Paul Galvin: Football managers' style
The beautiful game Never mind the players' bling, it's the managers who score highest in the style stakes, writes Paul Galvin
When Joan Laporta appointed Pep Guardiola as manager of Barcelona in 2008, he did so saying: "If I were reincarnated I'd like to be reborn as Pep Guardiola."
You really have to hand it to Guardiola. Serial winner, seriously stylish, women want to be with him and some men really do want to be him.
Soccer management has become a very stylish affair thanks to Guardiola and a few others.
The return of the premiership is always an exciting time for the lads. Super Sunday down the pub to watch the games. Out early and home early to a well-impressed wife/girlfriend who dutifully asks who won the match.
Match? There was a match? Lad mumbles unintelligibly before meandering off in the general direction of the couch to watch the matches he went out to see in the first place on 'MOTD'.
Its a funny old game. So they say anyway. I have a very good friend who went all the way to Manchester with the lads to watch his beloved United win 4-2 not long ago. A cracking weekend was had.
He returned home and saw the goals on Sky Sports news a few days later and wondered when his beloved United won 4-2! Couldn't remember a goal, never mind what the managers wore. Fact.
Which brings me to the three points. Soccer style. Watching last weekend's opening-day games, one thing became very apparent. The gaffers now have swagger. They dress to impress, even the new ones.
Swansea's Brendan Rodgers didn't look out of place beside Roberto Mancini. Both wore well-fitted, well-put-together suits. With jumpers.
V-neck jumpers seem to be an essential part of a manager's match-day look. Scarves are optional and only worn by those managers truly at ease with themselves and their own style. Mourinho started it. Mancini's blue and white 1950s-style scarf became a bestseller among Blue Noses. Bloody foreigners.
Bobby Manc, Rodgers, Mark Hughes, Harry Redknapp, Roberto Martinez... even Kenny Dalglish has upped his style game, all go for the jumper with a suit.
Gone are the days of the tracksuit-wearing manager, with a few exceptions such as Tony Pulis and David Moyes. But no one really cares about what they wear, do they?
The ultimate tracksuit manager was Brian Clough. He never cared about what he wore on match day. He wore a jumper on match day for years -- the same green Umbro one with tracksuit legs.
Big Ron Atkinson was the king of matchday bling. He wasn't afraid of fur coats, Ray-Ban shades or chunky gold jewellery.
The intervening years were style purgatory in management terms. Alex Ferguson went from a tracksuit to a black suit and no one really cared until United started winning everything in sight and everyone started to care a lot about seeing them beaten.
Then along came Mourinho. He strolled into English football with a cheeky grin and charisma that had media men swooning. He then proceeded to do everything he said he would, which was win everything in sight. What's more, he did it all with impeccable style. A cashmere scarf loosely tied around his neck and expensive Gucci loafers.
I've never seen a man yet to coordinate his hair colour with his clothes as well as Mourinho. Designer suits, Rolex watches and that famous grey Armani overcoat which eventually sold at a charity auction for £22,000.
But now Mourinho has met his match. A younger, better-looking, better-dressed version of himself. Guardiola has taken things to another level of winning.
This guy is 'GQ' with IQ. In fact, he was recently voted one of 'GQ's' most stylish men in a poll.
Be it in his casual clothes or matchday suits, he looks like the boss man. He's possessed with an intellect that allows him to enjoy poetry, philosophy, art, music and fashion -- yes, fashion! How absurd. He's a football manager; he can't be interested in fashion. It's not right. He can't possibly be straight. Ignorance like that can't really be bliss, can it?
It was rumours about his sexuality that finally pushed Guardiola to seek a move away from Spain to Italy. He has many friends in fashion, including Antonio Miró, for whom he modelled for in his younger days.
Little-known Miró is Catalan like the Barca boss and his design house is loved among the Spanish intellectual set. It's innovative and smart with inspirations rooted in art. Suits you sir.
It's been interesting to watch his style evolve. In his earlier managerial days, he had a more casual style. Today he is impeccably tailored in bespoke suits. Last time I saw him on the line, he wore a short-sleeved white shirt, a black tie and black trousers for a late-evening kick-off. Simple and classic.
Jumpers and cardigans are worn over shirt and tie, and his appreciation of colour is commendable.
From grey suits with navy or burgundy jumpers to navy suits with grey jumpers and the classic black tie look, he rarely gets it wrong.
Tailors and retailers in London were inundated by men looking for the 'Pep suit' after the Champions League final this year. Guardiola wore a slim-fit black bespoke suit and women suddenly took a keen interest in how Barca were faring.
Of course they won. They're still winning and, with Guardiola, they're winning with style.