We have listed five head coaches who could be said to be amongst the best Tottenham managers- past and present- in the club's history.
Last Updated: 15/06/23 at 11:50
Tottenham’s history has seen them have success at various points over the years. Of course, to achieve such success, you need a good manager at the helm, steering the ship towards the silverware.
We have recently covered eight Tottenham legends, and now we are going to display five of the best Tottenham managers from past and present day.
Years Managed: 1899 - 1907 │ Major Honours: 1
Kicking off this list is John Cameron, the man who brought Tottenham their first pieces of silverware.
Cameron was brought in by Frank Brettell, Spurs’ first ever manager, in 1898. After Brettell only lasted a year in the job, Cameron took over as player-manager in 1899.
His impact was immediate, as Spurs would win the Southern League title in his first season in charge.
But more impressively, in the very next season, Cameron guided his side to FA Cup glory. By achieving this, Tottenham became the first and still to-date the only non-league club to win the FA Cup since the formation of the football league in 1888.
Cameron stayed with Spurs until 1907, and while he was unable to capture anymore major honours, he did lead his side to positive finishes in all competitions, and for that, his legacy as a Tottenham great is forever solidified.
Years Managed: 1949 - 1955 │ Major Honours: 3
Arthur Rowe earns his place for one simple reason; he brought Tottenham their first league title.
Rowe took charge leading into the 1949/50 season, when Spurs were in the Second Division. In his first year, he led them through a strong league campaign that saw them first- nine points ahead of second place and with eight wins more than any other team.
More impressively though, was that just the very next season, their first year back in the top flight, Rowe guided Tottenham to their first ever First Division title. This made them the first side to win the Second and First Divisions in successive seasons.
The team then backed up the league title victory by winning the 1951 Community Shield to make it 3 major honours for Rowe.
While he may not have won the most trophies as Spurs manager, Rowe is remembered for being the first to deliver a top flight title.
But he is also known for something much, much bigger, because the thing that made Rowe and that Spurs team so successful was the implementation of a tactic he had invented that is simply known as the one-two.
At the time, Rowe could not have known that his tactic would become one of the most commonly used and widely known moves in football. You may know it as a different term, - give-and-go, push-and-run etc. - but the fact remains that it is now taught as one of the basic moves of football.
Years Managed: 1958 - 1974 │ Major Honours: 11
From the first manager to bring them silverware to the first to bring them European success, Bill Nicholson is Tottenham’s most successful manager of all time.
Nicholson joined Tottenham as a youth player in 1936 after being invited for a trial at 17 years old. He proceeded to stay with the club until 1974, working his way from a young talent to being part of the senior team, then becoming part of the coaching staff upon his retirement, before eventually taking the role as manager in 1958.
When he was appointed manager, there was no way of telling what was about to come for Tottenham Hotspur FC. The season prior, they finished sixth from the bottom of the First Division.
Nicholson turned the club around almost instantly. A third place in the league in his first season in charge was then preceded by an incredible achievement - becoming the first team in the 20th century to win the “double”, claiming the First Division title and winning the FA Cup in the 1960/61 season.
Nicholson kept that winning up, achieving back-to-back FA Cup victories by winning it again a year later in 1962. The following year, he put the club in the English football history books once again by guiding them to European Cup Winners’ glory - marking the first British club to win a major European trophy.
Tottenham kept on winning under Nicholson, achieving practically every major honour possible at the time, including their first UEFA Cup victory in 1972 (you may know that competition by its current name, the Europa League).
Here is a full list of the trophies Tottenham won while under the guidance of Nicholson:
- x1 First Division: 1960/61
- x3 FA Cup: 16060/61, 1961/62, 1966/67
- x2 League Cup: 1970/71, 1972/73
- x3 Community Shield: 1961, 1962, 1967
- x1 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup: 1962/63
- x1 UEFA Cup: 1971/72
Years Managed: 1976 - 1984 │ Major Honours: 4
Keith Burkinshaw is another one of Tottenham’s most successful managers. He had an eight year reign, and in that time won four major honours, making him the second most decorated Spurs manager of all time.
Unlike the other managers before him on this list, Burkinshaw did not pick up any silverware immediately after being appointed manager. It took him four seasons before he was able to get anything going.
In fact, Burkinshaw’s first season was so opposite to the other managers, Tottenham actually finished bottom of the First Division, and as such were relegated to the Second Division.
No issues, though, as Burkinshaw guided the team to a third place finish the next season, meaning they were going straight back up to the top flight for the 1978/79 season.
The next two years were rather unremarkable, but finally, in the 1980/81 season, Burkinshaw found some success and claimed his first piece of silverware with Spurs, winning the FA Cup that season.
That kick started a small run of glory, with back-to-back FA Cups, a shared Community Shield in 1981, and the clubs second UEFA Cup in 1984.
The UEFA Cup victory was in fact Burkinshaw’s last hurrah, as he left the club after that game over a disagreement with the board. Despite this, his name still goes down in the Tottenham history books.
Years Managed: 2014 - 2019 │ Major Honours: 0
You may be thinking, how can a manager with zero major honours make this list?
Mauricio Pochettino is very different from the rest on this list, as while he didn’t win any silverware, he did guide Spurs to three straight top four finishes, something that hadn’t been done since the early 1960s when Nicholson was in charge.
And let’s not forget, he took them all the way to the Champions League final after a remarkable Semi-final tie against Ajax. This was Tottenham's first ever Champions League/ European Cup final.
Then there’s the fact that without Pochettino, there may not be a Harry Kane, as he gave Kane his opportunity to start as the striker over Roberto Soldado - a bigger gamble at the time to what it may seem like now.
There was also the fact that he brought in and provided chances to players such as Dele Alli, Son Heung-min, Eric Dier and Toby Alderweireld.
Pochettino brought along with him a positive, attacking style of football that focuses on a high and quick-press system that unnerves the opposition in the attempt to work the ball into the box.
The Argentine came into the club at a good time and brought with him a passion for developing the team to build a proper contender, something he very much achieved in his five years with the club. For that, he deserves his place on this list.
Are you looking forward to Tottenham's 23/24 Premier League season?
Explore Tottenham Hotspur hospitality now for upcoming fixtures and book your place today!Book Tottenham Hotspur hospitality