The 12 longest serving football managers in European history

There’s likely going to be a few managerial changes after Euro 2016 comes to a head. The end of the Euros also signals a step toward the start of all the domestic leagues. In turn that also signals the start of the crazy world of Premier League football. Transfer sagas and managerial merry-go-rounds! But who’s done the best to stay off the roundabout the longest?

12. Vittorio Pozzo, Italy — 19 years

Years as manager: 1929–48

We begin with a manager who has lifted two World Cups, taking Italy all the way in 1934 and 1938. Considered a tactical pioneer, Pozzo was one of the first managers to instigate pre-match training camps for the players, saying “I want players I can trust so I can work with a group of men who are both physically and mentally strong.”

11. Valeriy Lobanovskiy, Dynamo Kyiv — 19 years

Years as manager: 1974–1982, 19841990, 1997–2002

Lobanovskiy coached teams as diverse as the Soviet Union, UAE, Kuwait and Ukraine, but he’s best known as the coach for Dynamo Kyiv, which plays in the Ukranian Premier League. He won 13 league titles with Dynamo and became known for his highly scientific and discliplined approach.

10. Arsene Wenger, Arsenal — 20 years

10. Arsene Wenger, Arsenal — 20 years

Reuters / Alex Morton

Years as manager: 1996 – 

One of the giants of the Premier League, Wenger has taken Arsenal to three Premiership titles and six FA Cups. Fans and pundits have begun to wonder how much longer Wenger will stay with the team, but there’s no denying his impact on the English game and the worldwide popularity of Arsenal.


9. Juan Santisteban, Spain Youth — 20 years

Years as manager: 1988–2008

Santisteban played for the legendary Real Madrid of the 60s before taking on Spain’s national under-16 side. He won six European titles with the team — many of them with players who weren’t even born when he was appointed.

8. Francky Dury, Zultse VV/Zulte Waregem — 22 years

Years as manager: Zultse VV 1990–1993, 1994–2001, Zulte Waregem 2001–2010, 2012–

Dury managed Belgian side Zultse VV for all of the 90s before the team merged with KSV Waregem to become Zulte Waregem, which he continues to manage to this day. Dury didn’t leave his job as a policeman until Waregem made it to the last 32 in the 2006/07 UEFA cup, having just won the Belgian league.

7. Alex Ferguson, Manchester United — 27 years

Years as manager: 1986–2013

It’s hard to imagine another manager in English football having a run as successful as Alex Ferguson’s reign at Manchester United. He won an astonishing 13 Premier League titles with the club, as well as three FA Cups. Perhaps his crowning achievement was in 1999, when United won the Champions League, Premier League, and FA Cup to claim the hallowed treble.

6. Ignacio Quereda, Spain Women — 27 years

Years as manager: 1988–2015

Quereda enjoyed a nice run with the Spanish women’s team, taking them to the 1997 UEFA European semi-finals and the quarters in 2013. His best moment was probably beating Slovenia 17-0 in 1994, which is still the equal record margin of victory in any UEFA senior competition fixture.

5. Ronnie McFall, Portadown — 30 years

Years as manager: 1986–2016

McFall joined Northern Ireland’s Portadown, a team he used to play for, in the same year as Alex Ferguson joined Manchester United — which gives some idea at how long his reign lasted. He took the team to four Northern Ireland Football League Premiership titles before stepping down in March.

4. Mickey Evans, Caersws — 31 years

Years as manager: 1983–2007, 2009–

Evans was 36 when he became a player-manager for Welsh second division side Caersws. He’s still there at 68, having won three league cups and coached the team into a place in the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 2002. When he’s not managing football or scouting for players he continues his job as an oil worker.

3. Bill Struth, Rangers — 34 years

Years as manager: 1920–1954

Bill Struth holds a special place in Rangers fans’ hearts after a brilliant tenure of 18 Scottish league titles. His greatest moment came in 1947, when the team won the Scottish treble of league title, Scottish Cup and League Cup. His portrait still hangs in the team’s trophy room.

2. Willie Maley, Celtic FC — 43 years

Years as manager: 1897–1940

Rangers rival Celtic also had an extremely long-serving manager, and under Maley the team won 16 league titles and 14 Scottish Cups. In fact Maley won 1,045 of his 1,614 Celtic games, and went against the wishes of the club’s owners by focusing on training youth rather than spending lots of money on established players.


1. Guy Roux, Auxerre — 44 years

Years as manager: 1961–2005

The longest serving manager of a single football team is Guy Roux, with a remarkable 44 years under his belt. His association with French side Auxerre actually spans 53 years, having begun his career there as a player back in 1952. It’s safe to say Roux played the long game with Auxerre: an amateur team when he became manager, they reached the French Cup final in 1979, were promoted to Ligue 1 in 1980 and became champions in 1996.

That’s your lead then. 44 years. 1 club. 1 job. You’ll find it hard to find such loyalty in the game these days, but why not give it a go. Starting with a Sports course here at The Sheffield College. Go on, you know it’s the right thing to do!


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