Spotlight On Managers with Staying Power
Football’s hibernation has led to a reminder and underlining of some of the highly familiar names on the list of longest-serving managers of all time.
With the current absence of matches, newspapers are digging considerably deeper to fill their sports pages – and an exclusive Mick McCarthy interview in the Daily Mail came accompanied by a revealing league table of those who have managed in 1,000-plus matches.
We take issue with the line-up in as much as there is no mention of Dario Gradi or Arsene Wenger, both of whom went well past the four-figure mark in charge of their various English clubs.
And, as much as we would feel proud if Graham Turner really were, as shown, second only to Sir Alex Ferguson (2,155 games), we must take into account the fact that hundreds of the former Molineux boss’s games were in non-League with Hereford and at times when responsibility for playing matters had been reportedly handed to others.
Graham Taylor is in there in the top ten, though, and McCarthy himself is eyeing up a major milestone from just outside the group.
He is half a (normal) season’s worth of matches short of the magical 1,000, his tally including his two spells with the Republic of Ireland.
And he has made it clear both that the landmark would mean plenty to him and that he is determined to return to work and sail into four figures. “I still love it,” he says in the article by Staffordshire-bred journalist Ian Ladyman.
Other names on the list with West Midlands connections are Jim Smith, Denis Smith, Tony Pulis, Alan Buckley, Brian Horton and Ron Atkinson.
From the blue-chip category come Brian Clough, Sir Brian Robson, Matt Busby and Jock Stein.
Then come the colourful characters and in some cases the great survivors, such as Harry Redknapp and Neil Warnock.
Who knows when football will return? But it seems fairly certain that within a few months of it doing so, McCarthy will follow suit.