“What! Alan Curbishley’s higher than me in the betting again?!”
Such is the refrain of the criminally underrated manager, the type of guy whose endeavours somehow never quite endear him to the managerial rumour mill.
With Premier League bosses across London squirming in their plushly furnished dugout deckchairs at present, news.bwin.com/en/ thought it might be an apposite moment to tilt the limelight in the direction of four managers who deserve more credit.
Diego Simeone, Atletico Madrid
Since his arrival at the Vicente Calderon Atletico have gone from strength to strength, winning the second of their Europa League titles in 2011/12 before sealing a Copa del Rey/Champions League qualification double last term.
This season they’ve taken to the latter competition like old hands and currently sit atop La Liga with eight games to go, despite losing the irreplaceable Radamel Falcao to Monaco in the summer.
Los Colchoneros fans and board members alike must be busting guts with laughter every time Michael Laudrup’s name is linked to a top European vacancy.
Sean Dyche, Burnley
A specialist in getting sides to punch above their weight in his short career to date, ‘Stone Cold Sean Dyche’ has the Clarets Premier-League bound after a season and a half under his tutelage.
Seemingly an expert in the fine art of nurturing a striker’s confidence, Dyche led Watford to their highest finish in four seasons despite having not one, but two of his top scorers sold during his sole campaign at the helm.
He repeated the trick at Burnley, igniting the scorching scoring form of Danny Ings after the club, who can draw level on points with Leicester at the top of the Championship if landing 7/4 odds about beating the Foxes at Turf Moor, sold Charlie Austin to QPR.
Stephen Keshi, Nigeria
So Keshi won the African Cup of Nations with the Super Eagles, big whoop…
Well yes, but the Nigeria side he won it with was one of the most workmanlike in recent memory, a team in which John Obi Mikel was a star.
In a national setup used to relying on extravagantly talented individuals, Keshi has forged an effective team ethic and his homeland aren’t the first national side to benefit from his wisdom.
Togo’s shock qualification for the 2006 World Cup was his doing, before, in a manner so often seen in African football, he was replaced by a European boss for the tournament itself.
Thomas Tuchel, FSV Mainz
Mentioned by Spurs blog Cartilage-Free Captain as a potential Andre Villas-Boas replacement as early as December, Tuchel has gone somewhat under the radar despite wildly overachieving with Mainz in what is his first managerial role.
Back in mid February the Rhineland side whom Jurgen Klopp had been unable to save from relegation back in 2006/07 were the fifth best Bundesliga side on points in the games since Tuchel’s appointment.