Sam Allardyce will make a return to the Premier League as the new manager of Crystal Palace following the sacking of Alan Pardew. The former England manager has signed a two-and-a-half-year deal at Selhurst Park worth £2.5 million per year.

Including Allardyce, there are now just four English managers in the Premier League; the others being Eddie Howe, Mike Phelan and Sean Dyche at AFC Bournemouth, Hull City AFC, and Burnley FC respectively. But it is still a number that is far too low compared to the other big leagues in Europe.

The Numbers

Spain has 14 native managers plying their trade in La Liga - the premier Football competition in the country.

Eighteen of the 20 managers in the top-flight origin from Spanish speaking countries. The Bundesliga in Germany has 10 native managers and an overall of 13 managers from German speaking countries. The Serie A in Italy has an impressive 17 native managers. There are 14 native managers in Ligue 1 in France and a total of 15 from French speaking countries.

And that is without counting the number of coaches from these countries now managing clubs in other countries. An Italian is at the top of the table in the German Bundesliga - Carlo Ancelotti with Bayern Munich. A Frenchman is topping the table in Spain - Zinedine Zidane with Real Madrid. Even the Premier League table, like last year with Claudio Ranieri and Leicester City, has an Italian at the very top with Antonio Conte and Chelsea.

To add insult to injury, the best placed English manager in these leagues is Eddie Howe whose Bournemouth side sit at 10th in the Premier League.


Why is there a severe lack of quality English managers? Well, compared to some of the other major footballing countries in Europe, obtaining a UEFA Pro coaching license can be a very expensive affair in England.

The average cost of a Level 1 license is £152 and Level 2 is £320. A UEFA-B license costs £720 and the UEFA-A license costs a whopping £2965. The total accumulative cost of the full course starting from nothing could exceed £4000. It is even more expensive in Scotland where the costs are believed to be 25% more than their English neighbours.

By contrast, a UEFA-A license costs roughly around £680 in Germany.

This results in few people actively pursuing the goal of becoming a professional football coach or manager. Data released by UEFA in 2014, England had 1395 UEFA-A and Pro license holders. Compared to that, Italy had 2281, France had 3308, Germany had 6934 and Spain had an unbelievable 15,423 UEFA A and Pro license holders.

Which beggars’ belief as to why the cost of coaching is so steep when there is an obvious shortage of coaches?

The last English manager to win the top flight league in England was Howard Wilkinson with Leeds United in the 1991-92 season - in the last year of the old First Division before the Premier League began in the following season, which is yet another damning indictment for the FA to further increase its efforts to augment grassroots football. And reducing the costs of coaching badges might be a good start.