Not until 1946 did the England national team have a manager
or coach. From 1870, when England played their first match, a friendly not
recognised as official, until the Second World War, the team was selected by
International Select Committee functionaries, at first the F.A. Secretary and later the
F.A.'s International Committee. Although most of the national teams of
Continental Europe and South America had coaches from their beginnings,
England's footballing establishment viewed coaching with suspicion in general
and as unnecessary at this level in particular. The selected players simply
showed up, took the pitch and played their own game. Match preparation, if
there was time for it, was
limited to training runs, conditioning exercises and perhaps a kickabout or two.
The International Federation of Football History
& Statistics (IFFHS), a scholarly enterprise based in Wiesbaden, Germany,
claims in its book
on England's matches before the Second World War that Herbert Chapman was the team
"trainer"--a term it uses in the Continental European sense of manager
or coach--for the 1-1 draw with Italy in Rome on 13 May 1933 and that
Thomas Whittaker was the "trainer" for six matches, the 5-2 win
against Scotland at Wembley Stadium on 5 April 1930, the 2-1 loss to Austria in
Vienna on 6 May 1936, the 3-2 loss to Belgium in Brussels on 9 May 1936, and the
last three pre-war
matches in 1939, the 2-2 draw with Italy in Milan on 13 May, the 2-1 loss to
Yugoslavia in Belgrade on 18 May, and the 2-0 victory over Romania in Bucharest on 24 May.
IFFHS, England (1872 - 1940), Eire (1924 - 1940), England/Amateurs (1906
- 1940): Full Internationals, pp. 116, 126, 134-35, 147-49 (IFFHS, Wiesbaden, Germany, 2000).
Chapman, the famed
Huddersfield Town and Arsenal manager of the 1920's and 1930's, did indeed play an
advisory role in England's two-match Continental European tour of 1933, which
also included the 4-0 win against Switzerland in Berne on 20 May as well as the
draw with Italy a week earlier, but he never
received an official appointment with the England team and acted in an entirely
informal capacity. Another historian has the proper
perspective: "in 1933, despite
objections from selectors, he acted as unofficial manager
to the England team in Italy and Switzerland with considerable success.
His tactical pre-match team talks helped effect a 4-0 victory over a strong
Swiss team, and a 1-1 draw against Italy, in Rome." Tony Say,
Chapman: Football Revolutionary?", The Sports Historian, vol 16,
pp. 81-98 (May, 1996).
accompanied the England team on occasion.
at the time he was the physical trainer for Arsenal, under Chapman at
first and, following Chapman's death in early 1934, George Allison. It was
almost certainly that role he filled with England; he certainly never received an appointment
making him coach or manager of the England team.
Whittaker did not become a manager himself until 1947, when he
succeeded Allison at Arsenal. The IFFHS itself seems uncertain
about Whittaker's role. While its book
names him as trainer in the summaries of six matches taking place in 1930, 1936
and 1939, it inconsistently has him as trainer for only the three 1939 matches
in the tabular record that follows the match summaries.
role Chapman or Whittaker filled with the England team was purely on an ad
hoc basis. The F.A. did not give either of them official appointments
putting them in charge of the team, and neither ever had anything resembling the
authority of a manager or coach over the England team. For these reasons,
it would be inaccurate to include them in the list of England
When international play resumed in 1946 following World War II's
seven-year disruption, Walter Winterbottom was named England's first coach and manager. For the first few months of his tenure, he had responsibility for
the national team as national director of coaching, but in May, 1947,
immediately after England's 1-0 loss to Switzerland in Zurich, he was appointed
England team manager. Under neither title did Winterbottom have the final authority to select the England team, which still rested with the International
Committee. While Winterbottom played an advisory role in team
selection, he had to negotiate for the inclusion of players he wanted and he
usually ended up accepting players who were not his first choice as part of the
The International Committee yielded the selection power only in 1963, after Winterbottom's successor, Alf Ramsey,
accepted the manager's
post on the condition that he alone would hold authority over team selection.
The ISC disbanded in mid-63, only to be reorganised for Ramsey's first three
matches in charge, whilst he still took care of his club, Ipswich Town FC. Since
his fourth match, that power has remained with England's manager
or head coach ever since.
Over the 45 years from Winterbottom's
appointment in 1946 to the World Cup finals of 1990, England had only five
permanent managers, which works out to an average tenure of nine years.
Another 22 years on, England have had another eight permanent managers or coaches.
Terry Venables, Sven-Göran Eriksson, Steve McClaren,
Fabio Capello and Roy Hodgson were given the title national team coach rather than manager when they were
retained. The diminution in title came in Venables' case because the
F.A. wished to minimise his managerial role in view of his
business and legal disputes. In Eriksson's case, it presumably was the
result of his foreign origins. McClaren, Capello and Hodgson continued on the position.
Four managers/coaches--Joe Mercer, Howard Wilkinson, Peter Taylor
and Stuart Pearce--were appointed
as caretakers. Mercer served for seven matches in May and June, 1974
after the F.A. sacked England's second and most successful
manager, Alf Ramsey. Wilkinson twice served for single matches,
the first following Glenn Hoddle's brokered resignation in February, 1999 and the second after
Kevin Keegan's resignation in October, 2000. Peter Taylor, while
continuing as manager of Leicester City in the English Premiership, succeeded Wilkinson under
an appointment encompassing only the friendly match against Italy on 15
November 2000. He was reappointed to take charge of the
friendly match against Spain on 28 February 2001, but that reappointment became
moot with Eriksson's early assumption of the coaching reigns. Eriksson retained Taylor as a member of his coaching
staff, but club pressure forced Taylor to relinquish his England role after the
season ended. Stuart Pearce, the under-21 and Olympic team manager,
stepped in after Capello resigned, and was even prepared to take England in the
European Championship 2012 finals, before Roy Hodgson was appointed.