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:
- Manchester United – No question about it, the top job in England,
- 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,
- Chelsea – An ambitious chairman at a club in the trendy west-end of London; still a top job in England,
- Arsenal – While trophies are a distant memory, they have a billionaire owner, a massive fan-base and a world-class stadium,
- 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,
- Tottenham Hotspur – A well run club who is back in their ascendency. Needs a new stadium, but commitment of owners is unquestionable,
- 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,
- Newcastle United – Massive stadium filled with passionate supporters, the biggest club in their region, money to spend,
- Everton – A massive history but very limited funds in a stadium that has been unable to keep up with the Joneses,
- 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,
- 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,
- 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?
- Sunderland – American owner Ellis Short has a ton of money to spend in an attractive stadium, but fans can be fickle,
- Blackburn Rovers – Past glories, but small crowds. The new owners are an unknown entity, and could end up being a manager’s worst nightmare,
- Bolton – An unfashionable club in a stadium that is hardly ever full. The club has funds to buy players,
- 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,
- 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,
- Norwich City – Another club that’s used to going up and down the divisions; limited transfer funds but passionate fans,
- Swansea City – A small club with a limited budget and not a lot of history in terms of winning silverware,
- 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.