Ben Garner: Jose Mourinho inspiration and attacking football - what Charlton can expect from their new boss

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Moving on up: Ben Garner has left Swindon to replace Johnnie Jackson as Charlton manager  (Getty Images)
Moving on up: Ben Garner has left Swindon to replace Johnnie Jackson as Charlton manager (Getty Images)

Coaching trees are a regular point of discussion in American sports, a family tree-style template which displays the direct influence of one generation of leaders on the next.

In European football terms, Jose Mourinho’s must be among those with the most branches, the Portuguese having had the likes of Andre Villas-Boas, Steve Clarke, Aitor Karanka and Brendan Rodgers on his coaching staff at one time or another.

Less heralded among the Roma boss’ coaching offspring is Ben Garner, who was yesterday confirmed as Charlton’s new head coach.

The 42-year-old, who has previously managed Swindon and Bristol Rovers, was mentored by Mourinho while working towards his Uefa coaching badges, having taken inspiration from the fact that the then Chelsea manager had never played professionally.

"I was very fortunate that Jose Mourinho agreed to do it for me, and he was fantastic,” Garner said. “I couldn’t speak highly enough of what he did.”

Garner’s own coaching breakthrough came at Crystal Palace, where he worked on the staff of some of English football’s most journeyed managers of recent times. The Eagles at that stage took up residency on the proverbial managerial merry-go-round as Ian Holloway, Alan Pardew, Tony Pulis and Neil Warnock all took to the Selhurst Park dugout.

Given the pragmatism central to the footballing philosophies of some of the aforementioned, it is impressive that since striking out as a No1 himself, Garner has gained a reputation as a progressive, offensively-minded coach.

“His style of play was the thing that got him to the interview,” Addicks director of recruitment Steve Gallen said yesterday. “Swindon’s style of play is exactly what we want at this football club – very attacking, high press, playing out from the back and not too many long kicks from the goalkeeper. Ben suits that perfectly.”

Jose Mourinho mentored Garner while he was completing his Uefa coaching badges (Getty Images)
Jose Mourinho mentored Garner while he was completing his Uefa coaching badges (Getty Images)

Swindon had just seven players on their books when Garner arrived last summer but he inspired a turnaround that took them to within a penalty shootout of the League Two play-off final.

The challenge now will be to be lead a similar upturn in fortunes at The Valley as Charlton seek a return to the Championship at the second time of asking.

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