In an occupation not known for the loyalty and patience shown by those higher up the food chain, it’s a minor miracle that any football manager could rack up 1,000 games in the dugout.
But that’s exactly what David Moyes will do tonight as he guides West Ham into action against Belgian outfit Genk in the Europa League – just weeks after his contemporary, Steve Bruce, also completed the feat at Newcastle United.
From Preston to San Sebastian, and from Merseyside to London, Moyes’ career has been one of ups and downs – for his brilliance at Everton and now the Hammers, there have also been dark days as Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor at Manchester United and from his Spanish expedition at Real Sociedad.
But the Scot is loving the game again, and why not as he marshals a well-drilled and physical West Ham side whose ascent to genuine top-six contenders in the Premier League looks to be wholly justified.
There was a nice quote this week from Moyes, in which he claimed that ‘we’re on the fast train to the top, and I don’t want to get off.’ You would be hard-pressed to suggest that a bloke whose managerial career started on a freezing cold afternoon in Preston way back in January 1998 – with the club on the verge of relegation from the old Division Two – doesn’t deserve to enjoy the moment.
Who Has Managed the Most Games in Football?
As Moyes joins the 1,000 club, he becomes the 52nd manager in professional football to join that elite group.
Both Bruce and Jose Mourinho just pipped Moyes to the post in recent weeks, while Mick McCarthy celebrated the landmark last season with what is now his former employer Cardiff City.
If any of that group has designs on breaking records, they will have to go some to match the record set by Sir Alex Ferguson – he took charge of a staggering 2,155 professional games in a career that spanned 40 years from East Stirlingshire to Old Trafford.
His old sparring partner, Arsene Wenger, sits in second place on the all-time list. He amassed a large chunk of his 1,701 games while in charge of Arsenal, of course, although a lengthy spell at Monaco – and time spent at French side Nancy and Grampus Eight in Japan – also contributed to his haul.
Graham Turner is a stalwart of West Midlands football, and all 1,659 of the games he managed were with clubs from the region. His career began at Shrewsbury Town in 1978….and it was at the Shrews where it would end 36 years later, with spells at Aston Villa, Wolves and Hereford United in-between.
Alex Stock is one of just a tiny handful of managers that have occupied the dugout in five different decades. His managerial career began at Yeovil Town in 1946, and a varied career saw him make the rarely-travelled journey of leaving Leyton Orient to join Roma in 1957. He hung up his boots, as it were, at Bournemouth in 1980.
Rounding out the top five is the incomparable Willie Maley, who managed Celtic for an astonishing 43 years. His turn at Parkhead started in 1897 and ran until 1940, in which time he landed a remarkable 30 trophies in Scotland. He retired at the sprightly age of 72.