Here’s a question for the pub clever-clogs. Which overseas nation has provided the most managers to England’s top level? The answer might surprise you; it certainly caught out the FFT office-dwellers, less than half of whom called it.
While many might plump for Spain, France or the Netherlands, it is in fact Italy that has sent the most – 11 in all, including Fabio Capello for the England job itself. Of the 10 to have managed in the Premier League, half have spent time at Chelsea – Gianluca Vialli, Claudio Ranieri, Carlo Ancelotti and Roberto Di Matteo preceding the incumbent Antonio Conte.
Perhaps surprisingly, of those five Azzurri Blues, Ranieri spent easily the longest in the Stamford Bridge hot-seat – almost four years, in fact. But then, brevity of reign has been something of a characteristic among all Italian imports, not just in SW6. Barring Claudio at Chelsea and Fabio for England, the only Italian to have reached his second anniversary is Roberto Mancini, whose Manchester City side had just won 6-1 in the derby and were en route to their first league title since the Moon landing.
The only nations to get anywhere near Italy are France, Spain and the Netherlands, each of which has provided seven top-flight managers. After that you’re down to just one or two per country, as if managerial candidates are tainted by the adventures of previous compatriots.
One more thing to note: as the second infographic shows, all the managerial imports have come from a thin transatlantic slice of the globe, from Western Europe to South America. Large areas of the globe remain untapped: when will we see our first EPL manager from Africa, Asia, or North America?
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Gary Parkinson is a freelance writer, editor, trainer, muso, singer, actor and coach. He spent 14 years at FourFourTwo as the Global Digital Editor and continues to regularly contribute to the magazine and website, including major features on Euro 96, Subbuteo, Robert Maxwell and the inside story of Liverpool's 1990 title win. He is also a Bolton Wanderers fan.
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