Some great managers have gained infamy through saying or doing the wrong things… others simply because they are not very good at their jobs.
Here, we take a look at most notorious managers in the history of the European Championships.
Luis Aragonés (Spain 2004–2008)
Luis Aragonés is often credited with the resurgence of the Spanish national team in world football. Introducing the Tiki-taka system to the national side, Aragonés was able to take Spain all the way to European glory in Euro 2008.
Yet four years earlier, he raised the ire of the football world when he appeared on television making what seemed to be racist remarks about France’s Thierry Henry.
He later appeared to defend racial abuse directed at non-white English players during a match between the two national teams by referring to England’s colonial past.
Otto Rehhagel (Greece 2001–2010)
Germany’s Otto Rehhagel was hired to run the Greek national side in 2001. Three years later he proceeded to take a team of non-stars to victory in Euro 2004. He did this with highly defensive tactics that were unattractive to watch, but highly effective.
In an era of all-round fluid defence, Rehhagel has gained notoriety for using “dated” tactics. Yet the German’s response to such criticism is that “my successes make me right”.
Graham Taylor (England 1990–1993)
Graham Taylor is notorious as England manager during one of the worst periods in English football history.
Under Taylor, England narrowly gained entry to Euro 1992 after struggling in the qualifiers against inferior opposition in Poland, Turkey and Ireland. Taylor’s popularity as England manager went from bad to worse from then on.
Taylor was a long ball specialist and, as a result, he was reluctant to use creative players like Chris Waddle and Peter Beardsley in his squad. Instead, he picked players based on size and power, Carlton Palmer being one example.
Amazingly, he also dropped Paul Gascoigne for Gordon Cowans in one qualifier. During the Euros, he substituted high-scoring Gary Lineker when England desperately needed a goal against Sweden to get through to the knockout stage.
Taylor is notorious for his questionable tactics. He is also known for picking some of the worst players to ever don an England shirt (Andy Sinton, Paul Warhurst), often overlooking some of England’s best (Waddle, Beardsley).
Raymond Domenech (France 2004–2010)
Raymond Domenech is widely considered to be the worst French national team manager of all time.
In terms of the Euros, Domenech gained notoriety for forcing Claude Makélélé to play for France during Euro 2008. He did this, despite the fact that the player had announced his retirement from the international game.
This led the Chelsea left-back’s club manager, José Mourinho, to criticise Domenech for treating players like “slaves”.
His infamy continued to build as the once mighty France came bottom of their Euro 2008 group and crashed out of the tournament.
What is clear from the above list is that notoriety isn’t necessarily a reflection of a manager’s abilities. After all, Aragonés was highly successful, despite saying some offensive things.
In the case of Rehhagel, his tactics made him notorious, but they also helped him to triumph in 2004.
Whether successful or not, these managers will be remembered for a long time to come thanks to the reputations they earned at the Euros.