Being a football manager is often a rubbish experience. The hours are terrible, your family life is strained, everyone else thinks they can do a better job than you, and plummeting from hero to zero can take about five minutes.
Managers, though, should be judged by much more than the trophies in their cabinet. Some bosses, while brilliant and deserving, are given the benefit of big clubs with which to conquer. It's why you won't find Zinedine Zidane on this year's list, despite winning the Champions League with Real Madrid in his half-season in charge at the Bernabeu. Does that warrant him a place ahead of a seasoned grafter who's dragged his side up through the divisions, for example? Not in our book, Clive – or not yet, anyway.
As Pierre van Hoijdonk pondered to FourFourTwo recently: "If you changed all the managers in the league for cats, there would still be a champion. Does that mean the cat who is the champion is fantastic and those who go down are s***?"
We'll leave you with that one for a minute... but there's some sense there.
A matter of control
Being a manager is about so much more than picking a team every week. In an evermore-demanding environment of finances, politics and off-pitch pressures, it takes a certain kind of character to not only survive, but thrive. Fans, chairmen and media are perfectly happy to judge despite, in reality, seeing only a tiny fraction of a manager's work.
And it's far from exact science either – there's no predetermined formula of how to do things right, and so many factors out of control.
With all of the above in mind, we went to our raft of experts around the world to hear their opinions – and this 50 is what we came up with. There's a heavy lean on 2016's work, of course, but a large nod to significant recent achievements and overall class. After all, judging a man – or woman – purely on their last year's work wouldn't be very fair now, would it?
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Joe was the Deputy Editor at FourFourTwo until 2022, having risen through the FFT academy and been on the brand since 2013 in various capacities.
By weekend and frustrating midweek night he is a Leicester City fan, and in 2020 co-wrote the autobiography of former Foxes winger Matt Piper – subsequently listed for both the Telegraph and William Hill Sports Book of the Year awards.