After creating ‘The Greatest Squad’, from the Premier League era, the Super 6 team are on the hunt for the greatest manager.
With 21 Premier League trophies between them, Sir Alex Ferguson, Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger are considered among the elite managers of the Premier league era – but which one of them is the best?
Read on for our tributes to the contenders and look out for our Super6 Twitter polls to see if your pick is crowned.
Sir Alex Ferguson
The 13-time Premier League-winning manager should be a hot favourite for the poll, with his record almost untouchable. A win percentage of 65.2 per cent after 810 league matches does the talking. He demanded the best from his players and they duly delivered, earning Sir Alex Ferguson plenty of silverware – and 27 Manager of the Month awards during his illustrious managerial career.
Charlie Nicholas remembers when the Manchester United legend was ruthless with one of his star players, while underlining exactly how high his standards were as a manager.
“Eric Cantona disappointed in both legs of the Champions League semi-final against Borussia Dortmund, and I was a witness after the game when Sir Alex said there would be no way Cantona would play for United again. We all looked at him, but he could make his mind up so easily, and he knew.
“He said to us that he did not perform in both of the games where he needed him the most, and that he did not have the cutting edge he needed to win a trophy. That team kicked on yet again after that and it was the most remarkable thing I had ever seen. Eight of us were having a glass of red wine after the game, and just like that Cantona never played again. He rebuilt, and kept winning trophies.”
Where does Fergie sit in the rankings, in Nicholas’ view?
“Sir Alex Ferguson has to be top of the pile. His record is mind-blowing. The style and youngsters he created, along with the ambition he had was just fantastic.
“In the early years, he got Steve Bruce and Gary Pallister on the cheap, the same with Roy Keane. Eric Cantona was a theft! He managed to bring in these players, while planning with the likes of Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and David Beckham. When Beckham became a superstar and Cantona was becoming too hard to handle, Fergie never shirked.
“But people often forget the hardship he went through when he was on a match-by-match survival course before the Premier League came about. The likes of Viv Anderson [retiring] and Bryan Robson were leaving, so it was difficult.”
During his last years at Arsenal, Arsene Wenger came under much scrutiny but the Frenchman brought three Premier league titles to Arsenal, as well as seven FA Cups. Replacing him is no mean feat; successor Unai Emery was relieved of his duties before Mikel Arteta arrived to try and revive the Gunners’ fortunes.
Wenger will be remembered for the ‘Invincibles’ season of 2003/04, where his Arsenal side won 26 games and drew 12 on the way to winning another title in unbeaten fashion. A great manager, with 828 Premier League matches and 476 wins under his belt, but could he surpass Fergie in the poll?
Pep Guardiola has not been in the Premier league for long by his fellow contenders’ standards but has an incredible resume nevertheless. The Spaniard, whose win percentage stands at 74 per cent currently, led a record-breaking Manchester City side to the 2017/18 title, breaking the 100-point mark with the last kick of the game away at Southampton.
Rather staggeringly, Manchester City accrued 198 points on their way to winning back-to-back Premier League titles, but it is not just success which Guardiola has delivered to the blue side of Manchester, insists Charlie Nicholas.
“I have always been a massive fan of Pep Guardiola,” Nicholas said..
“Pep would be third behind Sir Alex and Arsene here, but it is what he brought to the game in England that has been so special. The style he has brought has been breathtaking.
“The Spanish are tremendously humble and it might be a Barcelona trick, but Pep has been angry over certain small issues here that tell you he is not a happy winner. He did not like losing during his first year, but his style remained the same.”
Jose Mourinho, ‘The Special One’, won back-to-back titles with Chelsea during his first taste of the English game, before coming back once again for another Premier League title in 2014/15.
Controversy, jubilation and plenty of success, it had never been dull when Mourinho has been around.
“It is quite weird to put Jose Mourinho at number four out of these managers, as he was the ‘Special One’, and he won titles, but that is not the case anymore,” Nicholas said.
“Other managers have got a style that people applaud much more, and I think he stumbled across the 4-3-3 with Arjen Robben and Damien Duff, while inheriting a decent set up defensively with John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho during his first stint”.
Ranieri began his second spell in the summer of 2015 as manager of Leicester City. He went on to win the 2015–16 Premier League, after the club had narrowly avoided relegation the season prior, and was named the 2016 Premier League Manager of the Season.
During the 1994/95 Premier League season, he led Blackburn to the title beating Sir Alex Ferguson’s Man Utd, just three years after he helping them gain promotion to the top-flight.