The Undervalued Importance of Assistant Managers

More than likely, the reason why Pellegrini chose to keep Kidd on staff is because of his experience within the Premier League. In any profession, having someone who is familiar with every aspect of the workplace can be invaluable to a new boss. Kidd provides this to Pellegrini, as well as an understanding of the players and day to day operations at Manchester City.

When arriving at a club, some new managers will bring their previous assistant coaches with them. Paul Clement (Real Madrid) and Silvino Louro (Chelsea) would be examples of this practice.

Previously, Clement worked under Ancelotti for two seasons at Chelsea. After Ancelotti split from Chelsea, Clement spent time at Blackburn before rejoining him at Paris Saint-Germain. When Real Madrid was able to acquire Ancelotti this summer, Clement was retained by the Italian-born coach.

The story of Clement’s rise into coaching is one of the more interesting ones you’ll ever hear. He never played professional football and worked as a PE teacher from 1995-2000. While working as a teacher, he studied for his coaching badges while assisting Chelsea’s ‘Football in the Community’ program. He was eventually picked out by former Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink to become a member of his backroom staff. But it was when Ancelotti took over at the club that Clement was made an assistant. And the timing couldn’t have been any better for him. Chelsea finished that season as Premier League and FA Cup winners.

Louro is one of the best goalkeeping coaches in football. He has worked under José Mourinho at Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, and again at Chelsea. Petr Cech credits Louro with helping him adapt to the physical nature of English football. Three of his previous goalkeepers have been honored as UEFA’s Best Goalkeeper: Baía (Porto), Cech, and Júlio César (Inter Milan).

These men bring a level of comfort to Ancelotti and Mourinho’s staffs. They have spent years working with each other and there is a tremendous value in that understanding. A manager doesn’t have to spend additional time explaining his every thought and action. He knows that individuals, such as these, will be able to do what he wants and relate his thoughts appropriately to the team. It saves time having to start from “square one” with a brand new staff member.

Probably the most notable managing partnership in the history of English football was the relationship between Brian Clough and Peter Taylor. The two worked side by side at Hartlepool, Derby County, Brighton & Hove Albion, and Nottingham Forest. Their footballing lives were well-documented in the book and movie, The Damned United.

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  1. Dust October 16, 2013

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