Best and Worst… Captains turned Managers


Best and Worst… Captains turned Managers

Steven Gerrard’s surprise appointment as Rangers manager has generated plenty of debate as to whether the inspirational former Liverpool captain can cut his teeth as a manager.

Steven Gerrard

Plenty of former captains have dabbled, not all have succeeded.

Here’s our look at some of the best and worst…



Johan Cruyff

The godfather of tiki-taka total football. The late Dutch great pioneered modern-day Barcelona, laying the foundations for Barca to become one of the best club sides football fans have had the privilege of witnessing in recent decades.

He would win European Coach of the Season in 1991/92 after guiding Barcelona to domestic and continental success, and his work has been cited as an inspiration by managers and youth academies across the globe.


Pep Guardiola

A man tutored in the school of Cruyffology, Guardiola is a worthy heir to the legendary Dutchman. Pep captained Barcelona between 1997 and 2001, but it was his step into coaching that would really bring him worldwide renown.

Initially learning the ropes with Barcelona B, Guardiola stepped up seamlessly to senior level in 2008 – and the rest is history.


Antonio Conte

The Italian firecracker is known for his theatrics on the sideline, but as a leader of men, there is no cooler head in the game. Conte was a legendary Juventus captain guiding the Old Lady to five Serie A titles in the late 90s and early 00s.

He would add three more Scudettos to their trophy cabinet after taking the reigns of Juve in 2011. The 48-year-old would also prove to be no one-club man enjoying successful spells with Italy and Chelsea.


Eddie Howe

Eddie Howe crop

A man who is really living out a fairy-tale dream, starting his rapid rise up the divisions as a no-nonsense skipper at the back for the then lower league Bournemouth.

After retiring early at 29, Howe moved in the managerial hotseat at the Vitality at the age of just 31, and can boast the unique feat of three promotions from three divisions with the same club.


Sean Dyche

The Burnley boss can sometimes come across as a bit of a cartoon caricature with his gravelly voice and press conference wisecracks, but his playing career demonstrates his grit and determination to succeed. The Bees manager has always had a knack for instilling discipline and a sense of togetherness in a dressing room – captaining lowly Chesterfield to the FA Cup semi-finals in 1997, as well as Watford, where he would start his managerial career.



David Platt

David Platt

The former England captain endured disastrous spells in charge of Sampdoria and Nottingham Forest – with the former slumping into Serie B following his spell in charge.


Alan Shearer

The saviour returned – only to relegate the Geordies to the Championship in one of the most disastrous caretaker spells in living memory. Shearer would win just one game, registering a worse win ratio than the much-mocked Joe Kinnear.


Bryan Gunn

The Norwich City goalkeeping great was turfed out of his full-time role as Canaries manager after just one game – a hapless opening day 7-1 home defeat to Colchester Utd.


Tony Adams

Adams has had several cracks at life in the dugout with Wycombe, Portsmouth, Gabala and Granada, and seemed to have the magic touch of making them all worse. His spell at the latter proudly reads P7 W0 D0 L7.


John Barnes

Barnes skippered a Liverpool side known for their attacking prowess in the latter part of the 90s, but eyebrows were raised when he was given the role of player-manager at Celtic with next to no managerial experience.

John Barnes CROP

The move wouldn’t pay off with the ex-England ace now considered one of Celtic’s all-time managerial flops. A later spell with Tranmere would prove equally underwhelming.


Which captains do you think could make great managers?

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All image sources from PA Images


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