Becoming a football manager is a dream for many. Most of us have to live it out through simulations, virtually taking team talks and experimenting with formations on a laptop while following football betting odds.
A select few, however, get to experience the real thing, the thrill of a last-minute goal, the fury at a poor refereeing decision.
How To Become A Football Manager:
At the highest level, football managers are revered as much as any player. Right now, for instance, Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp are as adored by their respective fan bases at least as greatly as Kevin De Bruyne or Virgil van Dijk.
Admittedly, the Arsenal manager position hasn’t been met with the same admiration in recent years.
The characteristics of a successful manager are diverse, and it’s no surprise when you see what it takes to get there. This article looks at the pathway to football management…
There are universities that specialise in sports degrees, and most universities will offer some form of sports course.
While these obviously aren’t a guarantee that you’ll be charging down the Old Trafford touchline, it’s a great way to build a foundation for a career in football.
A sports science degree is one way to go, but experience is always going to be vitally important, whether that’s coaching a local youth team or taking charge of your university side.
Maybe you can make the headlines as you lead your team into the early rounds of the FA Cup and defy the football betting markets.
Build Up Coaching Badges
Starting at level 1, the FA offers a range of coaching badges which are necessary to manage at different levels of the game. It’s a controversial topic, with the cost of doing these badges often criticised.
Getting coaching badges takes investment of both money and time, and is a serious commitment (particularly once you get to the higher levels).
FA Level 2 coaching is referred to as ‘shaping your coaching philosophy’, this is obviously an integral part of the development of any ambitious young coach or manager.
Level 3 expands on the overall role of a coach or manager, from looking at players’ social needs to designing specific training sessions to aid decision making.
Level 4 (UEFA A) and Level 5 (UEFA Pro) are the final stages available from the FA and are aimed at elite level coaches.
The FA also offers medical courses, starting with emergency first aid and moving through to FA Level 5, titled ‘Advanced Trauma Medical Management In Football’.
This is linked to a few of the other sections, but it’s important enough to warrant its own heading. As in many industries, having contacts, and being known by the right people, is vital.
Being the best football manager in the country isn’t much use if no one at a professional club knows who you are.
Getting Guardiola’s number after doing your Level 1 is probably a bit ambitious, but introducing yourself to people at your local clubs could be a good start.
A phone call with someone who was in a similar position a few years ago can be a perfect place to pick up advice and potentially put you in touch with others who can help you out.
Learn The Game
It might sound obvious, but the best coaches understand the game on a different level from everyone else.
Watching tactical analyses videos, reading a breakdown of how a team set up, can only aid a young coach’s insight and potentially give them ideas to try out in their own matches.
Following football around the world can help, giving a view of the different styles of play. The phrase ‘student of the game’ is overused, but it should be the aim for aspiring coaches.
Learning tactics, how they’ve developed and how the greatest ever managers view the game, is a key part of growing as a coach.
Perhaps the most important part of all: to get recognised as a coach, experience is a must.
If you’ve identified football management as a potential career path, get your first couple of coaching badges completed as soon as possible and find somewhere to apply what you’ve learned.
Contact local football clubs, schools and academies and see if they’re looking for coaches (which they often will be).
Experience is required to apply for paid coaching roles, and it’s also a great way to meet new people. It might be a gateway to build a relationship that can help out in the future.
Don’t be afraid to contact clubs to arrange meetings or work experience. Andre Villas Boas was an example of what can be achieved by developing relationships with the right people.
Even just getting the chance to observe a training session or two can be helpful to understand more about the industry and get to know people.
*Credit for the main photo belongs to Vadim Ghirda / AP Photo*