Just as there are different styles of sports management, there are also different styles of sports managers. Football coaches, for all the millions they earn, like to keep in lock step with the militaristic approach of their sport by donning whatever logo team wear is made available to them. And there’s nothing that will make a fashionista cringe faster than watching a paunchy 50-something baseball skipper waddle his way to the pitcher’s mound in double knits.
Hockey coaches are well-suited behind the bench, but with more than a dozen players blocking the view, you don’t appreciate the time and effort that they put into their wardrobe. Basketball coaches, like their soccer brethren, prowl the sideline in full view of the camera’s eye, so any wardrobe malfunctions are on display for all to see.
With the sporting world’s attention drawn to the World Cup, let’s see which managers are setting the style standard and which are patterning their look after a style best forgotten.
The Trend Setter
There’s an old joke that soccer is a game where 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, Germany wins. While that’s not always the case, Germany certainly sets the standard for the World Cup, and brooding German manager Joachim Löw is the standard bearer when it comes to managerial style. He mixes sleek black and grey suits with his ever-present and perfectly-knotted scarves. The Beatle haircut, piercing black eyes and perma-scowl only add to the intrigue.
Dude, Where’s Your Tie?
There will be plenty of draws at the World Cup, but there will be no ties around the neck of Brazil’s Tite. It would be wrong to suggest that Brazilian manager is a sloppy dresser. He’s got the sharp dress shirts, the slick tailored suit, but that ever-present open collar suggests that he hasn’t quite figured out style just yet.
The Tracksuit Guy
There’s one in every bunch, someone who didn’t get the memo that they’ve made it big and should dress for the part, and this year, it’s Argentina’s Jorge Sampaoli. In charge of a contender featuring Lionel Messi, the gem of the World Cup, instead of dressing for success, Sampaoli dresses like he’s going to a training session.
France’s Didier Deschamps bears a striking resemblance to John Mahoney, the actor who portrayed Kelsey Grammer’s dad on Frasier, and he dresses like a dad, too. With his perennial blue suit sans tie, and his pants struggling to hold in the burgeoning belly of his dad bod, you know Deschamps has a comfy chair and a faithful dog at home.
The Frat Boy
Spain’s Fernando Hierro comes so close to pulling it off. His suits are sharp, his ties crisp. If only he didn’t opt to go with that team coat of arms on the right front pocket of his sport coat. You’re all grown up now Fernando, so why dress like you’re still in boarding school?
The Pensive Detective
Do you suppose that England’s Gareth Southgate realizes that he’s channeling David Tennant in Broadchurch with his wardrobe? The scruffy beard, the pensive stare, the traditional cop-like blue suit, you can almost hear Southgate bellowing “Miller.”
The Stylish Rastafarian
Senegal’s Aliou Cisse has got it going on. With his combination of dreadlocks, horn-rimmed glasses, slick black suits and skinny ties, his look says you want to party with me, but you don’t want to mess with me.
The Happy Hoodie
Iceland manager Heimir Hallgrimsson could be mistaken for one of his players, he spends so much time in polo shirts, tracksuits and hoodies. You could also easily mistake him for New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, if Hallgrimsson weren’t smiling all of the time.
Few at the World Cup can pull off as many looks and make them all work as well as Colombia’s Jose Pekerman. He always appears as if he walked off the cover of a magazine, mixing traditional grey and blue suits with colourful print ties. Pekerman even makes the winter coat and scarf look natural. He never has a hair out of place and his winning smile only adds to his panache.