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Will British managers ever conquer La Liga?

Barcelona

Will British managers ever conquer La Liga?

Gary Neville is the latest English man to venture to sunny Spain in search of managerial success. He follows a long list of suiters of only a few have had success in Spanish football. Neville, who joined his brother at the club in December has had a run of poor results but he can take some credit in the sacking of Real Madrid manager Rafa Benitez. An Alcázer Garcia strike seconds after Gareth Bale put Real Madrid minutes from victory resulted in Benitez’s departure from the club who happens to be Valencia’s most successful manager.

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The board has confidence in England’s assistant coach and his brother that they can bring success back to one of the biggest clubs in Spanish football who by their own standards have underperformed in recent years. The former Manchester United captain is the first English manager at Valencia since the 1930’s and have been without silverware since 2007 when Ronald Koeman won the Copa Del Rey.

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Terry Venables was the first well respected name in British football to move to Spain and manage. He could not have picked a better team, the former England manager spend three years at the Catalan giants Barcelona in the 1980’s. After gaining a reputation with success at QPR and Crystal Palace he was offered the Barca job and he won the league in his first season, their first in almost 10 years followed by Copa Del Rey success and an appearance in a European Cup Final. In a bid to maintain success at the club Venables brought two of England’s best strikers to the club, Gary Lineker from Everton and Manchester United’s Mark Hughes. However even two of the Premier Leagues best could not keep Venables in charge for long as he was released after three years when Barca fell to Real Madrid in the league.

The Boot Rooms Verdict: Success

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Maybe more of an unknown spell in Spain was current Wales manager Chris Coleman’s time at Real Sociedad. The Welshman’s brief spell in charge came in the 2007/08 season, he was recommended on behalf of countrymen John Toshack but his short stay at the club did not bring much glory. Coleman was brought in to steer La Real back into la liga after being relegated to secunda devision. However despite the team rising to 5th in the league Coleman departed the club after disagreements with the president.

The Boot Rooms Verdict: Failure

 

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Another Brit to take the helm at Sociedad was David Moyes, the Scot whose previous job was a time to forget as Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor at Manchester United. Moyes took a break after his sacking from Old Trafford and received many offers from other Premier League clubs but chose to go to Spain in what was at the time a risky one as the former Everton manager had no experience in other leagues. But his arrival in 2014 saw La Real’s defence tighten up and even produced a memorable 1-0 win over Barcelona but unconvincing performances and their incapability to rise up the table this season resulted in his sacking.

The Boot Rooms Verdict: Failure

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Sir Bobby Robson despite winning the treble in his one and only year at Barcelona as well as winning manager of the year as relieved of his duties as Louis Van Gaal took over managerial duties in 1997-1998. Robson oversaw the triumph of the Spanish Cup, the Spanish Super Cup and the European Cup winner’s cup. Robson also aided the creation of Brazilian sensation Ronaldo who scored 34 goals under Robson and labelled him as ‘without question one of the best managers in the world’. The Englishman achieved so much in such a short space of time and that could include bringing the rising managerial star that was Jose Mourinho into the fold. Robson brought the Portuguese with him to the Nou Camp from Porto and this was a major Launchpad for the soon to be Chelsea Manager and ‘Special One’.

The Boot Rooms Verdict: Conqueror

So will we ever see the likes of Sir Bobby Robson and Terry Venables have the success as those two did in Spain again? Gary Neville has many admirers and many believe that he will do well in Spain however success for Neville and the majority of British managers will at best be found in the Premier League and with England. The British style of play has not historically gone down well in other leagues and for that reason we still await a truly successful manager in foreign leagues.

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