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7 legendary coaches who did not have great playing careers

Elvis Ume O
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Mourinho enjoyed a lot of success as a manager, but not as a player
Mourinho enjoyed a lot of success as a manager, but not as a player

Managers are seen by many as the most integral part to a team's fortunes, as despite the players getting all the accolades and recognition, it is actually the men in the dugouts who are most responsible for providing the tactics and style of play which would help their various teams to victory.

Often underappreciated for their successes, managers are usually the first to go when results are poor, while also having to receive pressure from the press and fans over who should and should not be included in the starting lineups. 

Players often tow one of two paths upon retirement from football, either going into punditry or taking their managerial bow, with most preferring the former option, as it gives them the leeway of sitting in armchairs and criticising the work of others without having to experience the pressure themselves.

For those who venture into coaching, they often find out that those instructions from their managers which they saw as a piece of cake are actually harder than they previously thought (just ask Gary Neville or Thierry Henry) and struggle to come to grips with the realities of being a top level football manager.

It is a well-established fact that great players do not necessarily become great managers and even though there are a few examples of legendary players who went on to achieve great successes as coaches such as Johan Cruyff, Carlo Ancelotti, Pep Guardiola, Zinedine Zidane, among others, there are also numerous other examples of those who failed spectacularly on the bench. 

History is littered with men who made an impact from the dugout without having done much on the field and these men are the subject of this piece.

In this slideshow, we present seven legendary coaches who did not have great playing careers.

Honourable mentions - Andre Villas-Boas, Julian Nagelsmann, Thomas Tuchel.

#7 Bill Struth

The man to whom Rangers owe much of its success. The late Struth arrived at Rangers in 1914 as assistant manager but took up the main role in 1920 when the club's first ever manager William Wilton tragically died in a boating accident.


With Struth at the helm, 'Gers' won 14 of the next 19 Scottish league titles before the second world war, including five in a row between 1927 and 1931. He also helped the club break its 25-year hoodoo in search of a Cup triumph when he lifted the Scottish Cup in 1928, thereby having the distinction of being the first man in Scottish history to lift the double (going one further by doing a domestic treble in 1949).

Struth passed on in 1956 aged 81 having won a total of 30 major honours in his managerial career (a total of 73 unofficial) making him one of the most decorated managers in footballing history. 

Remarkably, Struth did not have even the slightest bit of a professional footballing career, having been a stonemason for most of his adult life, in addition to being a professional runner.

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