Fabio Capello vs Other Top Managers – Has The FA Made The Right Choice?

While Don Fabio has been more or less confirmed as the next England gaffer, has the FA made the right choice or is it another instance of going with the second best. The idea is to dispassionately look at statistics and evaluate the various contenders for the England post.

We look at the club and the country record of Don Fabio, Marcelo Lippi, Jose “Special One” Mourinho, Martin O’Neill, Jurgen Klinsmann, Luis Felipe Scolari and Guus Hiddink. Just to compare we also have the statistics on Sven “Iceman” Eriksson and Steve “I-can-do-it” McLaren.

Years as coach in top flight

Fabio Capello: 16 years
Jose Mourinho: 7 years
Marcelo Lippi: 18 years
Martin O’ Neill: 10 years
Steve McLaren: 5 years
Sven Goran Eriksson: 28 years
Guus Hiddink: 20 years
Luis Felipe Scolari: 20 years
Jurgen Klinsmann: 2 years

Verdict: Eriksson, Hiddink and Scolari all clock up 20 or more years of experience at the top level. Capello and Lippi just fall behind into the second tier. Mourinho and O’Neill are third tier in terms of experience. Klinsmann and McLaren are relative rookies compared to all the old men out there.

Clubs Coached in Top flight

Fabio Capello: A.C. Milan, Real Madrid, Juventus, A.S. Roma
Jose Mourinho: Chelsea FC, FC Porto
Marcelo Lippi: Atlanta, Napoli, Juventus, Inter Milan
Martin O’ Neill: Celtic, Aston Villa
Steve McLaren: Middlesbrough
Sven Goran Eriksson: IFK Goteburg, Benfica, A.S. Roma, Fiorentina, Sampdoria, Lazio, Manchester City
Guus Hiddink: PSV Eindhoven, Fenerbahce, Valencia, Real Madrid, Sevilla
Luis Felipe Scolari: Gremio, Palmerias, Cruzeiro
Jurgen Klinsmann: None

Verdict: Capello, Mourinho and Lippi are the best choices with possibly the most marquee names on their CVs. Hiddink loses out because of never having managed a large club. Ditto for Eriksson , Scolari and Martin o’Neill. They would fall into the second tier here. Leaving Klinsmann (who hasn’t coached a club) and McLaren in the third tier.

Club Coaching Honours

Fabio Capello: 5 Scudetti, 2 La Liga, 1 UEFA Champions League, 4 Supercoppa Italiana, 1 European Supercup
Jose Mourinho: 2 Portugese championship, 2 FA premier league, 1 UEFA Champions League, 1 UEFA cup, 1 Porutgese Supercup, 1 Cup of Portugal, 2 Carling Cup, 1 FA Cup, 1 FA Community Shield
Marcelo Lippi: 5 Scudetti, 1 Coppa Italia, 4 Supercoppa Italiana, 1 UEFA Champions League, 1 European Supercup, 1 Intercontinental cup
Martin O’Neill: 3 SPL Champioships, 3 Scottish Cups, 1 Scottish League cup
Steve Mclaren: Nil
Sven Goran Eriksson: 1 Swedish League, 2 Swedish Cups, 1 UEFA Cup, 3 Portugese championship, 1 Portugese cup, 4 Coppa Italia, 1 European Cup Winners cup, 1 Scudetto, 1 UEFA Supercup
Guus Hiddink: 5 Eredivisie, 4 Dutch Cups, 1 European Cup, 1 Intercontinental Cup
Luis Felipe Scolari: 3 Brazilian Cups, 2 Copa Libertadores, 1 Recopa Sudamericana, 1 Brazilian championship, 1 Mercosur Cup

Verdict: Again Capello, Lippi and Mourinho occupy the top tier. Eriksson (just missing the cut from top), Hiddink, Scolari, Martin O’ Neill are in the second tier primarily because of their successes came outside the big leagues of Spain, Italy and England. Macca is the lonely caveman in the third tier.

Club Footbal Win/Loss record

Fabio Capello: 55% wins, 18% losses, 27% draws
Jose Mourinho: 68% wins, 12% losses, 20% draws
Marcelo Lippi: 56% wins, 20% losses, 24% draws
Martin O’Neill: 69% wins, 17% losses, 14% draws
Steve McLaren: 39% wins, 37% losses, 24% draws
Sven Goran Eriksson: 58% wins, 23% losses, 19% draws
Guus Hiddink: Data unavailable
Luis Felipe Scolari: Data unavailable

Verdict: Mourinho and O’Neill sit pretty at the top here. the second tier would be Capello, Lippi, and Eriksson. Macca as usual is nowhere close. These stats should be taken with a pinch of salt since records across different leagues don’t really tell the full story.

National Sides coached

Fabio Capello: Nil
Jose Mourinho: Nil
Marcelo Lippi: Italy
Martin O’Neill: Nil
Steve MCLaren: England
Sven Goran Eriksson: England
Guss Hiddink: Netherlands, South Korea, Austrailia, Russia
Luis Felipe Scolari: Brazil, Portugal
Jurgen Klinsmann: Germany

Verdict: Coaching a national side is different because the coach does not have the flexibility of assembling a team and also because his major task becomes motivating the players rather than tactics and training. Hiddink is clearly out on tops here with a wealth of experience across a number of countries and cultures. The second tier would be Scolari (because Portugal and Brazil have the same language and similar footballing ethic), Klinsmann, and Lippi. Both Macca and Eriksson though were first time national coaches which should give hope to the other candidates.

National Side Honours

Marcelo Lippi: WC 2006 winner
Steve McLaren: Nil. Zilch. Nada
Sven Goran Eriksson: Quarterfinals in WC 2002, Euro 2004 and WC 2006
Guus Hiddink: Semifinals in WC 1998 and WC 2002. Second round in WC 2006
Luis Felipe Scolari: WC 2002 winner, Euro 2004 Second place, WC 2006 semifinalist
Jurgen Klinsmann: WC 2006 semifinalist

Verdict: Scolari is tops here. Hiddink on a relative achievement level joins him. The second tier is populated by Lippi, Eriksson and Klinsmann. Macca is somewhere after them.

National side Win/Loss record

Steve McLaren: 50% wins, 28% losses, 22% draws
Sven Goran Eriksson: 60% wins, 15% losses, 25% draws
Guss Hiddink: 57% wins, 21% losses, 22% draws
Marcelo Lippi: 62% wins, 31% draws, 7% losses
Luis Felipe Scolari: Data unavailable
Jurgen Klinsmann: Data unavailable

Verdict: Eriksson does fine while Macca’s record hides the fact that most of his games were against less-than-mediocre opposition. Lippi was in charge of Italy for 28 games, in which they won 18, drew 9 and lost only 2.

Overall Verdict: The top candidates for me would have been Lippi and Hiddink. Scolari’s club record and lack of variety in his football adventures just pushed him a notch below. For Mourinho and Capello, their lack of experience in coaching national sides gets them into the second tier. Incidentally, Eriksson also falls in the same bracket. That leaves Martin O’Neill and Klinsmann in the third bracket. Both have to get more experience to rise up in the list. Last and definitely the least important, where is Macca?

Clearly, the appointment and experience of Eriksson by this analysis was not a bad move by the FA. However, the appointment of McLaren was a disaster waiting to happen. Statistics might not tell the whole truth but when a manager lies at the bottom in all parameters of comparison, it’s not something that can be wished away.

The Sad State Of English Football
Fabio Capello's Backroom Staff for England


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