Just over two years ago, in this piece, I wrote about English managers in the Premier League (the top division in English football). At the time there were 8 English managers in the league, and I found it worthy of note that the 7 teams at the bottom of the table were all managed by Englishmen.
Last weekend I noticed that there seemed to be rather more managers from one of our European neighbours than usual, more than there are from England. As so often before, I did some research with the aid of a spreadsheet and the results are in the paragraphs that follow. First, also as so often before, a Trivia Question: which nationality is currently represented by 6 Premier League managers, more than any other nationality?
[In case you want to think about it for a while, the answer appears after the following paragraph.]
I posed this question while watching the EFL Cup Final on Sunday with a couple of friends, guys who follow English football closely. It took them a few goes to get the right answer. Even though I have been researching this since Saturday, and came up with the question, I am still unable to name all 6 managers from memory.
Ready for the answer? The nationality in question is Spanish.
Spaniards currently manage the teams that occupy the top two places in the Premier League (Arsenal and Manchester City), and also the team at the bottom of the table (Southampton). My interest in knowing how many Spanish managers there are was probably prompted by the appointment of Javi Gracia by Leeds United (the team that I have followed since childhood). The other two clubs managed by his countrymen are Aston Villa and Wolves. (A full list of managers, clubs and nationalities appears at the end of this piece.)
The next most common nationality for Premier League managers is English. Only two of the 8 Englishmen who were in charge of teams in January 2021 are still managing in the top division, and both have changed clubs since then: Graham Potter at Chelsea (for now at least) and Sean Dyche at Everton (who are in the bottom three of the division).
There is only one other nationality represented by more than one Premier League team: Italian (Antonio Conte at Spurs and Roberto de Zerbi at Brighton). After that there are 8 countries of origin spread among the managers of the following clubs: Brentford (Denmark), Crystal Palace (France), Liverpool (Germany), Leicester City (Northern Ireland), Manchester United (Netherlands), Fulham (Portugal), West Ham (Scotland) and Nottingham Forest (Wales).
There will no doubt be further changes as the season progresses, though maybe not as many as there have been since the start of the season. “Off the top of my head”, as it were, I couldn’t name the 20 managers and their nationalities from last August and am tempted to go and look them up. Before I do that, and to finish this piece, here is a list of the 20 Premier League clubs and their managers, in order of how many there are from each country.
Spain (6): Arsenal (Mikel Arteta), Aston Villa (Unai Emery), Leeds United, (Javier Gracia), Manchester City, (Pep Guardiola), Southampton, (Rubén Sellés), Wolverhampton Wanderers, (Julen Lopetegui)
England (4): Bournemouth, (Gary O’Neil), Chelsea, (Graham Potter), Everton, (Sean Dyche), Newcastle United, (Eddie Howe)
Italy (2): Brighton and Hove Albion (Roberto De Zerbi), Tottenham Hotspur (Antonio Conte)
Denmark (1): Brentford (Thomas Frank)
France (1): Crystal Palace (Patrick Vieira)
Germany (1): Liverpool (Jürgen Klopp)
Netherlands (1): Manchester United (Erik ten Hag)
Northern Ireland (1): Leicester City (Brendan Rodgers)
Portugal (1): Fulham (Marco Silva)
Scotland (1): West Ham United (David Moyes)
Wales (1): Nottingham Forest (Steve Cooper)