Managing a football team requires a diverse array of talents and a substantial knowledge of the game apart from having management savvy in all other related areas such as being tactically astute, being able to work individually with all manners of players from the world-beating incredibly talented ones to the juniors still logging in match time at club academies – all with varying skills levels, hailing from different countries and diverse backgrounds.
The best managers know how to motivate, incourage and inspire them. Then there’s also the need to discipline them when the errant ones occasionally step out of line. Their instructions need to be communicated effectively, and they must also be instively wired to observe, monitor and anticipate the physical and psychological condition of their players. Also, of special importance is a manager’s ability to make intelligent substitutions and tactical changes during matches.
As a prerequisite, managers need to earn the respect of their players by leading them competently. Many talented tacticians fail because they don’t have the authority to lead. It takes a special kind of individual to be both an artist and a drill sergeant.
In an age when the less driven managers are content with just popping ten men behind the ball and settle for a draw, an actual decent Premier League wins records is becoming as rare as an Olivier Giroud goal these days.
Now in it’s 26th season, there have been countless managers of all comportments in the Premier League dugouts at any point over the past two-and-a-half decades. Here is a look at the five managers with the best win records in the top tier.
Jose Mourinho – 200 wins.
Respect is certainly due this gentleman to be fair to the controversial Portuguese as it’s a record worthy of reverence. 200 wins, woth the latest accruing from the 1-0 win over Everton is a top class record from a man who tore up the league when he first came to Chelsea back in 2004. In his prime this was the man to get to you impenetreable and rock solid at the back, disciplined in the centre of the park and deadly on the counter. In short, there were not many better.
Three times a Premier League Champion and revered by so many of his ex players, it is only too easy to dismiss Mourinho due to his recent histrionics at Manchester United that got him removed, and quickly replaced by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Despite his unpopularity it should never be forgotten that ’The Special One,’ has been undeniably one of the most talented coaches the top flight has ever seen.
David Moyes – 204 wins
One of Jose Mourinho’s Old Trafford predecessors, David Moyes ranks ahead of some pretty huge, successful names in the history of this division with an eye-brow raising 204 wins as a Premier League manager.
Moyes’ record with Everton was very impressive and definitely one worthy of mention, having taken over at a time when they looked dead certain for the drop after years of serious decline. His fourth place finish in 2003-2004 was a staggering achievement although one can’t help but feel that his stint at the Toffees dragged on for a little longer than it should have. Had he have left sooner and gone to a club more capable of winning major honours, it maybe could have stood him in better stead for his ill-fated, or ill-timed, sojourn at Manchester United in 2013-2014.
Currently seeking a job, it wouldn’t be prudent to bet against him resurfacing somewhere in the Premier League again this season.
Harry Redknapp – 236 wins
Good old ‘Arry Redknapp’ ambles in to join this list with the third highest number of wins in the Premier League. Not unlike Moyes, he is quite a bit ahead of some serious names though often dismissed as a bit of a jovial, harmless figure.
Not to be deceived by his lackadaisical, easy-going manner, Redknapp’s sides, by and large, have played some pretty decent football as he was one of the few British managers dedicated to attacking football. His peak years coincided with the likes of Big Sam, Steve Bruce and Tony Pulis’ dogmatic, albeit admittedly hideous, defensive approach to football. Harry flew the flag for decent, expansive football and ground out 236 wins in the process.
Impressive spells at West Ham, Portsmouth and Spurs, plus eight Manager of the Month awards seeing him as a true legend of the league and best ranked Englishman to date.
Arsene Wenger – 476 wins
To begin, certainly fewer men have done more to radically change the face of domestic football in this country than the notable French import, Arsene Wenger. His record of 476 wins is only a smaller reflection of his incredible workaachievements, philosophy and style in North London.
The football played by Arsenal was unquestionably ground-breaking in the late nineties and many a side was blown to smithereens as Wenger’s team often easily won with style and flair. The Frenchman’s revolution is arguably the most important landmark in the history of the Premier League.
The only blimp in Wenger’s track record is possibly the possible tainting of his reputation in the recent lingering years, to the extent that even he must have harboured doubts about staying on despite the tirade of gripes and abuse he received. However, when all said and done, he is second on this list, three times a Premier League Champion, plus three times a Manager of Season winner. All of that, plus he achieved a season unbeaten in the league which is unlikely ever to be matched.
Sir Alex Ferguson – 528 wins
Despite there being no prizes being given out for guessing who was going to come out top of this list, full fanfare and a grand standing ovation must most certainly be accorded to Sir Alex Ferguson for his incomparable, mind-boggling record of matches won that is unlikely ever to be attained again in the history of professional football. 528 games won in twenty-one seasons equates to an average of about twenty-five wins per campaign. It is little wonder then that he easily canteed to thirteen titles between 1993 and 2013.
The fiery, indomitable Scot instilled a grizzled determination to win in all of his United sides. It wasn’t necessarily that they always the best and easiest sides on the eye yet could never count out a United side with Ferguson at the helm. Even hampered with a two-goal disadvantage, the last ten minutes against his team’s were often excruciatingly painful affairs for the leading side as the final outcome would turn in favor of Fergie’s sides.
His players also had to adapt to the lofty standards he always consistently and persistently insisted on both on and off the pitch. If your mentality wasn’t right, you were likely to not last five minutes under the unwilting gaze of Ferguson. He left United as the undisputed and most iconic doyen of global football in 2013. Although every other manager would have breathed a private sigh of relief in May of that year, they will all continue to labor on in his looming shadow for years to come.