If you thought that the FIFA World Rankings are wacky and worse, if Inter Milan can be labelled the best club side in the world after doing no more than defeating a team of Korean unknowns and a bunch of amateurs from the Congo, try getting your head around this. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has been named the “The World‘s best Coach of the 1st Decade of the 21st Century” by IFFHS – ‘The International Football Federation of History & Statistics’ an organisation which is officially recognised by FIFA. Wenger finished with 156 points, 8 ahead of Sir Alex Ferguson and 21 more than Jose Mourinho. Remember that what’s known as a ‘manager’ in England is referred to as a ‘coach’ in most parts of the world.
Now I have nothing against Wenger, as a matter of fact I have come to respect the guy in the last few years but no matter how you analyse this award, it is simply incomprehensible. The IFFHS explains that “The IFFHS has devised an equitable method for establishing the The World‘s best Coach of the 1st Decade of the 21st Century. The IFFHS will take into consideration the “Top 20” for each year and allocate points to each place. So the first placed receives 20 points, the second placed 19 points, the third-placed 18 points … and a point for twentieth place” Does that make the whole thing crystal clear now?
So let’s have a look at some undisputable FACTS which illustrates why even Wenger himself must be embarrassed by such a delusional, meaningless award.
Ferguson and Wenger have been in the Premier League for the entire decade so it was a simple, direct comparison with no complications – a straightforward apple compared with an apple exercise.
The most obvious is the amount of silverware each manager has won during the decade in question
Ferguson – Premier League 5, FA Cup 1, Carling Cup 3, Champions League 1, World Club Cup 1
Wenger – Premier League 2, FA Cup 3
Then there are the head to head clashes between the two managers which takes into account the Premier, Champions Leagues, FA and Carling Cups but NOT the almost meaningless Community Shield
Ferguson 13 wins, Wenger 8, remaining matches resulted in draws
When points obtained in the Premier League during the decade are compared
Ferguson’s Manchester United had a total of 826 points against Wenger’s Arsenal 773, an additional 53 points which equates to winning an extra 17 matches.
When you look at any of those statistics it’s very clear that Sir Alex is so far ahead of Wenger that the whole poll should have been a total no contest. But then have a look at some of the other placings to see how ludicrous the whole thing is. Fabio Capello fourth, Luiz Felipe Scolari seventh, Rafa Benitez ninth and note this, Sven-Goran Eriksson the world’s 13th best manager of the decade!
It’s also worth noting that England is represented by only three coaches among the top 176, the best placed of them being Roy Hodgson in 92nd place with Sir Bobby Robson and Harry Redknapp tied at 126.
Perhaps the best way that such a ludicrous outcome can be explained is to have a look at the following which was written on IFFHS’s own entry on Wikipedia “In a wide range of media there is massive doubt about the significance of IFFHS rankings and elections. German news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur abstains from publishing news relating to the IFFHS. Karl Lennartz, a sports historian from Cologne, Germany, calls the organization “obscure”, describing it as a one man show of its chairman Alfredo Poge.
Is there any way that Wenger can be rated a better manager than Ferguson?