They’ve tweaked, tinkered, engineered and evolved football for decades – often, with its shiniest prizes awaiting them at the end.
Now, it’s time to honour these trailblazers. Presenting FFT’s list of the finest football managers in history...
100. Roy Hodgson
Hodgson’s career reads like a crazed Football Manager save: eight countries, 20 outposts, and challenges ranging from the Swedish second division to European finals.
Five consecutive titles with Malmo launched him, and his innovations left a legacy across Scandinavia. Although Hodgson notably stumbled at Liverpool, he performed miracles with the likes of Switzerland and FC Copenhagen and even got Inter back on track.
But his greatest hour came at Fulham, who he miraculously saved from the drop before guiding them to the Europa League final following a shock seventh-place finish.
99. Fatih Terim
As a player, Terim was a wily defender, and as a manager his teams have been largely the same.
‘The Emperor’ has coached Turkey on three occasions – guiding them to the semi-finals of Euro 2008 – and Galatasaray on four, instilling a hard-running, hard-tackling style best on show in his Gala sides that won four consecutive league titles from 1997-2000, as well as the UEFA Cup final against Arsenal.
“He’s extraordinary,” former charge Gheorghe Hagi once gushed. “He could coach any side.”
98. Vaclav Jezek
Taking charge of Sparta Prague back in 1964, Jezek introduced an aesthetic style of play that swept all before it in Czechoslovakia, then took on the national team.
He moulded the Czechs into his image and watched as his country shocked the world champions, West Germany, at Euro 76.
Antonin Panenka’s iconic spot-kick won it, but the blend of brawn and grace, woven from the fabric of great Eastern European sides gone by, was all Jezek’s doing.
97. Roberto Mancini
As a youngster at Bologna, Mancini demanded to take every corner, free-kick and penalty. If coaches resisted, he’d walk off.
similarly uncompromising approach in management, ever since cutting short a 2001 loan spell at Leicester to take his first job with Fiorentina, has earned Mancini six domestic cups and four league titles, including Manchester City’s first in 44 years. He’s now overseeing the longest winning streak in Italian national team history.
96. Gerard Houllier
“When I go to Liverpool, I’m surprised people are so nice to me,” said Houllier in 2019.
Why the Frenchman thinks any Red would dishonour the man who delivered a cup treble in 2001 is a head-scratcher; although Houllier couldn’t land a league title on Merseyside, he restored silverware at Anfield after a six-year hiatus.
Before that, he had won PSG their first league crown in 1986, and while his 1992-93 tenure as France boss was disastrous, he was later a two-time Ligue 1 champion with Lyon.
95. Hassan Shehata
Shehata led Egpyt into the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations as a man under pressure. Knives were being sharpened when he took off furious star striker Mido with 12 minutes to go in their semi-final against Senegal, only for replacement Amr Zaki to notch the winner within two minutes.
Egypt went on to win it. They repeated the feat in 2008 and 2010, becoming the first country to win three consecutive AFCON titles and climbing up to ninth in the FIFA rankings.