Top 5 longest serving managers in last 20 years
Football has changed so much over the past few decades, advancement in philosophy & new innovations sees managers fall behind. Here are Top 5 longest serving managers in last 20 years:
ArsèneWenger: 20 years at Arsenal
On 22 September 1996, Wenger was announced as the new Arsenal boss & the football landscape soon changed for the better in England.
When he arrived at Highbury, the club did not even have a training ground of their own. He set about changing players diets, commissioned a state-of-the-art training center, training regimens, complete with physiotherapists and sports scientists, and changed the brand of football. The Gunners were soon transformed from the ‘Boring Arsenal’ to the most exciting side to play attacking football in the country.
3 Premier League titles, including an invincible campaign in 2003/04, 6 FA Cups & the move to the Emirates Stadium have defined his career in north London. His reign can be separated into 3 distinct eras – the initial success at Highbury, the rebuilding project with financial restrictions & the current era where trophies have returned along with the money to spend on world class players.
Dario Gradi: 23 years and 10 months at Crewe Alexandra
Gradi is one of the most respected managers in England. Although he has been associated with Crewe Alexandra for more than 30 years, it was his 1st stint between 1983 & 2007 that gave him an Outstanding Contribution to League Football award in 2011.
The Italian-born Englishman was in charge of the club for over 1200 games which are close to 24 years; still, he did not have a great win percentage.
But his stint at the club was not similar to those of other managers at the time. For starters, he was given a ten years contract when he finally guided the club to promotion in 1989 but the club flirted with 3 divisions over the years.
Michel Le Millinaire: 24 years at Stade Lavallois
Michel Le Millinaire is a former footballer who played at Laval, he to the club as a manager in1968. And he stayed at the club for nearly two and a half decades till 1992.
While Arsene Wenger may be known as The Professor, Millinaire actually did hold a teaching post in the north-western region of France known as Mayenne. But he had to give that up when coaching became a full-time profession.
He was never a big fan of football, this makes his achievement even more sensational was that. But he eventually came around & accepted the challenge – something he has never regretted.
By the year 1989, he was under pressure to leave even though he stayed loyal to the club. It wasn’t until 1992 that he was dismissed and replaced by his assistant.
Sir Alex Ferguson: 26 years & 8 months at Manchester United
He is regarded as one of the greatest managers of all time. Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has won a grand total of 38 trophies at Old Trafford. It includes 2 Champions League trophies, a record-setting thirteen league titles, 5 FA Cups and 4 League Cups.
Manchester United had not won a league title since 1967 & their illustrious rivals Liverpool were pulling away from the rest of the pack. Sir Alex Ferguson made it his goal to reel in the Reds.
Once the Premier League was formed, there was no looking back. Manchester United became the team to beat winning titles galore with brief rivalries with Chelsea and Arsenal. The 1999 treble was Ferguson biggest triumph. They won the UEFA Champions League in the dying seconds of the final. In the end, he did manage to see Manchester United overtake Liverpool & win 20 titles in all compared to the Reds’ 18.
“My greatest challenge was knocking Liverpool right off their f**king perch & you can print that!” – Sir Alex
Guy Roux: 36 years and 6 months at Auxerre
Guy Roux spent more than half a century at French club Auxerre. He spent his entire senior career at the club where he became a player-manager before becoming a full-time manager.
In 1952, he became a player-coach & would go on to manage the club all the way into the 21st century. By the time he left, he was in charge of 890 games with 375 wins – a win percentage of a little over 42%.
While his single longest reign was 66 years, there was a brief hiatus in the 2000-2001 season. In all, he was in charge for 44 long years and the academy produced world class players such as Laurent Blanc and Eric Cantona under his guidance.
Auxerre isn’t exactly one of the top clubs in France. He had won the Ligue 1 title only once in 1995/96 but he did win the Coupe de France 4 times towards the end of his career. He only called time on his career aged 66 when he knew the club was in a safe position.