Wally on the Lolly: Manager moments that deserve to be minted ​

Maradona's 1986 wonder goal is set to be commemorated in coinage in Argentina, but there are plenty of other football faces who could have their mugs on moolah...


The recent news from Argentina that Diego Maradona could have a banknote printed in his honour with his famous second goal against England at the 1986 World Cup sketched on one side got us thinking….. What if we did the same in the UK to capture some classic moments from some of English football’s most famous managers?


What if your average five, ten, twenty or fifty-pound note contained….

JOSE MOURINHO Running Down the Touchline

Before he became the “Special One” Jose Mourinho’s most famous claim to fame (apart from being Bobby Robson’s translator at Barcelona) was his sprint of delight down the Old Trafford touchline after his Porto side had eliminated Manchester United en-route to winning the Champions League in 2004, and that seems the most appropriate image to accompany Jose on some retrospective wonga, because, within weeks of his exuberant exercising his side was lifting the “Cup with the big ears”, as Dutch maestro Ruud Gullit once described it.

Mou arrived at Stamford Bridge to spearhead the Roman Abramovic revolution at Chelsea, ditching the dark overcoat for a grey number that became synonymous with success for the West London club who had spent years in the wilderness. Looking back to that night at the Theatre of Dreams, we’ve always wondered why Fergie didn’t actually t**t the Portuguese tactician for having the temerity to do what he did in his own backyard, but later we discovered that the two men had already hatched a secret pact to make Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger’s life a total misery.

ARSENE WENGER on the (Water)slide

The thought of seeing the French tactician only wearing a pair of swimming trunks was always an image the world could have done without – unless it’s stuck on a wedge of £50 notes – but in the summer of 2011 with his club still to bring in a big-name signing, Wenger bared all on a water slide in Corsica which confirmed our suspicions – that we had seen more meat on a jockey’s whip.

By this time, of course, Sir Alex and Mourinho’s jibing had driven Arsene to near breaking-point, so one could excuse him for dropping his guard to reveal to the world his painfully thin torso.  By the end of the summer, however, Gunners fans finally got their big-name signing when 17-year-old Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain arrived for just under 13 million quid from Southampton.

STEVE McCLAREN and his Brolly

England had not failed to reach the European Championship finals since 1984, but all that was to change in 2007 after Steve McClaren had been handed the keys to the FA kingdom. At one stage it looked as though the Three Lions would cruise into the Austria/Switzerland showpiece the following summer, but a poor second half to the campaign left McClaren’s boys having to beat Croatia at Wembley on the final matchday. After a half-time grilling with his team 2-0 down in a game being played in torrential rain, McClaren walked out to his technical area for the second-half under an umbrella and carrying a cup of coffee.

20 minutes later it seemed as though his interval rant had worked as goals from Frank Lampard and Peter Crouch pulled the home side level. When Mladen Petric scored what turned out to be Croatia’s winner 12 minutes later, McClaren, who at times had been given a tactical masterclass by his opposite number Slaven Bilic, became known as the “Wally with the Brolly.”

DAVID PLEAT invading the pitch

It’s hard to convey to our younger readers just how s**t Manchester City were in the 1980s and their year zero began on the final day of the 1982-83 campaign when they took on Luton Town, then managed by a relatively unknown David Pleat, in a winner takes all fixture (although a draw would have sufficed for City) which would ultimately see one of the two relegated. Nearly 43,000 descended on Maine Road that May afternoon and with only five minutes to go and with the scoreline goalless, it looked as though the hosts had done enough.

Cue substitute Raddi Antic, who stunned the home crowd with a speculative effort that nestled in the bottom corner to confirm Luton’s top-flight survival and condemn City to life in the Second Division. The match could be commemorated in currency with the unforgettable image of Pleat, complete in 100% dry fit nylon slacks and sporting candyfloss hair, sprinting across the Maine Road pitch to congratulate his goalscorer. The next time he ran anywhere near that quick was from an undercover news team in the West End when he was manager of Spurs.

ALAN PARDEW’s Cup Final Fancy Footwork

We just couldn’t leave Pards out of the equation so we’ve gone for his touchline robotics at the 2016 FA Cup Final, after his Crystal Palace side had taken the lead against Manchester United with a little under 12 minutes remaining. Pardew, no stranger to big FA Cup shocks after his late, late semi-final winner against Liverpool in 1990 took The Eagles to Wembley, should have known not to go too early with the celebrations and he’d not had time to towel himself down before Juan Mata had equalised for United.

When your lucks out it just is, but it’s an even tougher pill to swallow when your cup dreams are shattered by conceding a winning goal scored by Jesse Lingard. Still, not to worry Alan, they’ll be brighter times ahead!!!

SAM ALLARDYCE drinking a pint of wine

2016 was a tough year for managers and just a few months after Pardew was left with his pants down at Wembley Sam Allardyce completed the shortest reign of any England manager after being stung by The Telegraph. “Big Sam” had only been in charge of his country for one game for heaven’s sake and if that wasn’t bad enough, then surely the sight of him deep in conversation knocking back a pint of white wine caused even greater furore – just the kind of image we’d love to see on Monopoly money as we try to pass the time over Covid Christmas with a few shandies.

As Allardyce cleared his desk (and probably his fridge) at FA headquarters, he couldn’t have known he’d land on his feet and use his robust capacity for vino to his advantage, moving into the media to take up a role co-hosting the TalkSport Breakfast Show with Alan Brazil.

SIR ALEX FERGUSON checking his watch

We finish with possibly the greatest manager of all time, who should be stuck on £100 notes because they’re so rare. Take a look back at any season from 1986 to 2013 and there’s almost certainly a chance that you’ll find a photograph of Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson pointing to his watch to tell the referee to blow for full-time and that’s exactly the image we’d stick on these, complete with the famous manager inadvertently spitting out his chewing gum at the fourth official.

“Fergie time” as it came to be known was the stick that all anti-United fan started to beat Red Devils supporters with after seeing their side concede a late goal to Ferguson’s all-conquering side. Some United matches would finish so late having played so much Fergie, sorry, injury time, that you never knew their result on a Saturday until the ten o’clock news just before Match of the Day.

Cynics would point out that a referee could not blow for time until Sir Alex had given them the nod and Exhibit A of this would have to be their miraculous comeback against Sheffield Wednesday at Old Trafford in 1993 on the way to their first Premier League title.

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