First of all, I will point out the shortcomings of the thread premise myself. All the players were managers, of course, but to no great degree. Nigel Adkins, who reminded me to start this thread, was actually a professional footballer much to my surprise.
Anyway, when Wenger and Houllier came on the English scene, there was much talk about their lack of playing experience linked to their more academic approaches to coaching. Wenger, in particular, being a revolution at Arsenal, of course, but Houllier's work at Clairefontaine being show up as signs of the more intellectual approach to management.
Since, of course, we have had Mourinho, AVB and, in rugby, Stuart Lancaster but it still seems to be the received wisdom that ex-pro-players make the best managers. While some naturally talented players like Bobby Moore appear not to be able to pass on their skills to lesser players, other talented players like Clough and Klinsmann have had no problems. Arithmetic tells us, however, that most managers are probably journeymen.
I don't really know where I am going with this but I do wonder whether, in the reactionary world of football, it will ever become the norm that ex-players aren't automatically regarded as the best candidates. Of, course, it wasn't that long ago that many managers had not played professionally
Ron Noades had a dabble at management, very briefly with Palace and then a more sustained stint with Brentford. I'm pretty sure he never played professionally, I don't know about semi-pro or other levels.
His involvement and background with footy was more to do with ownership / business ventures and this obviously afforded him a way into management. I don't think he ever took a management post up again after he left Brentford in 2000; despite the successful promotion of 98/99 the following year and a half was pretty poor on-field and matched with catastrophe off it. I'd imagine the experience put him off. I also wonder how much of his management 'ability' was supported by a strong back-room staff. He'd frequently leave home games early in order to fly-off to Spain.
Does Joao Saldanha qualify? I believe he had a short professional career before going into law and journalism, then managed Botafogo and the Brazilian national side leading up to the 1970 WC finals. Allegedly he was sacked and replaced by Zagallo before the tournament for political reasons / refusing to pick players the President wanted in the side.
There are quite a few in the top tier of Portuguese club football, where it's becoming the norm, post Mourinho.
From the top of my head:
Vitor Pereira (FC Porto) only played low-level junior football, giving it up to go to university.
Leonardo Jardim (Braga), Pedro Caixinha (Nacional), Rui Vítioria (Guimarães) all went straight into management, moving up the ranks quickly through managing junior sides, then senior teams in the lower leagues before being given their breaks. They are probably the 3 best young managers in Portugal right now.
In the 80s I think Lawrie Lawrie McMenemy was the only top flight manager never to have played professional football, saw that on football focus I think. He was an ex-Coldstream Guard according to wikipedia.
Interesting. I had assumed that most of these coaches had come from an academic and/or teaching background that had lent them a more analytic and, possibly more importantly, more interrogative manner to existing coaching and management.
However, this is, perhaps obviously, a generalisation. I do wonder if, if you haven't played, you put more emphasis on the team, coaching, nutrition or tactics than collecting together the best players. I am not sure that all these managers did this or not though
- Volker Finke (16 years in charge of SC Freiburg; never played above the regional fourth division)
- Christoph Daum (managed title-winning teams in three different countries; played for Cologne's reserves and worse)
- Erich Rütemöller (managed two teams in the Bundesliga and had loads of different jobs at the German Football Association; playing career similar to Daum's)
And probably loads of others.
As well as several who have been erroneously labelled as "non-footballers" (former national coach Erich Ribbeck, for example, who played in the pre-Bundesliga top flight. Or Helmut Schulte, who (I think) had a few run-outs for Fortuna Köln when they were in the second division).