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Top 20 Football Manager Jobs in the Premier League

football manager screenshot Top 20 Football Manager Jobs in the Premier League

What do Martin O’Neill, Alan Curbishley, Avram Grant, Roberto Di Matteo and Steve McClaren have in common? They’re all football managers who are looking for a new team to manage. But as is often the case, their names are bandied about with several clubs, not just one. Some may be more desperate to manage the first club that approaches them. But oftentimes, the managers can be patient and pick the club that best suits them and their ambitions.

So that’s my question for you. If you had a choice to manage a club in the Premier League, how would you rank the 20 teams based on how big a club it would be?

For example, Mark Hughes began his management career at Wales, then used that as a springboard to get the job at Ewood Park to manage Blackburn Rovers. After spending four years there where he accomplished a great deal with limited resources, Hughes made the step up in the league ladder of football management by taking over at Manchester City. After a promising start followed by way too many draws, Hughes was sacked but then took a step down and got the job at Fulham. Now, with Gerard Houllier having left Aston Villa, Hughes’s name has been mentioned as a frontrunner for the job at Villa Park. If he gets it, it’d be a move up. Aston Villa is recognized as a bigger club than Fulham. Villa has won the European Cup and has a greater history than Fulham FC.

So it got me thinking. What if I was to rank the 20 clubs in the Premier League based on how prestigious they are and what the top clubs would be for a football manager to join?

The other attributes I looked at was how wealthy the club was (the more wealthier they are, the greater the chance of success and the more money that a manager has to spend). I also considered the club’s history, their average home attendance and which part of the country they’re in (London is more fashionable for managers than South Wales or the North East, for example).

So, here’s my list of the top 20 clubs in the Premier League that are the most attractive to football managers:

  1. Manchester United - No question about it, the top job in England,
  2. Manchester City – One of the richest club’s in the world. While they don’t have the history of winning tons of trophies, they sit on the precipice of becoming one of the top teams in Europe with the wealth of talent at their disposal,
  3. Chelsea - An ambitious chairman at a club in the trendy west-end of London; still a top job in England,
  4. Arsenal - While trophies are a distant memory, they have a billionaire owner, a massive fan-base and a world-class stadium,
  5. Liverpool – History is on their side, having achieved so much in Europe and England; in a rebuilding phase but has the ability to become a force again thanks to new owners,
  6. Tottenham Hotspur - A well run club who is back in their ascendency. Needs a new stadium, but commitment of owners is unquestionable,
  7. Aston Villa – One of the founders of the Football League, one of the best grounds in England, a rich owner and a history that includes a European Cup trophy,
  8. Newcastle United – Massive stadium filled with passionate supporters, the biggest club in their region, money to spend,
  9. Everton – A massive history but very limited funds in a stadium that has been unable to keep up with the Joneses,
  10. Fulham – Playing in European competition helps, as well as their idyllic ground along the Thames River in London, but a small stadium and small fan-base,
  11. Stoke City - Passionate fan-base at one of the loudest grounds in the league, some history in terms of winning trophies, but not a ton of money to spend,
  12. QPR – Many argue that QPR is the richest club in the world, but whether they’ll spend the money or not is the question. Big in the 70′s, but can they establish themselves in the top league?
  13. Sunderland – American owner Ellis Short has a ton of money to spend in an attractive stadium, but fans can be fickle,
  14. Blackburn Rovers – Past glories, but small crowds. The new owners are an unknown entity, and could end up being a manager’s worst nightmare,
  15. Bolton – An unfashionable club in a stadium that is hardly ever full. The club has funds to buy players,
  16. Wolves - A well-run profitable club in a heavily populated part of England. Limited budget, excellent fan-base, but will struggle to stay up each season,
  17. West Brom - One of the smaller clubs in the West Midlands; limited transfer budget, passionate fans who are used to club going up and down the divisions,
  18. Norwich City – Another club that’s used to going up and down the divisions; limited transfer funds but passionate fans,
  19. Swansea City – A small club with a limited budget and not a lot of history in terms of winning silverware,
  20. Wigan Athletic - A small but growing fan-base, limited funds and a very short history.

What do you think? Do you disagree with any of the above rankings? If so, share your opinion in the comments section below.

This entry was posted in General, Leagues: EPL. Bookmark the permalink.

About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
View all posts by Christopher Harris →

19 Responses to Top 20 Football Manager Jobs in the Premier League

  1. Fabio says:

    personally if I were a manager I’d like to Manage City over United simply due to money at my disposal

  2. Jason says:

    In years past prestige in managing certain clubs like Real Madrid or Liverpool or Manchester United was very highly rated. This has been supplanted by managers wanting to manage a club with ambition and deep pockets. So a club like Liverpool even though they are the most successful English club (domestic plus european titles combined) presently aren’t anywhere as attractive to manage as Manchester City. So my top 6 in the EPl would be
    1. Manchester City – the owner has ambition and is willing to spend the money. You cannot ask for more. What a challenge for any manager to get City to be one of the top clubs in the world.

    2. Manchester United – still have ambition and they do spend whatever it takes to get the job done. Their spending power will wane as the club’s debts rise but at least for now they will be able to spend some money.

    3. Chelsea – have shown the likes of City that spending money can win you trophies and make you into an elite world club. Their owner is still prepared to spend and any manager will relish being backed financially. The owner’s interference in managing decisions can be a problem for any manager. But still a very attractive club to manage.

    4. Liverpool – great history and new owners who want to get the club back into the top-tier of world football. No manager would miss the opportunity to manage Liverpool, especially now with new owners with ambition.

    5. Arsenal – a very stable club but whether the owner(s) are willing to spend to bring in reinforecements is left to be seen. If some of the better players leave will that money be available to buy new players?

    6. Spurs – the owner has ambition and has spent to get a squad that has been successful these last couple of years. Now that they are no longer in the CL and City having overtaken them, will they have the same ambitions and spend as much as they did these last few years?

  3. Nick says:

    My ranking:

    1.Manchester United –
    2.Liverpool
    3.Arsenal
    4.Aston Villa
    5.Chelsea
    6.Tottenham Hotspur
    7.Everton
    8.Manchester City
    9.West Ham
    10.Newcastle

  4. trickybrkn says:

    Top to bottom in order from most to fewest points in the PL era (post 1992)

    Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Aston Villa, Tottenham Hotspur, Everton, Newcastle United, Blackburn Rovers, West Ham United, Manchester City, Leeds United, Middlesbrough, Southampton, Bolton Wanderers, Fulham, Coventry City, Sunderland, Sheffield Wednesday, Wimbledon, Charlton Athletic, Leicester City, Birmingham City, Portsmouth, Derby County, Wigan Athletic, Nottingham Forest, Ipswich Town, Queens Park Rangers, Norwich City, West Bromwich Albion, Crystal Palace, Stoke City, Sheffield United, Wolverhampton, Reading, Oldham Athletic, Hull City, Bradford City, Watford, Blackpool, Barnsley, Burnley & Swindon Town
    from http://www.statto.com/football/stats/england/premier-league/all-time-table/pl-years

    • spark says:

      Some people are missing the point of the exercise and are thinking as fans. Why would a manager care how much a club has won prior to him taking the job? He wants a job with the best future. The best managers aren’t lining up to manage Leeds.

      That’s why Manchester City ranks so high.

      Passionate fans, enormous wealth, good stadium, and owners who want to win (not just turn a profit).

      That’s what any manager would want.

  5. David G says:

    I wouldn’t want to follow Alex Ferguson, no win situation. The guy who follows the guy after Sir Alex is the way to go.

    Can anyone explain why QPR might be the richest club in the world?

    • Liam says:

      Lakshmi Mittal, the 8th richest man in the world, bought 20 some percent in the club a few years ago. The ownership consortium also includes Millionaire Flavio Briatore & Bernie Eccelstone.

  6. Taylor says:

    I would put Newcastle much lower. Mike Ashley is notoriously stingy with money.

    You should take into account the owners. Chelsea might have tons of money but based on Roman’s actions, I’d put Chelsea No. 7 instead of No. 3. Yes, you’ll get money but if you don’t win the CL, you’re out.

    • Burt Reynolds says:

      You’re right. I would say they are lower.. about two spots less than what they are on the initial list. The reason I would say they are just a few spots lower though are because the fan bases and potential for greatness make them top jobs, but yeah the owners meddling should cost them a bit.

  7. Lyle says:

    Stoke is way too high. They belong down with Swansea and Norwich. Wigan you got spot on though.

  8. Trickybrkn says:

    I’m not sure I agree. While Hughes or Redknapp or any other manager on the verge of greatness would step up to Leeds, Leeds will always get a better quality manager on history then another team at the same level. And let’s be honest, 14 teams last year played only to NOT be sent down. What does that say about the greatest football league in the world.

    And while Big Sam is no Sir Alex, is considered by many to be among the best English managers. And He picked a team just sent down.

    I’m afraid I have to say history does matter.

  9. Burt Reynolds says:

    My thoughts…

    1. Man U
    2. Man City
    3. Arsenal
    4. Liverpool
    5. Chelsea
    6. Spurs
    7. Villa
    8. Fulham
    9. Everton
    10. Newcastle
    11. QPR
    12. Sunderland
    13. Blackburn Rovers
    14. Bolton
    15. Stoke
    16. West Brom
    17. Wolves
    18. Wigan
    19. Swansea
    20. Norwich

  10. StellaWasAlwaysDown says:

    I pretty much agree, but would switch Liverpool and Man City. 2-5 are pretty interchangeable IMO.

  11. El Tri 2014 says:

    1. Man City (tops right now, $$$, fans and a super stadium plus CL)
    2. Man Utd.
    3. Chelsea (CL plus if you manage one year it’s still millions)
    4. Arsenal
    5. Spurs
    6. Villa
    7. Liverpool (problem is the fans, you don’t get to manage the team, you’re told how to manage and who to play and if the fans swallow one too many losses, you’re out. Not many managers would take that kind of job.)

    • Sean says:

      Let me preface this by stating that I am a Liverpool supporter, so I am HUGELY biased.

      That being said, outside of the Roy Hodgson debacle, when have you seen Liverpool supporters not support their manager?

      Are you referencing Rafa Benitez?

      Supporter frustration had more to do with the sh*t show that was going on with the two men who shall never be named again.

      Gérard Houllier left after he lost the squad and took Liverpool as far as he could.

      Graeme Souness ruined the squad and not even he went through what Roy Hodgson went through.

      The supporters did not say/have not said a damn thing to the likes of Shankly, Paisley, Fagan or Dalglish.

      You cannot look at the Roy Hodgson situation and say, “oh, so THAT is how Liverpool supporters act.” Roy Hodgson was clearly the wrong man for the job. The squad knew it. The supporters knew it. The owners knew it. To manage Liverpool you have to be strong enough to have others follow your vision regardless of what the supporters think. Roy Hodgson clearly could not do that. To say his stay at Liverpool was uninspiring is putting it mildly.

      What has transpired at Liverpool with pretty much every manager outside of Roy Hodgson is no different than what goes on at other clubs. Come to think of it, even what happened with Roy Hodgson is no different than what happens at any other club. If a side is massively underperforming, nobody is going to be happy.

  12. Ben Conlen says:

    Burt are you an Ipswich fan?

  13. gary says:

    El trio 2014, I disagree that managing Liverpool is difficult because of the fans. The fans are one of the most knowledgeable fans in the world. Like any club they will turn on the manager if they feel that the club isn’t doing well given the resources. That said, my top jobs in the EPL would be:

    1. Manchester City – ambitious owner who is willing to spend to get the job done.

    2. Chelsea – ambitious owner who is willing to spend to get the job done. Owner’s interference can be a problem.

    3. Manchester United – trying to follow Fergie is an impossible task but the club’s ambitions and history still make it a very attractive proposition. Not sure if the owner is willing to spend as much as before.

    4. Arsenal – everyone has an opinion of why Wenger hasn’t done better with the squad at the club. Great opportunity to show how good you are.

    5. Liverpool – a club with tradition that seems to be moving in the right direction with new owners. Owners are willing to spend which is a good sign.

    6. Spurs
    7. Sunderland
    8. Everton
    9. Aston Villa
    10. Newcastle
    11. Fulham
    12. Stoke
    13. Bolton
    14. Blackburn
    15. QPR
    16. West Brom
    17. Wolves
    18. Swansea
    19. Norwich
    20. Wigan

  14. yonks Oduwole one of the richest man in the world, bought 20 some percent in the club a few years ago. if i want to manage a club i will like to QPR or ARSENAL B`cos i love dis club with all my H@T but if they can gv me a chance i will be happy, i promise to be loyalty. and i will spend my life there, if u want to gv me a chance u can call me on this number +2348166277572

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