Any football manager faces tough decisions on a match day. What tactics to play? 4-5-1 or 4-4-2? But one of the most important choices involves touchline attire. Dress to impress or casual comfort? Or combine the two looks if you are Arsene Wenger. So who is best suited to the job? And who commits a fashion faux-pas?
The ‘Sexy and they know it’
Jose Mourinho – Undoubtedly top of the list is Mr Cool himself. Mourinho dubbed himself ‘the special one’ and therefore has a lot to live up to. He certainly does so in both the managerial stakes and his choice of styles. Everything Jose touches turns to gold, and in all honesty he could wear a polka dot tutu on the touchline and still pull it off.
Billy Prendergast of Present Fashion says: “The famous Armani Coat suited him down to the ground, keeping him looking rough, but still saying he knew what he was doing”
Andre Villas-Boas –Given he has inherited the same career path, it is only right that ‘Jose Mark 2’ should dress in a similar way to his compatriot. In fact AVB looks remarkably like his former mentor with the same quaffed hair and chiseled jaw to match the fancy suits. Is the apprentice set to inherit the master’s mantle of best dressed as well as his Chelsea job?
BP: “Although he had tough shoes to fill, AVB’s age comes to his advantage when wearing a suit, much more than other managers in the league.”
Alan Pardew – His Newcastle side have caught the eye this season, propelling themselves into the Champions League spots, while Pardew himself has claimed the plaudits. Not just for his role in masterminding this spurt of form, but for his snappy dress sense, sporting a series of designer suits that have grasped the attention of the fashion world. Pardew is now allegedly being lined up for photo shoots and his prowling up and down the touchline will stand him in good stead for the catwalk.
BP: “The best dressed of the English boys, better than Steve McClaren’s brolly any day.”
Roberto Mancini – There were doubts over Roberto’s appointment after Mark Hughes’ sacking but he won the hearts of the City faithful, sporting the infamous blue-and-white scarf that has become his trademark feature. Mancini then gained style icon status, as City bosses launched his own clothing range, whilst he picked up the ‘Golden Scarf’ in 2011 for being the Premiership’s best dressed manager.
BP: “Surprisingly the only Italian on the list, Mancini encompasses Italian style and consistently looks sharp in a suit”
Takeshi Okada – Unheard of in this continent, the Japanese manager resigned from his role as Head Coach of his country after last summer’s World Cup, having done a lot for football in the Far East. Aside from his exploits in progressing to the 2nd round in South Africa, losing out narrowly on penalties to Paraguay, he turned the side into a stylish, slick passing football team. Slick and stylish also neatly summarises his dress sense as well and although Keisuke Honda is the nation’s current heartthrob, his former manager has turned a few heads in the fashion world.
BP: “Only Japan would be able to secure Dunhill as their suit sponsors and only a Japanese manager would make a Dunhill suit as crisp as it deserves to look.”
Pep Guardiola – The man who has conquered all before him with his Barcelona side that have football purists purring with delight. Pep also has the same effect on female fans, with a wardrobe that matches his side’s silky on-field skills. His skinny-fit ties and sublime suits complement the designer stubble and rugged good lucks, ensuring that Guardiola always looks a million dollars.
BP: “Like AVB his age helps him massively in the fact that he wears a suit that actually fits him, and he does not have a particularly offensive face.”
Paulo Sousa – Even though his managerial career can hardly be classified as a success, Paulo has still caught the eye despite such failure. Managing QPR,Swanseaand then Leicester ensured the Championship had something to keep them entertained amongst the dreary long ball tactics that clog up the division. His appearance in England hasn’t gone unnoticed by the professionals either, earning him a spot at No.37 in GQ’s best dressed man poll. Impressive for a man who now manages Videoton in Hungary.
BP: “Armani jackets, crisp white shirts, slim fit trousers; this man has the lot.”
And the ‘Have you been dragged through a hedge backwards?’
Tony Pulis – Although Pulis is working wonders for Stoke City, his favourite garments are almost as eye-catching as his style of football. Never seen without his favoured tracksuit and baseball cap, Tony looks remarkably like he’s about to spend the day fishing in the Scottish Highlands. Though some Premiership Managers can pull off the tracksuit on the touchline, Pulis never fails to look shabbier than the rest. Though I’m sure James Beattie wouldn’t complain about Tony wearing clothes after their naked dressing room bust-up.
BP: “Would it kill him to try and make an effort on match days?”
Ron Atkinson – Big Ron enjoyed a relatively successful career managing a series of top-flight clubs, which meant an unfortunately large number of supporters got to ‘enjoy’ the delights of his wardrobe. His long trench-coats and dark glasses fit the image of a low-profile mob boss and a collection of distinctly boring grey suit jackets had people across the country calling for the fashion police. Upon retirement from management, he traded in his fashion clangers for microphone howlers, suggesting Ron Atkinson was never quite cut out for the high-profile world of modern football.
BP: “Wears the sort of jacket a Charity Shop would turn down. Doesn’t suit his bald patch either.”
Joachim Low – The vast majority of the time, the German boss looks a traditionally, albeit rather plainly, dressed man. Except for the World Cup. Whether or not the smart-casual look he attempted was a reflection of the youthful vigour of the side he selected, it looked terrible. Designer jackets and cardigans are not intended to be matched with V-Neck jumpers, especially when your assistant, Hans Dieter Flick wears exactly the same outfit. The Chuckle Brothers made a better dressed couple.
BP: “The V-Neck uniform was just bizarre, very very eurotrash, and definitely not appropriate for managing an international side at a major tournament”
Billy Prendergast works for Present, recently voted the 12th best shop in London.