Nowadays, the combination of a technical director and head coach is commonplace in football, with this particular model proving highly successful for clubs like Manchester City, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.

This is a far cry from the 1990s, which saw a number of clubs experiment unsuccessfully by delegating responsibilities between technical directors and head coaches. Some even deployed joint managers, with Liverpool employing both Gerard Houllier and Roy Evans for a brief and tempestuous period before the latter resigned after just a couple of months.

But what’s the distinction between these two job roles and is the traditional idea of football management a thing of the past? Let’s get into it!

Head Coach vs Technical Director – The Key Differences

If you cast your memories back to the great Sir Alex Ferguson, you’ll remember that he was a football manager in the traditional sense of the word. This means that he took control over his staff, player recruitment and negotiating player contracts, while also being responsible for coaching and tactics with the support of numerous employees.

This job description is vanishingly rare in elite level football, with the roles of technical director and head coach ensuring that the various tasks of a club manager are delegated between two different people.

So, while current technical directors will typically be office based and oversee tasks such as player recruitment and salary and contract negotiations, a head coach will work directly with the players to train the team, oversee selection on matchday and develop tactical plans.

How This Model Have Evolved Over Time?

While this particular model and club structure failed on a regular basis during the 1990s, this was largely down to internal power struggles and a lack of understanding about what each job entailed.

Over time, people have grown to understand the structure on a much deeper level, while comprehending what each individual role entails and where job descriptions are likely to clash.

Obviously, there needs to be a collaborative approach between the two parties if the model is to work, and this is made much easier by greater transparency and understanding.

Similarly, clubs must adopt a holistic approach where everybody understands their vision, while technical directors and head coaches should be on the same page when it comes to understanding playing styles and identifying the right player profiles to fit any recruitment drives.

So, is Traditional Football Management a Thing of the Past?

The short answer is no, as there remains a place for traditional and omnipotent football managers in the modern game. In fact, most lower league clubs in England still feature the classic chairman and club manager model, which has been a staple of football in this country for years.

However, the pressure and scope of managing big clubs has grown significantly in the age of the Premier League, creating the need for a management model that delegates tasks to at least two different people.

This means that most clubs of significant stature will employ a technical director and a head coach in 2023, while this trend will become prevalent and most likely spread throughout the game over time.

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