If you ask football fans about the greatest modern day football managers, most will say Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola. Let’s start with Sir Alex. He managed an Aberdeen side in the Scottish league during the late 70’s and early 80’s. An Aberdeen side that had only won a single league title before he arrived. Aberdeen won the league in the ’79/80 season, putting a stop to the Rangers/Celtic dominance. They then won the European cup-winners-cup the next season, beating Bayern Munich and Real Madrid along the way. They won the league in ‘83/84 and the ‘84/85 season before moving on to a Manchester United side that weren’t the force they were to become. They had finished fourth, three seasons running. Under Fergie, they won 38 trophies. Sir Alex is one of, if not thee, greatest ever manager.
José “The Special One” Mourinho started out as a translator at Barcelona and then moved onto Porto in 2002. They finished fifth the previous season, so were by no means the top side. In 2003, Porto won the title by a massive 11 points, losing only 2 games along the way and they won it again in ’04 by eight points. In 2004, he led the side to the Champions League title too, defeating Monaco and Manchester United en route to the trophy. He did the same with Inter Milan when he took over in ’08. Inter were not the dominate side in the league, and ended up winning the league ’08/09 and ‘09/10 as well as the Champions League in ‘09/10.
Both Fergie and Mourinho have had average sides and have used their genius to make them world beating teams. Has Pep Guardiola done this? Has he proved he’s worthy of the “great manager” tag. I don’t believe so.
Pep was born and raised in Barcelona and is a local hero. He played for Barcelona youth side in 1983 and left the senior side in 2001 at the age of 30. Needless to say, after 17 years there, Pep was to Barcelona what Gerrard is to Liverpool and Giggs is to Manchester United. Pep played for a few clubs in his 30’s before getting the Managers job for Barcelona B for ONE season before taking over the first team job in 2008. The previous four seasons, Barcelona finished 1st, 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Pep inherited a side that included Valdes, Zambrotta, Puyol, Xavi, Yaya Toure, Iniesta, Messi, Eto’o, Deco, Ronaldinho and Henry. Now please….. tell me that your Nana couldn’t manage that side! That list there includes the greatest players on the planet. Yes, he won the league title in his first three seasons. I’m not saying he’s rubbish – I’m only asking how we know he’s great?
When Jake White left the Bok side to Peter de Villiers, it was a great side. Divvy rode the coat tails beautifully. Would you say he’s one of the greatest ever rugby coaches?
When Pep left Barcelona in 2012, he had already won a staggering 14 trophies in his four years at the club and had a 70% win record. Phenomenal, but I just don’t buy it.
He took his sabbatical from football in 2012 and returned in 2013. Which club did he decide to manage? Bayern Munich. Bayern have won three of the last five Bundesliga seasons, won the Champions League in 2012 and were runners up in the 2011 season. Pep could not have chosen an easier job if he had tried. Again, he has won the league in his first two seasons and has already amassed five trophies in two seasons, but as with Barcelona, he inherited a great side, a QUADRUPAL winning team – League, Champions league, DFB Pokal and DFL Super Cup winning team no less. A team consisting of players such as Neuer, Dante, Boateng, Lahm, Ribery, Martinez, Robben, Muller, Schweinsteiger, Kroos, Gomez and Mandzukic. Again – tell me your little niece couldn’t win the league with these players. In 2012 this side broke or equalled 30 records! Pep walked into this record breaking team. Watching his Munich side’s tactics against Barcelona in this year’s Champions League Semi final did nothing for me. Trying to man mark that Barcelona side will not work – It was terrible tactics and he stuck to it. When they were conceding goals, he never went to a Plan B. And that is why Barcelona are in the final, and Munich are not.
His win record at Munich is also over 70%, but that still means nothing to me. Until Pep Guardiola takes a side like Porto to the Champions league title, or wins the league with a mid/top 7 side in the league, I find it very hard to rate him highly in the managerial stakes. To me, he’s still that kid running a successful multi-million Rand business, but his dad gave him the MD position at the age of 18 when he left school.
Come on Pep, prove me wrong, and take over at Spurs.