With the Premier League managerial churn back in full swing, I’ve seen several UK commentators on TV and online revisit one of their favourite topics – the need to promote British managers. This topic usually lurks behind the question of ‘who should be next for the job?’
Similar to player-level labour migration patterns in the Premier League, most managerial imports have also come from other EU countries. Wenger, Mourinho, Conte, Mancini and Ranieri are just some examples of successful managerial imports.
The data below considers the nationality of Premier League managers (at the end of season only, and doesn’t consider changes) since the league became a 20-team competition in 1995/1996. The first chart shows a count of only English managers, the second takes a regional perspective, showing managers from other UK countries and the Republic of Ireland. The final graph shows the growing number of managers to come to English shores from (mostly) EU and non-EU countries.
At the end of the 1995/1996 all Premier League managers were from the UK and Republic of Ireland. As the league internationalised the share of English managers, and those from the surrounding region, has fallen. Since the end of the 2012/2013 season there has been almost a 50/50 split, if the topic is considered as regional managers vs. ‘rest of the world’ managers.
While discussing whether English or ‘regional’ managers ought to be given more opportunity is a thorny issue, loaded with political connotations, it’s hard to escape the idea that the Premier League has been a victim of its own success when it comes to the decline of the English 'gaffer'.