Chris O (follow on Twitter: @COakleyFtbl)
Thu 16 February 2012

England Managers: The clubs they left behind (Part 2)

As discussed in Part 1, the effect of a departing club manager enticed by a tilt at the England job can often be detrimental to the club itself. There are always exceptions to the rule, of course, and one of them occurred when Terry Venables stepped down after Euro 96.

Chelsea and Glenn Hoddle

Three years before Glenn Hoddle arrived at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea had finished fifth in the old First Division table. Under Bobby Campbell, The Blues had achieved their highest end-of-season placing since 1970 and won the Full Members Cup, but a slide towards mid-table mediocrity set in soon after. Once Ian Porterfield and David Webb had tried and failed to get the club back to the top end of the table, the task fell to the 35-year-old Hoddle who had recently taken Swindon Town up into the top flight.

The hallmark of Hoddle's reign as Chelsea manager was that of good cup form but non-achievement in the league. The mid-table standard that had set in before his arrival was maintained as the former England midfielder guided Chelsea through their first few Premier League campaigns. Elsewhere, the team reached the 1994 FA Cup Final, the semi-finals of the 1994/95 European Cup-Winners Cup (eliminated by eventual winners Real Zaragoza) and the semi-finals of the 1995/96 FA Cup, but ultimately silverware remained elusive.

Under Glenn Hoddle, Chelsea had showed signs of improvement as he brought in more and more quality players to strengthen the squad. After he resigned to become England national team manager in May 1996, that gradual upward curve actually became more steeper as first Ruud Gullit, then Gianluca Vialli and Claudio Ranieri built on the foundations laid down by Hoddle. Chelsea had cast off their reputation as a middling, average team and in a trice were transformed into a regular challenger for domestic trophies and Premier League heavyweights.



Glenn Hoddle's period in charge of Chelsea shown in grey.

* (Click graph for bigger version.)

Fulham and Kevin Keegan

If Chelsea had gone up a gear in the post-Hoddle period, Fulham must have gone up several after Kevin Keegan left. To be fair, Keegan only spent 20 months at Craven Cottage and the first eight of those were as Chief Operating Officer, but it was at least the spell that saw Fulham blast off from third-tier insignificance on their way to Premier League orbit.

Fulham ended the 1995-96 season eight places off the bottom of the entire Football League – their lowest ever finish. Micky Adams began the recovery process by getting The Cottagers promoted the following season but the arrival of new owner Mohamed Al-Fayed in the summer of 1997 saw a new management team brought in to continue Adams' work.

Initially a combination of Kevin Keegan acting as a 'Director of Football' and Ray Wilkins dealing with team training, the pairing was pared down a year later to allow Keegan full control of management duties. Fulham had just lost out in the 1997/98 promotion play-offs, but the former Liverpool and England striker made up for that in 1998/99 by guiding Fulham to the Second Division title, accumulating an impressive 101 points along the way.

By this time, Keegan had already been named as the new England manager, officially succeeding Glenn Hoddle in February 1999. Yet it wasn't until the end of the season that he finally said goodbye to Fulham, and though he went on to give a brief shot in the arm to England's fortunes, it could be said that he missed out on his old club's magnificent rise to greatness.

Under Paul Bracewell and subsequently Jean Tigana, Fulham took just two seasons to reach the Premier League. They'd done so only five years after finishing 85th out of 92 league teams and since then have established themselves very much as part of the Premier League furniture. Would Fulham have done so well with Keegan still at the helm?  That is a matter for some debate.



Glenn Hoddle's period in charge of Chelsea shown in grey. *

Lazio and Sven-Göran Eriksson

A double-dip regression - that's what Lazio experienced in Serie A after Sven-Göran Eriksson took the England manager's job in January 2001.

Looking to replicate the success he'd experienced at Benfica in particular, Eriksson chose Lazio as the third Italian club on his CV in the summer of 1997. Having been frustrated not to have won more at Sampdoria and Roma, he finally found the magic touch by eventually steering the Biancocelesti to a league runners-up spot in 1998/99 and the Serie A title the season after that.

A raft of other silverware also arrived during Sven's reign: a UEFA European Cup-Winners' Cup and Super Cup win in 1999, two Coppa Italias and two Italian Super Cups all reinforced the belief that the Swede had what it took to bring success to a team, and it was hardly a surprise that the English FA put his name at the top of their list once Kevin Keegan had resigned towards the end of 2000.

Lazio finished the 2001/02 season sixth in Serie A having seen Dino Zoff and latterly Alberto Zaccheroni fail to maintain Eriksson's high standards. An improved finish of fourth the season after suggested improved fortunes were back on the agenda, but four seasons further on, Lazio ended their 2005/06 campaign in 16th position - mainly, but not exclusively due to their involvement in the 2006 Calciopoli scandal. Only very recently have the Roman club shown anything like a return to former glories.



Sven-Göran Eriksson's period in charge of Lazio shown in grey. *

Middlesbrough and Steve McClaren

There is no doubt that Steve McClaren, for all the criticism he received from Middlesbrough fans and neutrals alike, worked wonders at the Teeside club. True enough, their league form during this time wasn't much to write home about - Boro finished mid-table in the Premier League for all but one of his six seasons there - but their achievements away from the league, plus the fortunes of the club after he left, show he had a genuinely positive effect at the Riverside Stadium.

As with Glenn Hoddle at Chelsea, it was the cup competitions that McClaren found joy in. An FA Cup semi-final appearance in his first season, 2001/02, was bettered the season after when Middlesbrough won the League Cup. It meant Boro had a European campaign to negotiate for the first time in their history and to McClaren's credit they got to the last 16 of the UEFA Cup, knocked out finally by eventual runners-up Sporting Lisbon.

Before the Yorkshireman left for Soho Square, he guided Middlesbrough to one more FA Cup semi-final plus the UEFA Cup final where Sevilla handed out a 4-0 thumping, but this was uncharted territory for Boro fans everywhere and all too fleeting at that. Two seasons of consolidation arrived under the management of Gareth Southgate while a third saw the club relegated to the Championship. Tony Mowbray currently has the job of trying to turn the clock back and returning Middlesbrough to the Premier League and winning ways again.



Steve McClaren's period in charge of Middlesbrough shown in grey. *

Real Madrid and Fabio Capello

The most recent England manager wasn't at Real Madrid very long - at least not in his second spell at the Bernabeu. Brought in to arrest an extended trophyless run in July 2006, he was out of the door again eleven months later and had a further six months to wait before his first England press conference.

At Real, his remit was simple: win the La Liga title, the Champions League or both. By Spring 2007, Real were already eliminated from the latter and the pressure started to grow on the experienced Italian, but that wasn't the end of the story. In the latter stages of the 2006/07 season, Capello turned things around as Madrid not only closed the sizeable points gap with leaders Barcelona but also overtook them. A La Liga title that at one point looked unlikely was Real Madrid's eventual reward, yet it was not enough for Capello to keep his job. He was relieved of his duties at the end of June 2007.

Since then, Real have remained more or less on a par with the side Capello managed, winning one or two trophies but missing out on others. In the league, they won the Spanish championship the season after he left, but have played second fiddle to their bitter rivals Barcelona ever since.



Fabio Capello's period in charge of Real Madrid shown in grey. *

Summary
So there it is. We've looked at nine England managers and assessed the fortunes of the clubs they left behind. In five cases, it can be said that those clubs were worse off after the event. Aston Villa and Real Madrid carried on much the same after Graham Taylor and Fabio Capello left respectively, while Chelsea and Fulham went on to better things in the absence of Glenn Hoddle and Kevin Keegan.

If Harry Redknapp does get the nod in time for Euro 2012, Tottenham fans had better hope he shares a lot in common with Hoddle and Keegan's style of management.

Share your thoughts with us on this:

Give us your wisdom - post a comment
Most recent posts
Copyright © 2003 - 2014 Football Fairground, Some People Are On The Pitch, The Onion Bag