Foreign managers with more time in the same club in "modern football"In the last couple of decades, it has become increasingly common for football managers to be short-term, mainly because they are fired long before they reach the end of their contract. It was very common, at the end of the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th century, for managers to spend a lot of time in the same club, something that remained mostly in the United Kingdom.
Currently, there are exceptional cases where the coaches themselves consider that more than a certain number of years in a club can have different effects on the attitude and synergy between a coaching staff and the players, so they themselves decide to leave said institution before have to live those situations. However, the vast majority of coaches live in a reality where they must deliver sports results to which their work is conditioned.
If we add to that the condition of being a foreigner, the difficulty of reaching a decade or more as coach of the same club becomes something extraordinary. That is why we present below the list of foreign coaches who have spent the longest time in the same club since the 1950s (let's call it "modern football").
Bill Shankly (Liverpool - 14 years)Possibly the most important manager in the history of Liverpool because he took the reins of the club in 1959, with the team playing in the Second Division, and in a very difficult situation in most areas and then taking them to glory.
Shankly established very strong foundations in the club, where his technical staff stood out, made up of, among other names, Joe Fagan, Reuben Bennett or his successor, Bob Paisley. In 1962, he achieved promotion to the First Division and by 1964 he was already winning the league championship. Shankly remained with the Reds until 1974, winning three First Division titles, two FA Cups, three Charity Shields and one UEFA Cup.
Bill Shankly in front of Anfield
Eugene Gerards (OFI Crete - 14 years)After a stint as assistant and interim coach at Roda JC in his country, the Dutchman took on the challenge of coaching OFI Crete, which was acquired by the Vardinogiannis who were also the largest shareholders of Panathinaikos. Gerards' impact was immediate and the club from the island of Crete began to compete with the most powerful clubs in the country, finishing at the top of the Greek league, winning a Greek Cup in 1987 and a Balkan Cup in 1989, the most important trophies in the history of the club.
In 2000, he decided to step down as OFI manager, but the club offered him a position as scouting leader from which he was fired only a few months later due to being considered a very strong presence in the club which could be affecting the work of his successor. Gerards holds to date the record of being the coach who has spent the longest time in a Greek club.
José Arribas (Nantes - 15 years)The Spaniard left his native country at the age of 14 due to the Civil War and moved to France where he developed his professional career, first as a player at Le Mans and then as a coach at various clubs and, for a brief period, in the French national team.
In 1960, with a modest coaching career, he was hired by FC Nantes, where he quickly established a fast-paced style of play that led to three league titles. Although at the local level, they achieved good results, in international competitions the club failed to impose itself, being eliminated, on occasions, by low-level clubs. This was what kept the Spaniard away from Nantes after 15 years.
Arsene Wenger (Arsenal - 21 years)Thanks to his good relationship with David Dein, Arsenal's main sports manager in 1996, the French coach joined the English club from Nagoya in Japan, being almost completely unknown to the English football community.
Wenger's ideas and methods, which were considered revolutionary at the time, began to have an effect on Arsenal, which established itself as the main candidate for the title in the Premier League along with Manchester United. Wenger's peak at Arsenal was in the 2003-04 season where they won the league unbeaten. Three Premier League titles, seven FA Cups and seven Community Shields led the Frenchman to become a club legend and spend 21 years as the Gunners' manager.
Sir Matt Busby (Manchester United - 23 years)Despite being a legend of Manchester United, Busby was a player for Manchester City and Liverpool, where he left a good memory which earned him to be considered as assistant to the Reds' manager in 1944, George Kay.
The differences between football ideas led Busby not to take the job and to look for other work alternatives, appearing the offer of the Red Devils who offered him almost absolute control of sporting affairs. Busby accepted and thus began his period at United where he managed to turn them into a winning team again thanks to the team he formed known as the Busby Babes.
The Scottish manager was the manager of the English club when the Munich air disaster occurred and he was the one who had the difficult mission of rebuilding the team, leading it to win the European Cup in 1968. In 1969, he decided to step down and take on another board position, ending a 23-year stint as coach of the Red Devils.
Dario Gradi (Crewe Alexandra - 24 years)The Italian, from a very young age, left the country of the boot to move to England after the death of his father and there he began his career as a player, coach and then as a coach in the English lower divisions. In 1983, he is hired by Crewe Alexandra who were in the Fourth Division of English football at the time and at risk of losing the category for both sporting and administrative reasons.
Under his management, the club went on to play up to the Second Division, this being the most successful period in Crewe Alexandra's history. In 2007, he decided to step down and take up a position on the club's board of directors, although a year later he returned as coach, first on an interim basis and then as permanent coach until 2011.
Sir Alex Ferguson
Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United - 26 years)How could it be otherwise? Sir Alex is the foreign coach who spent the longest time in the same club in the history of "modern football". After a very successful stint at Aberdeen in his country, where he led them to become, to date, the last club other than Rangers or Celtic to win the Scottish Premiership, in 1986 he joined Manchester United to replace Ron Atkinson.
In 1990, he managed to lift his first title with the club, after some hesitant first seasons and from then on, he did not stop winning trophies with United. 38 official titles was the summary of Ferguson's record with the Red Devils, where two UEFA Champions League, 13 Premier League, 5 FA Cups, an Intercontinental Cup and a FIFA Club World Cup stand out.
From the list it can be highlighted that most of the foreign coaches who have remained in the same club for the longest time have been concentrated in England, something that was characteristic for a time in the British Isles but that has recently changed with the appearance of so much foreign capital.