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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

Manager Series: Jesse Carver

Updated: Sep 6, 2023

Jesse Carver was manager at Lazio in the 1955-56 season, substituting Luigi Ferrero and taking the Biancocelesti to third place, and the 1956-57 season (another 3rd place). He came back in 1961 to help Enrique Flamini save Lazio from relegation but did not succeed.

Source Coventry City website

Carver was born in Liverpool, on July 7, 1911. His playing career was spent between Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United as a midfielder. Between 1929 and 1936 he played 146 league games for the "Rovers". In 1936 he joined the "Magpies" and in three seasons played 70 league games. The war then interrupted football and his career.


After the war in 1946 he started his coaching profession as assistant at Huddersfield United in the top English division (The First).


In 1947-48 he was manager of Holland for a year, but this was before the "Orange" became a footballing force.


In 1948-49 he was back in England as assistant at Millwall in the Third Division South. The Lions came 8th.


In 1949-50 he made a surprise move to Italy and landed the job of Juventus manager. In his first year he conquered the Scudetto which the "Old Lady" had not won for fifteen years. He brought an innovative style, in contrast to the traditional man-to-man marking of Italian football.


His second year in Turin did not go so well and he resigned early in the season after disagreements with the directors.


In 1951-52 he took on the job of Technical Director of Marzotto Valdagno (Vicenza) in Serie B. During the season he became the manager and the "Lanieri" finished 14th.


In 1952-53 he returned to England and joined West Bromwich Albion. The Baggies came 4th in the First Division.


In 1953 however he was back in Italy as Technical Director of Torino but then left to become Technical Director of Roma alongside Mario Varglien I. During the season, from the ninth game onwards, he continued alone and then stayed for the following season too. The Giallorossi finished 6th and 3rd in Serie A.


In 1955 he again went back to his homeland and joined Coventry City in the Third Division South but in January was back in Rome but on the Biancoceleste side of town. He took over from Luigi Ferrero after 14 matches and led Lazio to 3rd place. He triumphed in the derby 1-0, beat Juventus 2-0 and Milan 3-1 away.


In the 1956-57 season he continued with Lazio. Again the Romans had a good season and finished third. They still had Selmosson before his later "betrayal" and there were some good wins especially a home 3-0 against Milan, an away 1-0 at Inter and an away 6-2 at Palermo.


His two positive seasons with Lazio earned him a call from Inter for the 1957-58 season. The Nerazzurri however finished 11th and Carver was not confirmed.


In 1958 Carver was back in England as assistant manager to Bill Nicholson at Tottenham. Then it was Italy again, from October 26 1959 to April 10 1960 he managed Genoa but was sacked after a 2-6 home defeat by Juventus (including goals by John Charles, Omar Sivori and Gianpiero Boniperti). The "Grifone" was ultimately relegated.


In 1961 he returned to Lazio. From the 15th match onwards, January 15, he was Technical Director with Enrique Flamini as manager. Despite a derby win they were unable to keep Lazio up and they went down in 18th place. They reached the final of Coppa Italia but lost 0-2 to Fiorentina.


In 1962 he left Italy for Cyprus and joined APOEL. The team from Nicosia finished 2nd in the league but triumphed in the Cup.


Carver then took a break but returned to APOEL in 1969. This time they finished 4th and were eliminated in the semis of the Cup.


That was effectively the end of a long career mainly between England and Italy. He won a Scudetto with Juventus in 1950 and introduced new defensive tactics to Italy, the zonal marking, and the idea of a winger who could attack and defend, the famous "tornante".


At Lazio he had two spells. The first highly positive with two 3rd places, the second less so but taking over a sinking ship is never easy and he did surprisingly go close to a Coppa Italia. With Lazio he oversaw 81 games with 30 wins, 26 draws and 25 defeats. When leaving he told the journalists to say goodbye to Lazio and all Laziali and hoped they would soon be back in Serie A, where they deserved to be.


Jesse Carver died in Bournemouth on November 29, 2003.


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