I'm an avid listener of football podcasts, it's a great way for me to keep updated with the latest football news from around the world. Like most talk shows whether on tv, radio,podcast, you must appreciate that along with facts, most of the other information is opinion. One topic I've heard discussed more than once by 'expert' football journalists or ex professional players, is the one where the number of good British football coaches is lacking. One of the laziest comments I've heard, which is backed up with obvious zero research (not even a quick google online) is; "Foreign Coaches are willing to gain experience abroad, where as I can't think of any coaches who have recently been abroad apart from Paul Clement. Oh and Steve Coppell is over in India (followed by sniggering about football in India)"..... or words to that effect.
First of all, let's clarify what is REALLY meant about there being 'no British Coaches gaining experience abroad' = no British coaches abroad who were well-known ex-professional players or, a well-known coach who has previously coached in the higher leagues of England.
Unbelievably, an almost magical feat has happened. A list has been compiled of a few British Coaches currently abroad, and they're not doing bad either. Some of them with more football coaching/management experience and success than a number of managers in the top four football leagues of England. Even more than the current England manager. *This does not include the many more than capable other coaches (assistant managers/staff) who are currently abroad.
Gary White - Taiwan (Chinese Taipei) Men's National Team
Gary has been coaching in the professional game for over 18 years now. He's led no less than four National Teams, to their best ever FIFA rankings. Along with his great experience and success in the International game, in 2016 Gary led the charge to help Shanghai Shenxin F.C escape relegation from China League One. During his time in China, victories were recorded against big spending and big named rivals including; Wuhan Zall who was coached by Ciro Ferrara (once of Juventus) accompanied by the ex-England National Team backroom staff , Tianjin Quanjian who was and is currently coached by Fabio Cannavaro and finally Jordi Vinyals, who was once Coach at Barcelona B. Can you imagine the hype if a 'bigger name' British coach had achieved such a feat?!
Stephen Constantine - India Men's National Team
Stephen has managed five National football teams (6 if we include India for his 2nd spell) and has improved them all. Currently the main man of India, they have climbed to their highest FIFA ranking in 21 years and have also just qualified for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup (their 2nd qualification of the competition in the last 8 years). Something to take note of, India's current unbeaten run stretches to 12 matches and is only bettered in the world by Germany! With experience as 1st team coach at Millwall and as manager in the top tier of Cyprus, I think this qualifies as a British Coach who has gained suitable experience abroad (and in England if we're going to be really honest).
Stephen Constantine's story of his career is a great read and highly recommended. I completed it in two days!
Graham Potter - Ostersunds FK (Sweden Allsvenskan)
Although a former professional player with a solid playing career behind him, Graham is still not what you consider to be a 'big name' in the world of football coaching. His managerial achievements suggest otherwise! Graham started at Ostersunds FK (who were then in the fourth tier in Sweden) in 2010 and with back to back promotions along the way, in 2015 the club secured their place in the Swedish top Division. How a British manager with so many promotions in any football pyramid, cannot be mentioned by 'experts' while thinking of British Coaches abroad, is beyond belief. If the promotions wasn't enough to bulk out a record of achievement, maybe we can add a Swedish Cup victory in 2017, in turn, gaining them access into the UEFA Europa League Qualifiers. What an achievement by a British Coach abroad right? well it gets bigger! In the qualifying rounds, the club went on to beat Galatasaray and PAOK to reach the Europa League group stage!
Well, that's three British coaches so far who would trump most managers in the English league system in terms of experience and achievement.
Simon McMenemy - Head Coach of Bhayangkara in the Indonesian Super League. Currently in 2nd place and on the same points as the leaders with a game in hand. With 3 more matches left until the end of the season, anyone who thinks getting a club into the top 5 in Indonesia is simple..... that person has no idea what so ever. Also with International experience with the Philippines National Team, is there any space in the UK for experienced and young British Coaches?
Steve Darby - World Cup Qualifying Manager with Laos National Team . Steve has huge experience coaching professionally abroad for a span of over 36 years (that alone, is a wealth of experience for any F.A to tap into). His travels have seen him land in the Middle East, Malaysia, a spell with the Vietnamese Ladies National Team, Thailand National Team, the Indian Super League and World Cup Qualifiers with Laos National Team. A supportive coach who always finds time to help those starting out in the game, I'm not sure there's too many around in the UK with the same sought of experience gathered here. When I say experience I don't just mean years of coaching, I mean having to face tough environments and daily decisions which would take any individual out of their comfort zone!
Anthony Hudson - Manager of New Zealand National Team. Yes he's British, he's only 36 and his New Zealand team won the OFC finals, to reach the Inter-confederation playoff where they face Peru in November 2017. He was also the youngest manager ever, to lead a team in the Confederations Cup in Russia 2017. When we hear 'pundits' banging on about the best up and coming young coaches, they really do need to look at their list depth!
Dylan Kerr - Recently won the Kenyan Premier League Title with Gor Mahia F.C. Ever tried managing a team in Africa? I have, and I feel it throws a few more stressful situations at you than being given £100 million to spend on your fullbacks (obviously different stresses and expectations are thrown at you when you have the class and pedigree to manage Barcelona and Manchester City, which most couldn't comprehend). To win an away match is a huge task in itself so to win a league title, it's pretty good going.
Me (of course I had to put myself in, it's my article)- latest role as Head Coach in Ghana Division One. Played 10, Won 6, Drew 2 and Lost 2. A great record considering, the two lost away matches both entailed 'official people' telling me they "had to take the win because they needed the points".
I still have a long road of development and hard work before I can be named with those Coaches above.
For more information on British Coaches who are currently/ or have worked abroad, check out a tailor made website, perfect to keep yourself updated and possibly a great research aid for the 'professional pundits' , to help with their 'British Coaches abroad' thought gathering discussions.
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