I don’t know about you, but I remember a time when Premier League managers were a breed apart…seriously, what species is Iain Dowie anyway? British dugouts were festooned with “proper football men” (which is shorthand for tattily dressed, chain-smoking gargoyles) who looked, for all the world, as if they had just come fresh from Hammer Films central casting. In these days of Football Armani-gement, those same managerial titans seem to give as much consideration to their clothing budget as they do on their transfer budget. From Joachim Low’s nifty line in hipster sweaters to Antonio Conte’s “smoother-than-an-otters-bottom” D&G suits; it would seem that contemporary managers have eschewed a cold lager for a Karl Lagerfeld! Indeed, Conte’s fashion conscious management style has seen him describe his Chelsea as a “suit in progress”. That being the case, their current form suggests that “suit” will, definitely, be more Mr Boateng than Mr Buyright.
For every “King-Edward-Faced” Bruce and “He-Wears-The-Club-Shop” Pulis there are nattier, more urbane models lounging in the heated seats. Eddie Howe’s ernest “Substitute-Geography-Teacher” and Pep Guardiola’s balding “scarf-wearer-of-the-year” being particular standouts. The trailblazing, poster boy for all this stylish…erm…style is one Mr J Mourinho. Way back when SrrrAlex’s purple tinged hooter battled it out with Wenger’s puffy jacket for most striking touchline accessory; in swept a salt & pepper haired young pretender. Pouting, frowning and arching the odd eyebrow, he charmed the Chelsea faithful (as well as hard nosed journo’s) with all and sundry falling in loving lockstep with his windswept coiffure. For a while there he had it all his own way…today, not so much. After a patchy second spell at Chelsea (4th place, Champions then MELTDOWN) behaviour that once seemed so unique and charming suddenly seemed petulant and annoying. Jose’s “Kay’s catalogue” sexy-frown, now replaced with a bitter, crumpled scowl…like some aging beauty queen passed over for the “Miss West London” title.
Now, he has regained some of his swagger at Old Trafford, in recent weeks, dragging United from also-rans to title contenders. But I do sometimes get the feeling that Jose is throwing envious, “Zoolander” style, zingers (in Conte’s direction) as he struts to Man United’s bench. Seeing the “Blue-Steely-Eyed” new boy being fated both with Abramovich’s millions, and the swooning attentions of Chelsea’s collected female contingent, must be more than his fragile ego can bear. With that in mind I’ve put together a “Zoolander” style walk off between the two Bronzed Adonii. It imagines Jose winning by two falls, one submission & a wedgie. It’s interrupted, with typically robust good humour, by another managerial pin-up…Jurgen Klopp. To me the grizzly German has a winning combo of old fashioned energy, sly contemporary style & (according to Jose himself) “a shared angriness” with the feisty Portuguese.
There IS more to being a Premier League manager than being, really, really RIDICULOUSLY good-looking, isn’t there?