Learning management lessons from soccer's bosses

Thu Oct 24, 2013 7:50am EDT
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By Keith Weir

LONDON (Reuters) - New Manchester United manager David Moyes was so keen to study top soccer teams that he drove himself around France in a hire car during the 1998 World Cup, sleeping in the vehicle when cash was tight.

Such determination helped Moyes to establish himself as one of the top managers in the English Premier League. He took charge of champions United in June, facing the daunting challenge of replacing Alex Ferguson, the most successful manager in the history of English soccer.

Moyes and his fellow Scot Ferguson give insights into their methods and motivation in a new book that combines sporting anecdote with practical tips for business leaders.

Author Mike Carson, a business consultant and Manchester City fan, interviewed the team bosses whose management skills, ability to withstand stress and tactical acumen are tested before a global audience of hundreds of millions every weekend.

Carson sets out their different approaches in "The Manager: Inside the Minds of Football's Leaders". The book is based on interviews with around 30 of the men who have made it to the top of a handsomely rewarded yet insecure and lonely profession.

Ferguson, who retired in May after more than a quarter of a century at United, fittingly gives his views in a chapter on "Creating Sustained Success".

Portugal's charismatic Jose Mourinho, now back in the English Premier League at Chelsea after managing Spanish giants Real Madrid, tackles the issue of "Handling Outrageous Talent".

Mourinho, the self-styled "Special One", shows a more humble side to his character. He recounts that he is happy to fly in economy class with his backroom staff, if necessary, allowing his players first refusal on the business-class seats.   Continued...

Manchester United's manager David Moyes gestures during a training session at the club's Carrington training complex in Manchester, northern England, October 22, 2013. REUTERS/Phil Noble