Sven Goran Eriksson had a vision when he was appointed manager at both Leicester and Man City, to bring the clubs to their potential level of their best. Svennis set a standard that we all know was copies of his former work, and that was from a level of almost perfection.Embed from Getty Images
We all know about his past and how he managed to shock Europe with IFK Gothenburg and later doing great and fantastic jobs in Portugal with Benfica and moving on to Serie A and being in charge of Sampdoria, Fiorentina, Roma and Lazio.
His time as boss of England became a bit bizarre, and his side affairs often shadowed the work done with the national team, getting it almost correct in one Euro and two World Cup’s. Despite having a grand group of players, he didn’t have the class needed in key areas, and a problematic balance between players of especially Man Utd, Liverpool and Chelsea, as they never found the glue needed to be the perfect set up.Embed from Getty Images
When he joined Man City in 2007, he had a hard time finding the correct logistic of players taking over a messy situation and despite all those challenges bringing The Blues to the top of the table in the early stages of the season, with Kasper Schmeichel as an emergency, young and unexperienced goalkeeper in goal. He later replaced Kasper with other alternatives, but the connection and respect was already in place.
After a difficult end to his first and only season at Man City, his replacement Mark Hughes never lasted long either, and a former pupil of Svennis, Roberto Mancini took over and build on that first foundations, which in real did see Man City take steps to their grand return of being a top club.
Man City has since played in the Champions League final, won League Cup’s and FA Cup’s in numbers and also taken home Premier League titles five times.Embed from Getty Images
Two years after leaving Man City he returned to management in England and was appointed manager of Leicester City. Expectations were high as the contact web of Svennis might have been a key in the selection by the Thai owners as they did see a possibility to bring in stars that could lift the club fast and easy up into the Premier League.
Svennis is a type of coach you seldom would find in football today, such a calm approach, gentle and soft in every way with a football vision few might know how grand is. The way he galvanised IFK Gothenburg and made them European champions with a group of players mostly from the city of Gothenburg with a few from the north, and it all became a formula he later used as he took clubs forward.
Leicester City finished the 2nd tier in 10th in Svennis first season in charge, but as his approach failed in the next campaign, he was not given a chance to see his plattform of work getting the praise he fully deserved, and it was a bit of platter for Nigel Pearson to start working with.
The addition of Danny Drinkwater and Wes Morgan made the most of a season that ended in a 9th position mostly with players brought in by Svennis and far from a finished project as the club took their next steps, but at least a pattern and system of professionalism was in place and players like Kasper Schmeichel, David Nugent, Sol Bamba, Paul Konchesky and Andy King were either brought in or given important roles in the team.Embed from Getty Images
Young prospects such Oliver Norburn and Jeffrey Schlupp were also integrated in the group. The signing of Sean St Ledger didn’t turn out as well as we all would have hoped with the Republic of Ireland at the time seen as one of the most interesting prospects outside the top flight.
Things never turned out as well as we would have hoped for Svennis with his second season full of unstable results and a lot of ups and downs, from a great 4-0 home win v. Derby County at King Power Stadium, and then losing against Birmingham City and Millwall. It was unfortunate for Svennis and he lasted just a year at Leicester City. TCF believe his work was really the start of what we later could see flourishing under Nigel Pearson and Claudio Ranieri, with a foundation built that in real paved a path with grand similarities to the pattern from his year at Manchester City.
Few might agree with this but if you look at what Svennis did at Leicester City, he gave the place a new bit of life, a better ground base to work from and really settled a system of success at the club and with his standards you have seen the next steps taken in a grade few could imagine at Manchester City and Leicester.Embed from Getty Images
When Svennis turned up at Leicester, he had known the club inside out as he in previous years had good connections with Peter Taylor. Taylor was the interim boss of England and manager of Leicester City in the early days of this century, and handing over the job and then staying on as assistant to Svennis, helping the Swede on board in a job that no foreigner had been in before. Taylor and Svennis had their talks when bringing in Roberto Mancini to Leicester City, as the Italian international had a long and previous past as a player under Svennis.
Today both Man City and Leicester are among the top clubs in English football. First it was Man City who broke into that top four and splitted up Chelsea, Arsenal, Man Utd and Liverpool, and then Leicester being the club breaking up the top six. These are the two clubs managed by Svennis in the start of a road set to become a top flight adventure.
Leicester City are the grand example of a fairy story but what happened at Man City is also fantastic and a club gone from the ashes and back to the top of the pops. We love these stories and with the Swede doing a bit of ground work in both camps, he will for TCF always be a fantastic and great manager, a pioneer in his way of running teams and approaching the game, and he is up there with Pep Guardiola and Marcelo Bielsa in the way of football knowledge, coaching abilities and hunger for the game, as teams have moved forward with style, flair and foundations, just simply a visionary man.