What is a Gaffer in Soccer?

What is a Gaffer in Soccer?

You probably landed here because you just heard of the term “gaffer” in soccer and are wondering what it is.

We did too!

In soccer, a gaffer is simply another term for the head coach or manager of a team.

In this shorter-than-usual post, we’ll dive deeper into the history of the term “gaffer” and its significance in the world of soccer.

What is a Gaffer in Soccer?

A gaffer is a term used to describe the soccer coach or manager of a team.

The term “gaffer” originated in the British construction industry to refer to the foreman or boss of a work crew.

In soccer, the term has been adopted to describe the person in charge of managing and coaching a team.

The Role of a Gaffer in Soccer

The role of a gaffer in soccer is critical to the success of a team. They are responsible for setting the team’s overall strategy and tactics, deciding which players to field, and making substitutions during games.

The gaffer also works closely with the team’s coaching staff to develop training programs and drills that help players improve their skills and fitness levels.

In addition to their on-field responsibilities, the gaffer is also responsible for managing the team’s off-field activities.

This sometimes includes working with the team’s management to secure funding for the team, negotiating player contracts, and managing the team’s travel arrangements for away games.

The gaffer plays a vital role in the success of the soccer season. Although the players are on the field, the coach or manager has a huge impact behind the scenes.

Some of the Best Gaffers of All-time


  • Sir Alex Ferguson – The former manager of Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson is widely regarded as one of the greatest coaches in soccer history. He led Manchester United to 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups, and two UEFA Champions League titles during his tenure.
  • Pep Guardiola – Currently the manager of Manchester City, Pep Guardiola has won numerous titles with various clubs, including FC Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Manchester City. He is known for his innovative tactics and possession-based style of play.
  • Jose Mourinho – Known as “The Special One,” Jose Mourinho has won titles with multiple clubs, including FC Porto, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, and Chelsea. He is known for his tactical flexibility and ability to motivate his players.
  • Carlo Ancelotti – Carlo Ancelotti has won three UEFA Champions League titles as a coach, two with AC Milan and one with Real Madrid. He is known for his calm demeanor and ability to manage big-name players.
  • Rinus Michels – Considered the father of Dutch soccer, Rinus Michels is known for his development of the “Total Football” style of play. He led the Netherlands to the World Cup final in 1974 and is widely regarded as one of the most influential coaches in soccer history.
  • Arrigo Sacchi – Arrigo Sacchi led AC Milan to back-to-back European Cup titles in 1989 and 1990. He is known for his focus on defensive organization and pressing tactics.
  • Bill Shankly – Bill Shankly is one of the most successful managers in Liverpool FC history, leading the club to three First Division titles, two FA Cups, and one UEFA Cup. He is also credited with transforming Liverpool into a dominant force in English soccer.
  • Johan Cruyff – Johan Cruyff is considered one of the greatest players in soccer history, but he also had a successful coaching career. He led FC Barcelona to four consecutive La Liga titles and the club’s first European Cup title in 1992. He is also credited with popularizing the “tiki-taka” style of play.
Beau Bridges - Soccer Novo Hey 👋 I’m Beau. A proud Dad, former coach and soccer enthusiast. I continue to love the game of soccer today the same way I did when I was 7. I created soccernovo.com to share what I know about the game as well as provide a platform so other parents can learn more about youth soccer in the U.S.

Find a Club Near You

Be in the know for everything soccer in the U.S. 🥳️

SoccerNovo was built out of pure passion for the game of soccer. Our team provides helpful and entertaining content that helps players become better and enjoy the game more.
© 2023 SoccerNovo, LLC. Trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners.
SoccerNovo is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases but there's no cost to you.