Sports Book of the Week: Will You Manage? by Musa Okwonga

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The Independent Culture

Following up A Cultured Left Foot, his analysis of what makes a great footballer, Musa Okwonga has turned his attention to managers.

Distilling the essence of outstanding management is more complicated, as the role varies depending on club, country and era, but he makes a well-argued stab, while finding answers elusive. Tactical genius? Not according to Brian Clough: "Tactics played very little part in my method of management." Knowledge gained as a brilliant player?

Not according to Arrigo Sacchi: "I never realised that in order to become a jockey you have to have been a horse first." Man-management? But both the softly spoken and the shouters have had triumphs. Luck, diplomacy, vision, communication – Okwonga considers all these before agreeing that there seems no common thread, except perhaps resilience.

The role is "one part glory, nine parts survival", he says, quoting the statistic that 50 per cent of first-time managers never manage again. Perhaps the question should be not how but why anybody does it at all.