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Five greatest managers who never played professional football

Modified 01 Nov 2013, 10:01 IST
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There are those who say that you can’t cut it as a football manager, if you have never played professional football. Whilst it is true that you learn an awful lot from playing, there is nothing stopping you from learning all of that by just observing and being a spectator. So, this article includes the top five managers who have never played professional football.

The moment anybody says managers who have never played football, Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger are usually one of the first couple of names anyone comes up with. But, on a closer inspection, I found out that both of them had actually played professional football. And although they weren’t successful, the fact that they have, rules them out of this list.

Another person who misses out is Andre Villas-Boas, who although hasn’t played professional football, can’t really be classified amongst the other five managers on the list, as he has only been managing professional for a few years. Without a doubt, before long, he will join this list, but for now, he misses out.

So, here is the list of the five greatest managers, to have never played professional football.

5. Gerard Houllier (Teacher)

Gerard Houllier

Not many can claim to have won the Ligue 1 with two different clubs. Gerard Houllier did just that when won three Ligue 1 titles, his first with PSG in 85/86 and his second with Lyon two decades later in 05/06, the third followed the very next year. In England, few Liverpool fans could forget the 2000/01 season in which he won the cup treble by winning the FA Cup, League Cup and the UEFA Cup.

But, not many know that he started his life pursuing a degree in English, but had to drop out and work as a school teacher due to his father’s illness. He eventually completed his degree part-time and it was as a part of his degree, that he spent a year at the Alsop Comprehensive School, Liverpool in 1969–1970 as an Assistant, during which time he watched his first Liverpool match. He then went onto serve as a deputy headmaster of the École Normale d’Arras until he turned 26. And it was only in 1973 that he began his full-time managerial career as player-manager of Le Touquet. Although he played for the local amateur side, he never had what it took to be a pro, but he took to management instead, and turned out just fine.

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Published 01 Nov 2013, 10:01 IST
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