Now, at 51, he has the top post in British football, as England’s
seventh full-time team boss. The previous six were styled “manager”; the new
man considers “coach” a better job description in 1994. “Not that it makes
much difference,” he says. “But this is the way it is abroad, and as
England’s coach I’ll be doing things no differently from if the title had
Hoddle is referred to as coach throughout, yet at the bottom of the
squad list it says, ‘Manager: Glenn Hoddle’! The Wembley programme squad
listings continued to call him ‘Manager’ until after the 1998 World Cup,
when he ‘became’ ‘Coach’, though the South Africa programme at Old Trafford
in 1997 had him down as ‘Coach’.
Hoddle’s departure was not mentioned, but the squad listing ended
with ‘Head Coach: Howard Wilkinson’ who is not mentioned elsewhere in the
programme. Interestingly, there’s an article by John Gorman, Hoddle’s
‘Head Coach: Kevin Keegan’ and the Wembley programmes continued to
call him that, yet against Sweden, he said, “It was a proud moment when I
took over as England manager on a full-time basis last month.”! The Belgium
programme at Sunderland ‘downgraded’ him to ‘Coach’, as did the last Wembley
programme against Germany in 2000, but these were both produced by a
different publisher, with Wembley about to close as both a stadium and a
Geoff Thompson, the Chairman of the FA, said, “…we are delighted to
have been able to appoint a new Head Coach in Sven Goran Eriksson.”, yet at
the bottom of the squad listing it said, ‘Coach: Sven Goran Eriksson’! At
least the programmes then remained constant.
Again, Geoff Thompson said, “…new Head Coach Steve McClaren’s first
game in charge…” and the squad listing said, ‘Coach Steve McClaren’! He was,
quite definitely, Head Coach, though, as he had his own page headlined with,
‘The new Head Coach is full of anticipation for his first game in charge’,
he started by saying, “Tonight, I take charge of my first England game as
Head Coach” and, at the bottom of the page, his signature said, ‘Steve
McClaren, England Head Coach’. Brian Barwick, the Chief Executive, also
said, ‘I’m delighted that we have Steve as Head Coach.” on his page.
On the cover, it highlighted that ‘The manager answers questions
straight from the fans’. Geoff Thompson’s welcome stated, “A new year, a new
manager, a new start.” and, on the same page, all of the England team roles
are listed, led by ‘Fabio Capello Manager’. A double-page spread of Capello
mentions, ‘…his first game as England Manager’ and he has his own statement
signed off with, ‘Fabio Capello England Manager’. There are then six pages
about him entitled ‘The Manager’, fairly damning evidence, you would think,
and guess what? The squad listing says, ‘Coach Fabio Capello’! They then
continued to call him ‘Coach’ until after the 2010 World Cup, when he was
labelled ‘Manager’ against Hungary, but then reverted back to ‘Coach’,
before changing back to ‘Manager’ again from the Switzerland game in 2011,
up until his departure.
Stuart Pearce was referred to as ‘Caretaker Manager’ throughout,
finally, some consistency!
Roy Hodgson was referred to as ‘Manager’ throughout, so they were
finally getting their act together!
‘Last week, Sam Allardyce left his position as England manager.’
Gareth Southgate was referred to as ‘Interim Head Coach’ throughout. From
2017, he then became ‘Manager’.
Wilkinson (v. Finland), Taylor and Allardyce
didn’t get home games in charge, so I don’t have any programme references
for those appointments.
So, from Venables to McClaren, they were all
coaches and from Capello onwards, they were back to managers. I think that
the programme writers got a little mixed up on occasion and maybe just
copied the previous programmes, not realising the significance of the title.
You could maybe argue that the England manager was playing the role of coach
in a particular match, or the England head coach was playing the role of
coach, but it looks to me that the FA were consistent in their official
I think that Venables was told that he would
be coach and he made it sound as if it was partly his decision. Keegan
probably didn’t listen to the suits and thought that he was manager. It was
a period when he was Chief Operating Officer at Fulham, so he obviously
didn’t care what his title was! Eriksson and McClaren were clearly Head
Coaches and Geoff Thompson was at pains to point this out in his statements,
and there was a definite sea change for Capello when the programme had the
word ‘manager’ plastered all over it.
So, we’ve dabbled with the continental coach
and come full circle back to managers. The terms are interchangeable,
really, and it still means, ‘the man that picks the team’, but with the FA,
‘manager’ probably means a bit more than it would for a club, because the
holder of the position is supposed to display an integrity befitting the
status. That’s why results come second and we never win anything!