With the sad news of Howard Kendall’s passing last year and David Moyes practicing his trade
with Real Sociedad, here is a closer look at some leading British managers who over the years have made their mark in the Spanish league.
The great and late manager of the Everton golden team from the mid-1980s said goodbye to Goodison Park to spend two years in the Basque country to lead the Athletico Bilbao from 1986 to 1989. With the Toffees, Kendall won the Cup Winners Cup, FA Cup and league. However in Bilbo he was unable to duplicate the same level of success, although his 4th and 7th place finishes during his two complete seasons with the club were respectable enough before returning to the North-East where he took up Manchester City’s vacant manager’s position
One of the most colourful managers in the UK, when Atkinson took over at Atletico Madrid, it was likely to always be a somewhat fiery partnership. He took over for Jesus Gil, who was equally fiery, in 1988. However, Big Ron barely had enough time to get his sheepskin coat hung up before he was shown the exit quickly after only being in charge for three months. Needless to say, he didn’t have as much of an impact compared to some fellow countrymen of his. You can find more about Atletico Madrid here.
El Tel, who was another one of the big personalities from the English management scene of the 1980s, left from Queen’s Park Rangers over to the illustrious Camp Nou to the head seat in Barcelona. However, unlike Atkinson, Venables was able to prove his doubters wrong. During his first season in 1985 his Barca team took the league title, and then followed that up the following season with a trip to the European Cup final. However, life on top in the Spanish league followed by any kind of drop tends to lead to a swift exit. That is exactly what happened to Venables, who in 1987 headed back to London.
The former Wales and Liverpool legend, after he guided Swansea all the way up to Division 1 from Division 4 during the early 1980s, followed a nomadic existence across Europe’s big leagues, and La Liga in particular. On 3 separate occasions Tosh was the manager of Real Sociedad. In 1987 he lead them to a Copa del Rey victory. With Real Madrid he also had 2 separate stints and shorter spells with Murcia and Deportivo. However, his crowning glory came in 1990 when he led Madrid to winning the league title.
The former great from West Brom, Ronnie Allen was ahead of his time. During the late 1960s he moved to Spain. He enjoyed 2 years with Athletico Bilbao that were relatively successful. During his first year, Allen got a Copa Del Rey victory, then the next year helped Bilbao achieve 2nd place in La Liga before saying goodbye to Spain in 1972 and moving over to Sporting Lisbon on the Portuguese side.
Sir Bobby Robson
After the ending of his national career, the former English manager Bobby Robson enjoyed great success as a manager across Europe. In the process, he became one of the greatest names in European club management. Those seasons included one highly successful season in Barcelona where he brought in Ronaldo, the future legendary striker from Brazil, and was able to lead the Catalan giants to victories in the European Cup Winner’s Cup, Super Cup and Spanish Cup, and in the process earned the award as European Manager of the year.