 300 games for United, winning three league titles. In his playing career, spanning 20 seasons, Bruce played in over 700 matches.

Brendan Rodgers, Swansea

The Norther Irish manager is one of the league’s youngest managers at 38, getting his first managerial job less than three years ago. He retired from his playing career at the age of 20 due to an injury.

Harry Redknapp, Tottenham

Way before Redknapp was busy all day trying to keep Luka Modric at his club while the little Croatian clearly wants out, Harry played in the midfield for a number of teams between 1965-1982. He spent the first half of his career with West Ham and finished his career in the United States, with the first incarnation of the Seattle Sounders.

Roy Hodgson, West Bromwich Albion

Another veteran Englishman, Hodgson has hardly anything to be proud of from his playing days – He did start out at Crystal Palace, but never broke through to the first team. The rest was just non-league football before beginning his managerial career in 1976.

Roberto Martinez, Wigan

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The Spanish manager did begin his playing career in Zaragoza but very quickly left Spain for the sunny shores of the UK. He playd with Wigan for six seasons and also later for Motherwell, Swansea and other teams.

Mick McCarthy, Wolves

The very loud and never sitting down Wolves manager was an International for the Irish national side, playing in the 1988 Euro and the 1990 World Cup. He was also the player who committed the most fouls in the 1990 World Cup. Charlton played for five clubs during his career, most notably Manchester City and Celtic.