Backe was born on February 14, 1952 in Sweden. Prior to taking on Panathinaikos, he had won Danish titles with København (2003, 2004) and AaB (1999) in addition to spending a year in charge of Austria's SV Austria Salzburg.
In Greece, after a disappointing start to the 2007 domestic season - which included a 0-2 home loss to Ionikos - and a 1-1 home draw to Ukrainian Metallurg Zaporizhzhya in the UEFA Cup, Backe was sacked in September, 2006.
He has since then been a coach in England (Notts County - 2009) and the USA (NY Red Bulls). His last job was manager of the Finnish National football team from January 10, 2016 till December 12, 2016 without winning a single game.