Managerial Stagnation in English Football

King7Eric

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The recent news regarding Eddie Howe leaving Bournemouth got me thinking , about the culture of managerial stagnation that exists in English football. We have clubs of a certain level, that always want the same type of manager, ideally British, experienced in the PL, who'll keep them safe in a mid-table to lower-mid table position, and then after a couple of seasons they can sack him.

Some of the managers that fit this description and some of the clubs they managed-

Alan Pardew- West Ham, Charlton, Southampton, Newcastle, Crystal Palace and WBA.
Steve Bruce- Birmingham, Wigan, Sunderland, Hull, Aston Villa, Newcastle
Mark Hughes- Blackburn, Man City, Fulham, QPR, Stoke, Southampton
Sam Allardyce- Bolton, Newcastle, Blackburn, West Ham, Sunderland, Crystal Palace
Tony Pulis- Stoke, Crystal Palace, WBA, Middlesborough

Now there are certain clubs here who's names you see again and again, the likes of Newcastle, Palace, WBA etc. Newcastle also had Chris Houghton as a manager, who perhaps fits this ilk as well. Palace are currently managed by another old head in Roy Hodgson. Now why don't these clubs take a chance on younger managers? Yes, one can say that the risks of getting relegated from the PL are too high, but nearly all the above listed clubs have been relegated in the last 10 years or so. So what exactly are they gaining from employing this old tried and tested method of managerial employment?

Why don't managers such as Sean Dyche and Eddie Howe get opportunities at bigger clubs? Clubs like West Ham and Newcastle certainly have a lot more scope for growth than a Burnley or Bournemouth, then why are the former clubs so hell bent on maintaining the status quo and underachieving? Yes, they did try something different with managers such as Pellegirini and Benitez, but neither of them were young, progressive managers. Both came to these clubs because they had failed at bigger jobs, not unlike Moyes at WH, Ancelotti at Everton and even Mourinho at Spurs today. None of these managers would have envisioned themselves at these clubs 5 years ago. They are here because they could not achieve the required level of success in their previous roles at bigger clubs. So why are these underachieving clubs happy to get managers who are here out of necessity rather than choice when you have a bunch of younger managers itching for a crack at these jobs?

Conversely, the bigger clubs seem happy to give younger managers a chance and it seems to work out alright for them. Liverpool gave Rodgers a chance, and he got them closer to the PL than they had been for 25 years. Then they went for an exciting option in Klopp, for whom this job represented a step up and he delivered. Spurs achieved great success with Pochettino, Utd and Chelsea seem to be enjoying life far more under Ole and Lampard than they did under previous experienced managers. Even Arteta at Arsenal seems to have given them a new wind in their sail, though its too early for judgement for him.

So why are clubs averse to making progressive decisions? Why didn't Spurs go for a Howe when they sacked Poch, instead of taking a backward step with Jose. Why is it that the likes of Newcastle or West Ham would give chances to Bruce or Moyes instead of Graham Potter? Especially, when compared to their potential, these clubs continuously keep on underachieving.
 

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Risk averse would be the first guess. It’s too expensive to experiment and get relegated, so human nature dictates its easier to go for the safer option (which in fairness, doesn’t always work out either).

Think playing expansive football with a poor squad is much riskier than trying to “Stoke” your way out of trouble.

Probably a load of other reasons/variables as well.

If you look at the Howe example, he probably caused his own stagnation, didn’t he? But I think there’s always been a consensus on the Caf - instead of giving jobs to the “old firm” of British managers mentioned in the OP, there are a ton of exciting progressive options out there (Hassnhuttl as an example). Good old Brexit I guess :lol:
 

King7Eric

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Risk averse would be the first guess. It’s too expensive to experiment and get relegated, so human nature dictates its easier to go for the safer option (which in fairness, doesn’t always work out either).

Think playing expansive football with a poor squad is much riskier than trying to “Stoke” your way out of trouble.

Probably a load of other reasons/variables as well.
But managers like Hassenhutl and Potter have shown this season that it can work. Indeed, even Chris Wilder with his cheaply assembled squad has done wonders while playing a decent level of football.
 

RashyForPM

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Insightful write-up. However, the answer is fairly obvious. Moyes (bar Sunderland), Allardyce, Rafa, Bruce, Pulis, Mourinho etc will never catastrophically underachieve and plunge a club into crisis. Thus, after the former 5 managers invariably keeps their respective clubs up while Mourinho squeaks Spurs into Europe, fans of those clubs won’t be wanting to burn their stadium to the ground.

With Howe, Potter etc, the possibility of them doing something special is cancelled out by the risk of them finishing bottom.
 

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I think part of it is the ever looming threat of relegation. The money involved in staying in the premier league isn't really conducive to risk taking. We've seen with the likes of Newcastle, Villa, West Ham that anyone can get relegated even though these teams have played the most games in the league outside the top 6 (minus City, add Everton).

The big clubs don't really have that threat, they generally have a player base that guarantees being better than the rest of the league and so can afford to take more risks if it means there might be a bigger payoff in the future with a better manager. Also if things go wrong at a big club, it's very easy to sack a manager, attract another one and spend £50m to correct it.

However, I do think that more chances should be given to some of these managers on the surface of it. Had Ole, Lampard or Arteta achieved anywhere near as much as Howe or even Dyche in management before being hired in top positions?
 

The holy trinity 68

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Conversely, the bigger clubs seem happy to give younger managers a chance and it seems to work out alright for them. Liverpool gave Rodgers a chance, and he got them closer to the PL than they had been for 25 years. Then they went for an exciting option in Klopp, for whom this job represented a step up and he delivered. Spurs achieved great success with Pochettino, Utd and Chelsea seem to be enjoying life far more under Ole and Lampard than they did under previous experienced managers. Even Arteta at Arsenal seems to have given them a new wind in their sail, though its too early for judgement for him.
Sorry but what success is this? In 10 years time, people will look back at Spurs under Pochettino and see that they won nothing. A couple of top 4 finishes, PL runners up once and a CL runners up place doesn't count as success. Even Arsenal under Arteta are more successful than Spurs under Poch.
 

King7Eric

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Sorry but what success is this? In 10 years time, people will look back at Spurs under Pochettino and see that they won nothing. A couple of top 4 finishes, PL runners up once and a CL runners up place doesn't count as success. Even Arsenal under Arteta are more successful than Spurs under Poch.
Success relative to what they were achieving before he arrived there. They played a CL final under him, it's not something they would have ever envisioned under good ol' Harry.

By success I don't mean anything comparable to what success would be for a club like Utd, but success relative to their previous standard in the PL era.
 

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But managers like Hassenhutl and Potter have shown this season that it can work. Indeed, even Chris Wilder with his cheaply assembled squad has done wonders while playing a decent level of football.
Yeah, I wasn’t defending any decision there bud, probably merely stating the reasons for the safety first option. I edited my post a bit after - I think there’s consensus on the Caf that the tired old formula of Moyes & friends should stop.
 

King7Eric

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Insightful write-up. However, the answer is fairly obvious. Moyes (bar Sunderland), Allardyce, Rafa, Bruce, Pulis, Mourinho etc will never catastrophically underachieve and plunge a club into crisis. Thus, after the former 5 managers invariably keeps their respective clubs up while Mourinho squeaks Spurs into Europe, fans of those clubs won’t be wanting to burn their stadium to the ground.

With Howe, Potter etc, the possibility of them doing something special is cancelled out by the risk of them finishing bottom.
Wouldn't you say the position he left us and Chelsea in when he was sacked, was catastrophic underachievement?
 

King7Eric

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Yeah, I wasn’t defending any decision there bud, probably merely stating the reasons for the safety first option. I edited my post a bit after - I think there’s consensus on the Caf that the tired old formula of Moyes & friends should stop.
I think this consensus also stems from the fact that these managers also never try to step outside their comfort zone. Yes, recently Pardew went to Holland, but why don't these other managers try their hand elsewhere? Moyes went to Spain out of pure necessity because no one in England was gonna hire him after the disaster at Utd. Why don't the likes of Allardyce or Hughes spend a couple of years in Germany or France? Nowadays we see loads of English players going abroad, what's stopping the managers from going and expanding their horizons?
 

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There has been a lot of examples of teams taking punts on young progressive managers while booting out a "safe" option.

Brighton done it last summer, Saints have done it three times now (Adkins/Poch, Puel/Pellegrino and Hughes/Ralph) spectacularly getting it right twice, Wolves did it, Watford do it reguarly, Palace tried it and bottled it, Fulham done it, Leicester tried it with Shakespeare (not as young but still was his first manager gig) a few off the top of my head.

And the ironic thing is these clubs when they make these decisions get blasted for "getting ideas above their station" or "not knowing how good they've got it with (insert safe defensive manager's name here)" with scores of comments from fans of elite clubs wishing relegation on them.
 

passing-wind

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I think part of it is the ever looming threat of relegation. The money involved in staying in the premier league isn't really conducive to risk taking. We've seen with the likes of Newcastle, Villa, West Ham that anyone can get relegated even though these teams have played the most games in the league outside the top 6 (minus City, add Everton).
This is the reality of the situation, the owners will always go for managers with experience irrespective of how much promise a younger prospect has prior to the level of risk associated. I don't really blame this approach either, we as football fans are consumers to the game due to entertainment / passion / following but for the most part the owners of clubs are simply supporting an investment.

I do however think the likes of West Ham and Everton should have taken more of a gamble given they are usually high mid table teams (also given their infrastructure) but when you consider how close to relegation the hammers could have been it provides insight into the nature of the league. I reckon Howe could be in contention for a few jobs in the league depending on the circumstances of next season. His next appointment could determine the trajectory of his managerial career I'd enjoy seeing how he progresses at a top 10 team.
 

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However, I do think that more chances should be given to some of these managers on the surface of it. Had Ole, Lampard or Arteta achieved anywhere near as much as Howe or even Dyche in management before being hired in top positions?
I think that stint that Hodgson had at Liverpool and especially Moyes at United have ended any hopes of this happening soon.
 

King7Eric

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There has been a lot of examples of teams taking punts on young progressive managers while booting out a "safe" option.

Brighton done it last summer, Saints have done it three times now (Adkins/Poch, Puel/Pellegrino and Hughes/Ralph) spectacularly getting it right twice, Wolves did it, Watford do it reguarly, Palace tried it and bottled it, Fulham done it, Leicester tried it with Shakespeare (not as young but still was his first manager gig) a few off the top of my head.

And the ironic thing is these clubs when they make these decisions get blasted for "getting ideas above their station" or "not knowing how good they've got it with (insert safe defensive manager's name here)" with scores of comments from fans of elite clubs wishing relegation on them.
I think this mentality started, at least that's when I first noted it, when Curbishley left Charlton, because even though it was his decision to leave, there was a lot of noise from Charlton fans about how they were tired of being mid table and wanted to make the next step. They promptly got relegated the next season and never reached the PL again. Since, then its almost an anathema to wish for improvement upon your current station, by appointing a different manager. Arsenal after Wenger is another example from the opposite end of the table.
 

Sandikan

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Moyes bar Sunderland?! Ahem
Did wonder about his Moyes comment!

I wouldn't have wanted to risk finding out but it would have been interesting to see if taking us to 7th was bottoming us out or whether he could taken us a lot lower given time.
 

Henandez14

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I think there’s a general lack of ideas in that demographic. However I have high hopes for Lampard and McKenna
 

JulesWinnfield

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The only clubs to play in the premier league through all the 2010's were the big six and Everton. If you manage one of the others, chances are your luck will be out eventually. One bad season on transfers, one bad season of injuries, that's all it takes and you can be pretty easily relegated regardless of how easily you stayed up last season.

So eventually you'll likely get a bad season to your name, and English football tends to be very unforgiving to someone who had one bad season in the premier, whereas in other leagues there seems to be less stigma against a bad job, yet alone a single bad season. In England however you already see Howe's achievement of getting Bournemouth from league 2 to premier league and keeping them comfortably there for 4 seasons is now written off because one bad season. He basically did as good a job as any manager could have with Bournemouth for 90% of his time there and it still won't be enough.
 

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There are two mindsets here, and it really separates the ‘ambitious’ clubs from the non-ambitious clubs:
1) These dull, British managers are the ‘safe pair of hands’ clubs with zero ambitions need to keep them ticking over.
2) Because they are British, and have British sounding names, they will never get the opportunity to be successful at a bigger club. Steve Bruce was far more experienced than Ole, but can you imagine the outcry if we had employed him instead? The unknown quantity seems to be favoured in virtually all aspects of football now - hence people regard the nebulous concept of ‘potential’ and ‘ceilings’ as more valuable than proven ability.

It would be an interesting experiment to put Neil Warnock in charge of Man City. I expect he’d do quite well.
 

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No English manager has ever won the premier league.
As I am not English I would really want to know if it was possible if Howard Wilkinson could have won one if he went to join a proper stable club with some cash reserves and a bit of ambition. He could have went to Arsenal but Leeds rejected it. Who knows...
 

The holy trinity 68

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Success relative to what they were achieving before he arrived there. They played a CL final under him, it's not something they would have ever envisioned under good ol' Harry.

By success I don't mean anything comparable to what success would be for a club like Utd, but success relative to their previous standard in the PL era.
That is still not successful. You can spin it anyway you want, if you don’t win a trophy it isn’t success.
 

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Harry Rednap would do ok. Mark Hughes probably the worst in the premier league era... you're destined to be near the bottom in season 2.
 

TwoSheds

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There are two mindsets here, and it really separates the ‘ambitious’ clubs from the non-ambitious clubs:
1) These dull, British managers are the ‘safe pair of hands’ clubs with zero ambitions need to keep them ticking over.
2) Because they are British, and have British sounding names, they will never get the opportunity to be successful at a bigger club. Steve Bruce was far more experienced than Ole, but can you imagine the outcry if we had employed him instead? The unknown quantity seems to be favoured in virtually all aspects of football now - hence people regard the nebulous concept of ‘potential’ and ‘ceilings’ as more valuable than proven ability.

It would be an interesting experiment to put Neil Warnock in charge of Man City. I expect he’d do quite well.
I think not many managers sustain a high level well into their 50s and 60s generally speaking. The ones who do tend to have to reinvent themselves and refresh their coaching staff from time to time. Fact is it's easier to relate to modern footballers if you've been one more recently, and it's easier to innovate in your coaching when you've never really had a coaching style than when you've been doing it successfully in a particular way for a couple of decades. People forget Hughes was once quite highly rated for example.

On the other hand they always have a certain confidence and understanding that only comes with many years of achievement and a variety of experience. As regards your Neil Warnock comment I think he'd do relatively well tactically, transfer wise etc but he'd struggle getting the superstars to believe in him, that would be the main problem I think. His man management would rely on players having a faith in him that would be much more easily found in Championship players than in Champions League ones. See Moyes for example.
 

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I think bigger clubs can afford to be more adventurous in going for younger managers because they have the budget to correct mistakes when they happen with hires (Moyes at United as an example) and they have the safety net of a talented enough squad that even if the bottom falls off, they won't be in relegation threat. For clubs like Newcastle, Sunderland, West Ham, the squad retention isn't great in terms of quality as the players seek a step up if they are good plus the relegation threat is very much real and happened before so they cannot afford to be taking chances on both players and managers at once.

There's ofcourse Southampton, who appear to be the exception to the norm but they have really good executive team with an eye for talent.
 

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Progressive managers should be favoured, the problem with a lot of managers is they can only play the way they have always played and don’t move with the times.
 

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But would they build a squad to win the league?

https://www.planetfootball.com/quic...hodgsons-eight-signings-as-liverpool-manager/ Not gunna win you the league.
I don't think clubs like Newcastle or West Ham aim to win the league at this moment. A European spot would be good enough for them and quite frankly it's what a club their size should be aiming for. The managers I mentioned are capable of getting them up to that level, if shown a little patience and faith.
 

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I think a lot of it has to do with owners at clubs as much as anything else. Ashley and Gold/Sullivan for example don't strike me as the type of people who would be interested in going for an outside candidate but feel safety in choosing someone they feel knows the league and they know about. As people have said though quite a few clubs have tried it and I think the league is actually getting better for it.

Liverpool/City have arguably 2 of the best managers in the world.

United and Chelsea both have ex-legends who are early in their managerial careers.

Leicester have a good manager who was progressing at Liverpool, stumbled but is back on track again.

No qualms with this bunch tbh.

Spurs had an ambitious and progressive manager but it didn't work out and replaced him with someone who generally does fairly well when he first enters a club and has a very strong managerial background (ex best in the world). I can see their arguments for wanting him over someone else.

Wolves and SU both have excellent progressive managers.

Arsenal also went the ex-pro route and they've won a cup with him within 6 months.

Burnley and Southampton both have great managers for their respective side.

Everton - we tried with Martinez and Silva to bring up a new and relatively exciting manager but both ended up failing. I think because of the money we have spent we really need to make it count and make a statement now and Ancelotti has done a good job with what he's working with. Too early to call how this one will turn out but early signs are promising.

Newcastle/Palace/West Ham seem to be the only clubs that are kind of suffering still with the managerial merrygoround. Palace did try to go for someone like De Boer but that was a disaster so went back to safety with Hodgson and it's been working well for them.

Brighton have an excellent progressive manager in Potter and although I don't rate Smith at Villa, they could have easily sacked him and brought someone else in during the season but they trusted in the manager who got them promoted.

So that's all the clubs that are still in the PL and I think that the PL is actually doing quite well to give fresh faces a chance. There are 2 or 3 clubs that are still stuck in the cycle and clubs like Everton/Spurs who are the maybes so it's understandable they are going for proven CL/PL winners but we have 3 'big' clubs in Chelsea, United and Arsenal who have young progressive managers and a bunch of others in the league who do also.
 

ivaldo

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Is that necessarily true? Southampton appointed Hasenhüttl, Norwich Farke, Everton Marco Silva, Villa Dean Smith, Brighton Potter, Palace De Boer, Wolves Santo etc in the last few seasons. None of them are particularly established, and with the exception of Silva, who had a season at Watford, none of them came with PL experience.

Those managers you mentioned tend to get appointed when a club is in trouble, and to their credit, they usually get them out of it.
 

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I think this consensus also stems from the fact that these managers also never try to step outside their comfort zone. Yes, recently Pardew went to Holland, but why don't these other managers try their hand elsewhere? Moyes went to Spain out of pure necessity because no one in England was gonna hire him after the disaster at Utd. Why don't the likes of Allardyce or Hughes spend a couple of years in Germany or France? Nowadays we see loads of English players going abroad, what's stopping the managers from going and expanding their horizons?
Why would anyone want them? They probably cost a ton relative to their qualification, because of PL wage levels and perhaps most importantly they don't speak the language. I won't pretend to be an expert on judging the quality of coaching, but Italian clubs, always seem to come up with interesting coaches, the Spanish sphere even more so and the German sphere has been shitting out young "modern" coaches like clockwork these past couple of years. What do these English coaches offer that would make a foreign club pay extra and take on the risk of the language barrier?
 

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Is that necessarily true? Southampton appointed Hasenhüttl, Norwich Farke, Everton Marco Silva, Villa Dean Smith, Brighton Potter, Palace De Boer, Wolves Santo etc in the last few seasons. None of them are particularly established, and with the exception of Silva, who had a season at Watford, none of them came with PL experience.

Those managers you mentioned tend to get appointed when a club is in trouble, and to their credit, they usually get them out of it.
Santo was manager of Porto and Valencia if I'm not mistaken. Also, the case with Wolves is a bit different because of their relationship with Jorge Mendes. De Boer was sacked after 7 games, was it?

The rest of them, yes I agree, clubs chose to give young managers a chance and with the exception of Silva at Everton, I think it worked out well for them. Norwich got relegated but I don't think they expected to stay up, given the amount of money they spent.

Hasenhuttl is a prime example of a manager who went through a bad phase, but the club stuck with him and he got them out showing considerable progress. I think Potter is another one who's gonna do well.
 

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Why would anyone want them? They probably cost a ton relative to their qualification, because of PL wage levels and perhaps most importantly they don't speak the language. I won't pretend to be an expert on judging the quality of coaching, but Italian clubs, always seem to come up with interesting coaches, the Spanish sphere even more so and the German sphere has been shitting out young "modern" coaches like clockwork these past couple of years. What do these English coaches offer that would make a foreign club pay extra and take on the risk of the language barrier?
Exactly my point. These managers offer nothing new, so why do underachieving English clubs hire them?

And at one point, it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. These guys don't go abroad, so clubs offer them a job, and hence they can't go abroad. But we have seen the likes of McLaren and Pardew go to the Netherlands. So it is possible if they try. Yes the language barrier would be an issue in Spain and Italy but they could get by with English in Germany, at least until they pick up the language. Plus they can always hire translators initially.
 

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This is true enough but survival is worth so much they can’t take the risk. Palace did one year getting De Boer and he lost his first 4 games without scoring so the board shit themselves.
 

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I think that stint that Hodgson had at Liverpool and especially Moyes at United have ended any hopes of this happening soon.
Yeah you're probably right, I think mentality comes into it as well. Some managers exude confidence and authority. Having a top level playing career like Arteta, Ole and Lampard had compared to Moyes and Hodgson helps handle egos and demand respect. I just don't think players want to buy in with a manager who is basically nothing to them. We see teams down tools for ostensibly top managers, let alone the likes of Graham Potter and Eddie Howe.

I can't really think of an instance where a manager came into a top 6 side and didn't have either a managerial or playing CV better than the squad they were managing (and be successful).
 

do.ob

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Exactly my point. These managers offer nothing new, so why do underachieving English clubs hire them?

And at one point, it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. These guys don't go abroad, so clubs offer them a job, and hence they can't go abroad. But we have seen the likes of McLaren and Pardew go to the Netherlands. So it is possible if they try. Yes the language barrier would be an issue in Spain and Italy but they could get by with English in Germany, at least until they pick up the language. Plus they can always hire translators initially.
I mean the answer is pretty obvious and has already been given. They take "PL proven" coaches, because they are looking for a "safe" choice.

And the language barrier is a big one. German is hard to learn for most people and I don't think clubs would want a coach who has to communicate through a translator. Even Guardiola had to learn German relatively well before he started at Bayern. After Ancelotti they were so insistent on a German coach they went with the rather ill-fitting Kovac. Or take Salzburg even, they have Jesse Marsch, an American coach, their entire model is to develop foreign talent and yet in that famous half time speech against Liverpool they uploaded you can see that he's trying to stick to German.

I also think you underestimate some of the coaches in your other post. Frank de Boer coached Ajax for like 5 years and had his short lived Inter stint, Hasenhüttl coached Leipzig and left there with his head held fairly high. Leaving aside the unavoidable risk that comes with hiring someone from a different league those two and Santo were absolute steals for their new clubs.
 
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Because.. they're not that good to manage top teams? and not suitable/convincing enough?

It's a high risk. too big to gamble.
Pool arguably land a success with Rodgers, but City did not with Hughes. Both of them did well with their previous clubs (Hughes work with Blackburn is really impressive and he had connection with SAF and United so a new top-club wannabe City may felt convinced enough, I'm not too sure with Rodgers though but his CV is really interesting, so that may convinced Pool's higher-ups enough). We also failed with Moyes but that's perhaps a "special case".

The other managers are not really that impressive. Howe maybe the closest in recent years but he doesn't have any "connections" with any of the top teams.

That "connections" matters a lot especially if your previous work with other clubs is not really that impressive or you're a total newbie. Eg. the case of Ole, Arteta and Lampard. If you're a well-respected ex-players or coaches, even more if you're legends, then at least the players will respect you and they will more incline to listen and follow you. Zidane and Pep are the best examples of this but at different league. Happened to Ole, Arteta and Lampard too.

Interesting we only gave Ole a try-out as caretaker (a safer risk for half-a-season) where he basically impressed and won himself the job permanently. That's what we called "risk-management" since Ole may become Moyes 2.0 in terms of results but thankfully he did not and knows what he's doing.
 

ivaldo

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Santo was manager of Porto and Valencia if I'm not mistaken. Also, the case with Wolves is a bit different because of their relationship with Jorge Mendes. De Boer was sacked after 7 games, was it?

The rest of them, yes I agree, clubs chose to give young managers a chance and with the exception of Silva at Everton, I think it worked out well for them. Norwich got relegated but I don't think they expected to stay up, given the amount of money they spent.

Hasenhuttl is a prime example of a manager who went through a bad phase, but the club stuck with him and he got them out showing considerable progress. I think Potter is another one who's gonna do well.
That's beside the point. They don't fall into the category of the 'stagnated manager' pool. They're still relatively inexperienced, and are certainly a risk. The point being they have been willing to take those risks as opposed to appointing a Moyes or a Pulis.