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Some Kind of Big Joke: The Five Managers that Deserved to Win the “Manager of the Decade” award before Arsene Wenger.

Posted By Ciccio Sabetti On Jan 26 2011 @ 3:54 pm In Arsenal | No Comments

It seems almost inevitable that people won’t always get what they deserve. A perfect example is Wesley Sneijder; he was the most important player in the 09/10 season for both Inter Milan, the team that won the treble, and the Netherlands, the runner up at the World Cup, and he wasn’t even considered in the last three candidates to win the FIFA Ballon D’Or.

If that wasn’t bad enough, well, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger winning “Manager of the Decade” was far worse. It’s an insult to all the managers that achieved in the last decade what Wenger would have dreamed of achieving in his whole career.

Here is Arsene Wenger’s trophy list of the last ten years:

2 Premier League Titles

3 FA Cups

Here are the five managers that, I think, would have deserved the award before Arsene Wenger for what they have accomplished in the last ten years:

Sir Alex Ferguson

4 Premier League Titles

1 FA Cup

3 League Cups

1 European Champions League

One of the reasons the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) awarded Wenger with the Manager of the Decade award was for his consistency. But he wasn’t the most consistent manager. Sir Alex Ferguson, who was Wenger’s rival, outperformed him. Ferguson’s Manchester United finished ahead of Arsenal seven times out of the last ten years. So to suggest that Wenger was the most consistent Manager is simply an outrageous lie. I wouldn’t have thought that the IFFHS would have needed a lesson in “Football History and Statistics”. Well, there you have it.

Jose Mourinho

2 Portuguese League Titles

2 English Premier League Titles

2 Italian Serie A Titles

1 Portuguese Cup

2 League Cup

1 FA Cup

1 Coppa Italia

1 UEFA Cup

2 Champions League Cups

What’s there to say? He is the special one. Love him or hate him, his accomplishments in the last eight years have been out of this world and he hasn’t always had the most relatively out of this world clubs as people claim– winning the Champions League with Porto and Inter for example. Aside from his trophy collection, one that Wenger – at the rate he is going – would probably need a second managerial career to match, his influence over the last ten years has been unequalled. Ten years ago, before Mourinho had hit the international scene, the 4-4-2 was the most popular formation. Today, it’s all about the 4-3-3 and most of the credit is due to Mourinho. It’s not to say that the 4-3-3 was not used before Mourinho; it was, but not in the same way. The 4-3-3 was used in the early 90’s for Crujff’s “Total Football”, for Lippi’s successes with Juventus in the mid-late 90s with the amazing trio of Zidane, Del Piero and Inzhagi and even for Zdenek Zeman’s famous results with Foggia, bringing them to Serie A. The 4-3-3 before Mourinho was considered as nothing more than an offensive formation. Mourinho came around and proved that the 4-3-3 was the ideal formation for the modern game, that it offered the perfect balance between defence and attack, even more so than Sacchi’s classic 4-4-2 in the late 80s and early 90s. Look around now, and the 4-3-3 is the most popular formation amongst the big clubs, and it’s the formation that is most studied and written about at Football coaching schools.  From a theoretical standpoint, Wenger hasn’t really added anything. His team play “Total Football”. That’s all it is. It’s new for the Premier League, but it’s not new.

Carlo Ancelotti

1 Italian Serie A

1 Coppa Italia

1 English Premier League

1 FA Cup

2 European Champions Leagues

Another manager that, in the last ten years, has been more successful than Wenger is Carlo Ancelotti. He’s an expert at winning in Europe; he did twice as a player and he arrived at three finals with Milan in the last ten years and he didn’t do it in the easiest of circumstances. Working under Billionaire owners that expect performances without wanting to spend as much as they used to, isn’t easy – just ask Benitez about Moratti.

He epitomizes serenity and is known for elegant play, while, at the same time, being responsible at the back. There is probably no Manager in the game that brings more balance to his side than Carlo does. Wenger hasn’t won a league title in almost seven years; if he had coached with the owners that Carlo had coached under, he would have been sacked at least five years ago.

Gus Hiddink

3 Dutch Eredivisie

1 Dutch KNVP Cup

1 FA Cup

South Korea World Cup 4th Place

Australia World Cup Qualification and Round of 16

Russia Euro 2008 Semi Finalists.

He is the ultimate tactician, perhaps the greatest in the world. Every year he is coveted by some of the biggest teams in the World. But he’s not interested in the big clubs anymore. He’s on a Footballing Crusade.

In terms of the development of the game, there is nobody that comes close to Guus Hiddink. Johann Crujff may have brought “Total Football” to Barcelona, but Hiddink is bringing it to the World, with positive results in Korea, Autralia, Russia and now Turkey. Twenty years after Crujff, we find that Dutch “Total football” has infected Barcelona from the ground up. Who knows, maybe twenty years from now we may find the same results in the countries that Hiddink passed through. All this, along with three Dutch league titles, makes Hiddink’s last ten years far more positive than Wenger’s.

Fabio Capello

3 Italian Serie A (Roma, Juventus)

1 Spanish La Liga

England Manager

They say that Fabio Capello, the current England Manager, owns €17 million worth of Art work. His favourite is Kandinsky, one of the first modern abstract artists. Capello is one of the first modern Football coaches, and much of his style is, in a way, abstract to most people. It is a Football that is founded on two ideas; Capello is the boss and he wants to win at all costs. Don Fabio they call him and every club he has gone to, he has won – from underdogs Roma to star-studded Real Madrid.

He may not have had the best World Cup with England but I would still think he has been positive for the “three lions”. After McLaren’s debacle, he has brought order to the England camp and has provided the right spirit and working conditions that future England managers will be thankful for.

In a Modern Football world, filled with big egos, Capello has remained undeterred. He too has had more success than Wenger in the last ten years and would have deserved the IFFHS award before him.

So what does Wenger have that these managers don’t? The only thing that Wenger does have is an ability to develop and find unknown players and then turn them into superstars. But should that be the main criteria? If so, then whoever is the head youth coach in Barcelona should be crowned as coach of the decade, because Barcelona is producing the best players in the world at the moment, the same ones that outclassed Wenger’s Arsenal last year in the Champions League.

In terms of the other criteria that were used to determine who would win the award, the managers aforementioned outperformed him in each category. So how is it that the manger who, in the last ten years, never won the IFFHS “manager of the year award” suddenly win the “manager of the decade” award? The only logical explanation is that it’s some kind of big joke.

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