The Football Managerial Food Chain

Published on 26 May 2023 at 14:13


Every new idea is a previous idea that's been adapted and that is the exact same in football. Each manager gets a taste of a previous one they admire, put's there own spin on it and creates their own philosophy. One of the greatest most successful examples of this started with Johan Cruyff followed by Pep Guardiola then to a strong start made by Xavi. Lets take a look into how it all started,,,


Johan Cruyff 


Cruyff started his managerial career at Ajax where he developed and found his favourite and most iconic system. This featured three mobile defenders plus one more covering space—effectively transforming him into a defensive midfielder. Then he had a second striker, two touchline-hugging wingers, two controlling midfielders who were in charge of feeding the attacking players, and then a versatile centre forward. This approach was so effective that Ajax used it to win the Champions League in 1995, honouring Cruyff's legacy as Ajax coach leading him on to a successful career in football.

Another stand out aspect of his managerial career was when he went to his beloved Barcelona in the 1988/89 season where he developed a team every club would dream to have featuring the likes of Koeman, Laudrup, Romario, Hagi and of course Pep Guardiola. providing him with honours such as European Cup Winners' Cup, two Dutch Cup's    and at Barcelona one European Cup, one  European Cup Winners' Cup, a European Super Cup, four Spanish league title's , one Spanish Cup  and three Spanish Super Cup's. Cruyff's revolutionary style of football, the creation of 'Total Football' and legacy will and is living on in football today. This quote of his defines everything his style was about. "Quality without results is pointless. Results without quality is boring."

His legacy and philosophy has developed todays game in many different aspects one person's game it has influenced in particular is Pep Guardiola...



Pep Guardiola


Pep Guardiola is now in his 16th year of coaching and he is on his way to winning his second treble of his short managerial career success has always followed Guardiola whether that was at Barcelona, Bayern Munich or Manchester City. In an interview in 2016 Pep gave a huge piece reasoning behind his footballing style and persistence to succeed.

“Without him I wouldn’t be here. I know for sure this is why I am, right now,; the manager of Manchester City and before that Bayern Munich and Barcelona.

“I would not be able to do what he did. You hear all these people saying: ‘Oh Pep, what a good manager he is.’ Forget about it. Cruyff was the best, by far. Creating something new is the difficult part. To make it and build it and get everyone to follow? Amazing. That’s why, when I was Barcelona manager, I went to see Johan many times. I made especially sure I went a lot in my first year when we won everything, absolutely everything.”

Here's a list of all his managerial accolades with another two still up for grabs this season:

Champions League winner 

10/11   UEFA Champions League

08/09   UEFA Champions League         

FIFA Club World Cup winner 

13/14   FIFA Club World Cup

11/12   FIFA Club World Cup

09/10   FIFA Club World Cup

German Champion 

15/16   Bundesliga       

14/15   Bundesliga       

13/14   Bundesliga       

English Champion 

22/23   Premier League

21/22   Premier League

20/21   Premier League

18/19   Premier League           

17/18   Premier League           

Spanish champion 

10/11   La Liga  

09/10   La Liga  

08/09   La Liga  

German cup winner 

15/16   DFB-Pokal         

13/14   DFB-Pokal         

English FA Cup winner 

18/19   FA Cup              

English League Cup winner 

20/21   EFL Cup

19/20   EFL Cup

18/19   EFL Cup

17/18   EFL Cup

UEFA Super Cup winner 

13/14   UEFA Super Cup

11/12   UEFA Super Cup

09/10   UEFA Super Cup

Spanish cup winner 

11/12   Copa del Rey

08/09   Copa del Rey

Spanish Super Cup winner 

11/12   Supercopa

10/11   Supercopa

09/10   Supercopa

English Super Cup winner 

19/20   Community Shield

18/19   Community Shield


Throughout this season Guardiola has altered Manchester City's style in different scenarios and analysing this it seems that John Stones has played in the covering/central defensive midfielder role that Cruyff used in his early stages at Ajax. It was evident that Cruyffs legacy would influence so many but to see his thoughts and ideas helping Manchester City go the extra mile this season is extraordinary.  A true example of an incredibly successful case of a master and his apprentice. 




The rumours have already started about whether Xavi will be the next Pep Guardiola, the Manchester City gaffer managed Xavi at his most successful period for Barcelona. It is evident through playstyle alone that Xavi has taken influence from the fellow Spaniard and is playing very exciting football only a year and a half into his managerial career at Barcelona. In his first full season he has won the La Liga title beating rivals Real Madrid by a strong margin. But the real question is whether he can carry on his success so early on in his short career so far. Is this the most successful managerial food chain? 

Let us know on our social media...



Harry Lucas

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