Today we’re delving into the legacy of some of the best Spurs coaches in the history of the famous London club. Some of these managers had extremely successful careers as players, some are world renowned managers, and others have come to Tottenham as a relatively unknown figure to have some success in charge.

This list features English icons and some of the best international managers to ever come to the Premier League, but who is truly the best Tottenham coach in club history?

Who is the current Tottenham manager?

Greek-Australian manager Ange Postecoglou took over the club in 2023, making him the first Greek, and the first Australian to ever manage a team in the English Premier League.

He’s the latest in the line of Tottenham coaches and comes with a resume that includes a successful tenure at Celtic in the Scottish league. He assisted them in securing back-to-back league titles and was honored with the Manager of the Year award during his tenure. Additionally, he clinched the Manager of the Month award five times. Now, he confronts a fresh challenge with Tottenham in what is arguably the most prestigious domestic league in the world.

Who was the best Tottenham Manager?

Bill Nicholson is going to be tough to beat as the most successful Tottenham manager in the history of the club. ‘Mr Tottenham’ played for the club, managed the club and won titles in both roles.

The club enjoyed a wealth of success during the 60s and early 70s with Nicholson in charge, including the First Division title, multiple F.A. Cups and the UEFA Cup in 1972.
Tottenham Manager History

In the history of the club, Tottenham has seen many managers. From the days of Arthur Rowe in the late 40s and perhaps the greatest Tottenham head coach in Bill Nicholson in the 60s.

In the modern era under team owner Daniel Levy, the club has employed a total of 17 managers. A few of those merely stepped in to cover, but Levy has gone from his first hire in club legend Glenn Hoddle to the likes of Harry Redknapp, Andre Villas-Boas, Mauricio Pochettino, Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte.

Spurs are yet to win the Premier League title during that era, with their last top flight title win coming in 1960-1961.
Famous Tottenham Managers

Jose Mourinho is likely the most famous name as a pure manager to ever patrol the sidelines for Tottenham. He came in with a level of prestige as a Champions League and Premier League winning manager who had coached at Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester United before landing in North London with Tottenham.

Many iconic players have also come back to the club to take over as the manager, including Glenn Hoddle and Tim Sherwood, as well as the likes of Terry Venables and Harry Redknapp, the latter of which started his youth career with the club before moving to West Ham.

Honorable Mention

Whilst the current Spurs Manager hasn’t been the coach of Tottenham for very long, we can’t ignore how well his side have started. As of writing, they currently sit top of the table and are playing incredibly exciting soccer under the big Aussie, Ange Postecoglu.

The future is bright for Spurs under big Ange. They’re currently undefeated winning six out of their first eight games and are showing no signs of slowing down. It’s too early into Postecoglu’s tenure to put him on this list, but it’s a promising start, and he may yet turn out to be one of the best Spurs managers of all time.

Ranking the Top 10 Greatest Tottenham Managers of all time

  1. Tim Sherwood (2013-14)

Nationality: English
Career stats: W14 D4 L9
Awards: N/A

There is an argument that Sherwood should not be on this list at all for the same reasons that Ange Postecoglu doesn’t make the list. Whilst he didn’t spend long at Spurs and actually only managed for a total of two years, he still has one of the best winning records at Spurs.

Whilst he didn’t achieve anything at Tottenham, he led the team to a sixth-place finish and gave Harry Kane his first Premier League start before being sacked. Giving a future Premier League Hall of Famer and Tottenham Legend his first start at the club alone could be enough to earn Sherwood a place on this list.

  1. Andre Villas-Boas (2012-2013)

Nationality: Portuguese
Career stats: W45 D18 L17
Awards: N/A

After being Jose Mourinho’s assistant for many years there was a lot of hype around the arrival of Andre Villas-Boas at Spurs. He did a good job of it too. The Portuguese coach led Spurs to a Tottenham Hotspur Premier League point record of 72 which saw them finish fourth in the table. Had it not been for Chelsea winning the Champions League, they would have qualified for Champions League football.

Gareth Bale was on fire that season and Villas-Boas is often credited with part of Bale’s growth and development before he moved to Real Madrid. He was also responsible for the signings of Hugo Lloris, Moussa Dembele and Christian Eriksen, all of which would go on to serve at the club for many years in key roles.

The former Tottenham manager has the best winning percentage of all Spurs managers in the modern Premier League era, and is certainly good for a spot on today's list.

  1. Antonio Conte (2021-2023)

Nationality: Italian
Career stats: W41 D12 L23
Awards: N/A

The arrival of Antonio Conte was huge for Tottenham. He was a proven winner in both the Premier League and Serie A, and was certainly a big hire for the club seeking higher ground. When he joined Spurs, they were sitting in ninth and Conte quickly turned the tables, leading them to a fourth-place finish and qualifying for the Champions League. It was made even sweeter by finishing above rivals Arsenal and taking a spot in the CL away from them.

As Manager of Spurs, Conte’s team played attacking, exciting football, and they had a squad good enough to compete with the very best. As successful as his first season was, the team faced early exits in both the Champions League and the FA Cup the following year and Conte was sacked in March 2023. He left the club in fourth place, and they eventually finished in eighth that season.

Conte could arguably be taken off this list due to his rant prior to his dismissal but the success of Spurs under him was impressive, and he deserves his place.

  1. Harry Redknapp (2008-2012)

Nationality: English
Career stats: W98 D48 L52
Awards: N/A

When Redknapp arrived at Spurs they were bottom of the league with just two points in their first eight games. He would eventually lead the team to an 11th place finish that season, and things looked good for the future. The following year, Spurs finished fourth and earned themselves a Champions League spot, and Harry Redknapp was the star.

The Champions League campaign under Redknapp will never be forgotten, it’s right up there with their 2019 success. Spurs beat reigning champions Inter Milan at home in the group stage before a thriller in which they lost 4-3 at the San Siro in arguably the greatest European night in Spurs’ history. Gareth Bale scored a hat trick, but it wasn’t enough to secure a point. They would return to the San Siro in the round of 16 to beat AC Milan before being knocked out by Real Madrid in the quarter finals.

The team that Redknapp put together is considered one of the greatest in Tottenham history with Gareth Bale, Rafael van der Vaart, Luka Modric and Peter Crouch all playing crucial roles.

There will be a lot of Spurs fans out there surprised to see big Harry on this list as he wasn’t the most loved manager at White Hart Lane due to his allegiances to other clubs, but his contribution at Spurs is profound. He helped turn Spurs into a consistent European team and their historic performances in Europe cemented Redknapp firmly in Tottenham Manager history.

  1. Keith Burkinshaw (1976-1984)

Nationality: English
Career stats: W182 D118 L131
Awards: FA Cup 1980-81, 1981-82, UEFA Cup 1983-84, FA Charity Shield 1981

Keith Burkinshaw joined Spurs when they were struggling towards the bottom end of the top division. He eventually went down with them but stayed with the team as they set their sights on a return to the First Division.

Burkinshaw gets the credit of finding Spurs legend, Glenn Hoddle. Promoting him from the academy, Hoddle starred in a Spurs side that bounced straight back to the First Division. He also managed to sign Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa, two World Cup winners from Argentina that were considered impeccable signings for Spurs at the time.

With his newly formed Tottenham team, Burkinshaw led Spurs to two back-to-back FA Cups and a UEFA Cup win. Burkinshaw ranks well as he is one of the most successful managers in the club’s history, with European success certainly working in his favor.

  1. John Cameron (1899-1907)

Nationality: Scottish
Career stats: N/A
Awards: FA Cup 1900-01

John Cameron is listed as Tottenham’s second ever professional manager after taking over from Frank Brettell as the player manager in 1899. He spent eight years at Spurs and managed over 500 games.

In 1901, he helped the team reach their first-ever FA Cup win, and even scored himself in the replay win vs Sheffield United. Considering Spurs were a lower division team, this was all the more impressive. They became the first non-league club to win the competition in what was the first major success in club history.

The significance of Cameron’s impact as both a player and a manager will not be forgotten. He was the first manager to bring Tottenham a trophy, something that hasn’t been easy of late, and deserved recognition as one of the best.

  1. Mauricio Pochettino (2014-2019)

Nationality: Argentinian
Career stats: 160W-60D-73L
Awards: N/A

Pochettino was loved by Spurs fans. During his five-year tenure he established Spurs as a Champions League regular, finishing in the top four in successive seasons. He even led Spurs to the Champions League Final in 2019, where they came so close to winning their first title in a heartbreaker against Liverpool.

As the manager of Tottenham, he led them to a second-place finish in the 2016-17 season, coming in seven points behind Chelsea. Pochettino introduced an attacking style of football that packed the stadiums again. They were great to watch and scored a lot of goals. He is one of the most impactful managers in club history, and while his resume doesn’t include any titles, they came so close on multiple occasions in major competitions.

Prior to joining Chelsea in the 2023-24 season, many Spurs fans wanted him to return to the club, showing just how popular the Argentine was

  1. Martin Jol (2004-2007)

Nationality: Dutch
Career stats: 67W-38D-43L
Awards: N/A

Despite not winning anything during his time at Spurs, Jol’s contribution to the club can’t be ignored. When he took over in 2004, replacing Santini after 12 games, nothing was expected of him. He led the team to a ninth place finish that season, five places higher than the previous year. The following two seasons saw him lead the team to back-to-back fifth place finishes, which was their best finish in the Premier League era at that time.

Spurs had not finished higher than eighth since 1996 so Jol’s achievement captured the hearts of the Spurs fans. In his first full season Spurs were knocked out of fourth place on the last day in heartbreaking fashion when they lost 2-1 to West Ham. Ten members of the Spurs squad were struck down by illness a day before the game, which was later dubbed ‘Lasagna Gate’.

Even with the unprecedented illness, Jol still led Spurs into Europe and is responsible for the signing of club legend Dimitar Berbatov. The next summer he signed Gareth Bale from Southampton after convincing him to join Spurs over Manchester United. As we know, Bale would eventually become one of the best players in the world in his prime.

It’s inconceivable to think about Spurs finishing in the bottom half of the table these days, with the club often included in the ‘Big Six’ talks. None of this would have been possible without Martin Jol, who provided the foundation for their success and took them from a poor, mediocre club to one that has more consistent finishes and ambition. He’s without question one of the best Spurs managers.

  1. Arthur Rowe (1949-1955)

Nationality: English
Career stats: W23 D10 L14
Awards: Football League First Division 1950-51, Football League Second Division 1949-50, FA Charity Shield 1951

Rowe is an unsung hero in both Tottenham History and modern soccer. Arthur Rowe is credited with revolutionizing British soccer with his ‘push-and-run’ style of play. This would later be known as a one-two or a give-and-go. His implementation of this system helped lead Spurs out of the Second Division in the 1949-50 season and then win the First Division a year later.

Not only is Rowe credited with the push-and-run system, but he also had a major influence on Vic Buckingham, a player under Rowe during his successful spell at the club.

Buckingham would go on to have a prestigious managerial career himself and would establish footballing culture with Ajax, the Dutch giants. It was Buckingham who discovered legendary player and manager Johan Cruyff.

Whilst Arthur Rowe wasn’t directly involved, the tactics and principles that Buckingham was known for were first introduced to him by Arthur Rowe at Tottenham. In a way, Rowe is the instigator for the current style in the modern game.

Mr Tottenham himself, Bill Nicholson, was another of Arthur Rowe’s great players. Often forgotten, Rowe played a significant part in the evolution of soccer with his players, and his philosophies spread across Europe. He deserves his place on this list and has a claim to be the best Tottenham manager ever.

  1. Bill Nicholson (1958-1974)

Nationality: English
Career stats: 401W-197D-225L
Awards: Football League First Division 1960-61, FA Cup 1960-61, 1961-62, 1966-67, Football League Cup 1970-71, 1972-73, FA Charity Shield 1961, 1962, 1967, UEFA Cup 1971-72, European Cup Winners’ Cup 1962-63, Anglo-Italian League Cup 1971

Bill Nicholson is ‘Mr. Tottenham’. He served as a player, coach, assistant manager and manager, winning nine major honors, one as a player and eight as a manager. Nicholson was responsible for putting together Spurs’ greatest ever team. He achieved the double by winning the FA Cup and Football League first division in the 1960-61 season, followed up by winning the FA Cup again a year later. He then led Spurs to The European Cup Winners’ Cup, and in winning it becoming the first British club to win a European Trophy.

Nicholson was responsible for implementing a different style of soccer at White Hart Lane. His team played with flair, and they encapsulated the fans with their play style. He signed players like Jimmy Greaves, Alan Mullery, Pat Jennings and Dave Mackay, and the club was a hot ticket on the Northside of London.

The Spurs manager also holds the record for all-time manager wins with 401, and that success certainly contributes to his spot at the top of this list.

From 1936 as a teenager, till the day he died in 2004, Nicholson had Tottenham running through his veins. He is the foundation of what the club was built on, and the road that leads to White Hart Lane has even been renamed to Bill Nicholson Way.

In 2003 he was inducted into the English Hall of Fame. He will forever be a Spurs legend and the best Tottenham manager of all-time. 

Parameters of Rankings

These former Tottenham managers have been ranked based on their accomplishments and accolades with the football club, as well as the impact they had on the direction of Tottenham’s future.


The 10 greatest Tottenham players of all time

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