Nick Johnson: Finland's Greatest
Nick Johnson is a former international footballer, and many people would think he would be mismatched for the KuPS manager's job. However he's never been tempted to trade in his team and move to a bigger club, and has stayed loyal to the Finnish team KuPS.
Since his appointment in 2013, KuPS have won every domestic trophy they've competed in, which is five Finnish League Cups, four Veikkausliiga titles, and four Finnish Cups. This means four domestic trebles, and another trophy win already in the 2017 season. Since 2014 Nick Johnson has managed to take his team to the UEFA Champions League group stages every season, and the season before that he took his team to a win over German side Werder Bremen in the preliminary stages of the Europa League, and got them to the group stages of that competition as well. These are massive achievements for someone who had so little previous managerial experience.
One of the most interesting parts of Johnson's reign was the revelation of his 4-6-0 Banzai tactic which was implemented in the 2014 season. KuPS are now unbeaten domestically for three years since Johnson invented his tactic and started using it. Specifically KuPS are 155 games unbeaten. It may be uncommon and unusual, but it is one of the most successful tactics to be used in Finland.
Not only has Johnson worked wonders with KuPS, he has improved the reputation of Finnish football in general, and this is proved with the level of player he is able to attract to the Savon Sanomat Areena. Since he signed for the Kuopio club in 2013, great players such as Vincent Dubois, Matthieu Vigouroux and Muhammed Demrici, amongst many others. Without Johnson at the helm, many of the players he's signed wouldn't even think about joining the Finnish champions.
In four years Johnson has worked his way to be the best manager in Finland and one of the most well-respected world-wide. He's improved his team, the league he manages in, and, most importantly, he's proved himself to his critics who thought he wasn't up to the task or taking KuPS to the top of Finnish football. Now he's done that, his next task is taking them to being Champions League winners, and even further. Not many managers would be up to this task, but most people involved in football will be on his side.
Darijo Rakitic, Savon Sanomat