Arsene Wenger played for local village and amateur clubs until he obtained a Manager’s Diploma in 1981.
To be fair, you can see he was always more of an intellectual than a doer, and with his methodical revolution of footballing dieting, his brilliant mind was justified.
Did you know the Frenchman managed Japanse side Nagoya Grampus Eight before joining Arsenal?
Bill Struth was only the second-ever manager of Rangers and, as was custom back in 1920, led the club for 34 consecutive years.
He won 14 Scottish titles in a 19-year period and ended Rangers’ cup woes by lifting the premier domestic knockout trophy in 1928.
There’s a bronze statue of this legendary man at Ibrox Stadium.
Gerard Houllier followed a pretty traditional academic route.
He went to University, completed his part-time degree and eventually became the headmaster of École Normale d’Arras (a school in France).
At the age of 26, he left his post to become player-manager of amaeur club Le Touquet, and from there his good work took him up the ladder.
Carlos Alberto Parreira
If you ever need proof you don’t have to be anywhere near playing football to get a job as a manager, check Carlos Alberto Parreira’s CV.
He’s managed five different nations and won a FIFA World Cup with one of them (Brazil), and he also saved Fluminese from bankruptcy and went on to win a title with them.
His first job was as a fitness coach at São Cristóvão.
Arrigo Sacchi stepped into a high-profile role at AC Milan after stints from Fabio Capello and Nils Liedholm.
He faced severe scrutiny from the press, and many didn’t trust him due to his lack of playing experience, but his response to the journalists that questioned his ability is world famous: “A jockey doesn’t have to have been born a horse.”
He almost single-handedly abolished man-marking in Italian football, moved away from the libero and instead introduced the zonal pressing we sometimes see today.