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Why have Scottish managers been so successful?

Why has Scotland produced so many of the best football managers in the world? Based on exclusive interviews with the men themselves, their players or close friends and family, authors Michael Grant and Rob Robertson reveal the huge contribution that Scottish managers like Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Matt Busby, Bill Shankly, Jock Stein, Tommy Docherty, Jim McLean, Kenny Dalglish, George Graham, Walter Smith, Gordon Strachan, Alex McLeish and David Moyes, as well as a host of others, have made to the world game.

Never before has a book tackled the subject of Scotland’s extraordinary football managerial success, questioned why and how Scotland has produced so many of the very finest managers ever to be associated with the game and so exhaustively researched and interviewed so many key characters in search of the answer. And the result? The Management is one of the finest sports books to appear this decade.

Is that an exaggeration? Have a read and see if you can find any many better. The scope and breadth of the subject matter is vast, the skill with which it is relayed is exceptional, and the relentless fascination that it engenders has you turning page after page. It is a truly enthralling story, one that goes beyond football, beyond the confines of Scottish club and international management and delves into the very heart of Scottish life and society, into the very heart of the Scottish psyche. It is a story that seeks out answers from the depths of Lanarkshire mines and Clyde shipyards to the glamorous corridors of Old Trafford, Anfield, Highbury and Stamford Bridge.

With interviews ranging from the great men themselves, to the players who served under them, the men who assisted them, and to the family members who knew them best of all, no stone has been left unturned as Grant and Robertson seek to answer a question that has burned on a thousand lips since the halcyon days of Busby, Shanks and Stein, and which continues today as Sir Alex Ferguson’s wonderful achievements forge a path that a new generation of Scottish managers hope to emulate. It is a spellbinding read, one that is set to become a classic.

This is a really enjoyable book for those with an interest in how football operates behind the usual bluster of the newspapers. It has a nice historical view of the influence of Scotsmen as football developed around the world. There are lots of humorous anecdotes and a real feeling for the highs and lows of the characters involved.

Interviews with those who are still alive, and comments from those near to them, give the book substance. There is a fair attempt to explain the psychology of the managers or their resistance to such ideas. For football followers you can delight in recalling your memories around the key events in Scottish football lore.

There is a detailed list of who won what. The book takes us right up to the present day, although the fact that Craig Brown has taken on a new challenge at Aberdeen at the age of seventy shows there will be opportunities for an update, and I will certainly look forward to reading it.

Ferguson is the most successful but has there been a better Scottish manager?


No Responses to “Why have Scottish managers been so successful?”

  1. Manu92 says:

    I have a dream…and my dream is to see David Moyes managing our side(Manchester United) after sir alex…that man is simply amazing..we know that Everton haven’t won trophies and all under him but if u all have noticed…he has been superb for them…in the past Everton have delivered some creditable performances under him and have always been entertaining…even this season they have garnered some fantastic results under him…only recently by defeating Chelsea…the board trust him that’s why he has been with them for almost 9 years.
    He will be perfect for United…after all he’s Scottish, so he’s special!…He will be provided with even better resources at united and with that he can maintain our status as a super power in the world of football!!!
    It was under him that Everton brought players like Cahill, Arteta and phil neville and i will also consider his signing of coleman as a very good one indeed. Also he helped to develop Phil Jagielka, Joleon Lescott (whose departure earned Everton a very tidy transfer fee) and Leighton Baines – all of whom have become England internationals!!
    Everton is not a team of superstars, far from it, it’s hard even to name a star player at Goodison Park, but it is a team, generally, of over-achievers and that has been made possible by David only and by they way he’s only 47!
    So guys, believe in me…i don’t want the likes of mourinho managing us after alex(though i like jose, but as he only wants to win trophies, he won’t think much about “developing” united, like sir alex and sir matt did, and will leave united in the middle as soon as wins the champions league with us). but i want the likes of David Moyes!!

  2. Frank Scicluna says:

    It’s a tough call Manu92, how can someone like Sir Alex ever be replaced? I must admit that I would not be disappointed if Moyes was to be the chosen one. He has served a perfect apprenticeship for one so young in a similar way that Sir Alex himself did. Having said that, I cannot help the gut feeling that maybe Steve Bruce could also fit the bill keeping in mind the club culture he has experienced. Whoever it ends up being, I somehow think that it needs to be a British rather than a European manager irrespective of the success that may have been achieved overseas.

  3. Manu92 says:

    Yep, it’s impossible to replace sir alex, but one day he will go..and i think Moyes is the perfect one to replace him. I was also interested in Martin O’Neil and yes Steve bruce will fit perfectly as well…and yes i too want a British managing us after sir alex’s retirement!!!



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