Style evolution: The Manager
By Matt Glazebrook, 27 April 2015
As the football season draws to a close, it's time to reflect on another year when the guys on the sidelines have been as much in the spotlight as those on the pitch. Whether it's Jose Mourinho's midfield-packing ruthlessness, Arsène Wenger's newfound willingness to tweak a tried and tested formula or Louis Van Gaal's attempt to fit his hefty global reputation into an Alex Ferguson-shaped hole, 2014/15 has provided plenty of reminders that the football manager's days as a mere dressing room motivator are long gone. And with ever-increasing scrutiny comes added focus on how each coach shapes up, sartorially speaking. So here's our quick guide to the evolution of coaching couture.
For a long time, the correct and proper attire for a football coach was Sunday best. Suit, coat, bowler hat... and probably a pipe or two. All the better for quietly commanding respect from your young charges without doing anything un-British like standing out, or making a fuss.
Come the 70s, however, the footy manager had begun to become a little more flamboyant, albeit in a macho, cigar-chomping manner. The Del Boy-style sheepskin coat was his key weapon – flashy yet manly and warm enough to withstand a windswept afternoon on the touchline bellowing instructions. Check out the Crystal Palace coaching team here, for a near clean sweep of shearling cosiness.
The 80s brought the era of big sportswear and, as Adidas, Admiral, Umbro et al clad the world's footballers in bold logos and bright synthetics, so the branded tracksuit became the uniform of choice for the coaching fraternity. Big, wire-framed glasses, as modelled by a young Arsène Wenger, were an optional extra.
You can thank José Mourinho for the current GQ-approved era of manager style. From the moment the Portuguese tactician sauntered onto the scene in a well-fitting suit, scarf neatly tied in a Parisian knot and hair artfully tousled, it signalled to his rivals that they needed to seriously up their game.
Nowadays, when every coach worth his salt is clad in a smart charcoal suit and thin V-neck jumper, those with aspirations towards top, top manager status have to go that extra sartorial mile. Barcelona boss Luis Enrique boldly pairs a slim-fit two-piece with monochrome Nikes, while Bayern Munich's Pep Guardiola accessorises the standard 'classy Euro manager' greyscale tailoring with an absolutely enormous scarf. It's touches like these that separate mid-table mediocrity from the Champions League semi-finals of football coach style.