It’s hardly surprising that a profession which features David Moyes and Sam Allardyce as prominent figures is not one typically associated with high-end fashion.
Both men would be a scary proposition walking down a catwalk, with the latter presumably using his fellow models as toothpicks. Moyes meanwhile would struggle to do justice to any spring collection with that malnourished mush of his.
Yet things are changing if Euro 2020 is a reliable barometer, with technical areas now populated with suave, sophisticated, and stylish forty-somethings who could legit appear in aftershave ads while reducing divorcees to a quiver with a mere straightening of their tie.
The stereotype of a football coach being dragged backwards through Sports Direct is being relegated to the past because here come the cool guys, debonair and appreciative of a well-cut lapel. And about time too.
To celebrate, here’s our top ten best dressed gaffers strutting a pose on the touchline at this summer’s tournament.
10. Fernando Santos (Portugal)
It’s not big and it’s not clever – and if you’re a teen picking up the habit these days you really need your head testing – but still, a manager smoking is a fine sight indeed.
It evokes Cruyff and Menotti and an era when middle-aged men’s faces were wrinkled maps to their lifelong toil. Santos rocks the look well, resembling a hit-man in the employment of Tony Soprano.
As far as haute couture goes, the 66-year-old Lisbon native keeps it simple and with a single-breasted suit and a dishevelled tie it’s all very understated. All the better to creep up on a target so long as the heady aroma of Gauloises doesn’t give him away.
9. Gareth Southgate (England)
The Three Lions boss barely squeaks in here because his latest attire – a collared knit under a lightweight grey suit – leaves a lot to be desired.
How could he be omitted however, after bumping M&S waistcoat sales up by 35% during that memorable summer of 2018.
It was a brave choice back then to appear like he was off to a wedding function post-presser but he pulled it off with consummate ease.
8. Andriy Shevchenko (Ukraine)
The striking ledge doesn’t stray beyond what works for him and what he knows and subsequently he looks all the better for it.
The most adventurous the forward/politician/coach gets is to occasionally reach for an overcoat and given the icy winds from the Urals that’s fine by us.
7. Markku Kanerva (Finland)
Before leading his country into their first ever major championship, Kanerva was an elementary school teacher and there is a certain scholarly charm to his dress sense that errs towards utilitarian, never showy.
All told, his apparel is entirely relatable, with shirts, jackets and club-crested weatherproofs that can be purchased online without denting the bank balance. Let’s not be snobs here. That’s a plus.
6. Didier Deschamps (France)
There is an admirable gallic nonchalance to the way Deschamps pulls off an open shirt under a well-tailored suit, the latter appearing to be perfectly ordinary even if in reality it costs more than we shell out for a foreign holiday.
The former water-carrier loses points however for sometimes donning a sportscoat whereupon he resembles a PE teacher attempting to look smart for parents evening.
5. Franco Foda (Austria)
The German whose name translates as ‘free intercourse’ in Portuguese, tends to favour a crisp dark shirt under a grey jacket, a classic and unfussy combination that finds the right balance.
He’s in charge but he is also approachable. Ties, after all, are for managers who keep their office door closed.
4. Frank De Boer (Holland)
Never less than ice-cool and bespoke, De Boer effortlessly carries off the kind of two-pieces that are splashed across twenty pages of GQ every issue.
Unfailingly he looks the business.
With barely a misstep in his sartorial past, this is a manager who plays it safe on the park and on the rack but in both instances perhaps a dash of risk wouldn’t hurt.
I mean, would an orange pocket-square really be so bad?
3. Paulo Sousa (Poland)
Now we’re talking. The salt ‘n’ pepper hair. The suave demeanour and made-to-measure suits that look ‘just so’.
With less morals and a criminal inclination this is a man who could talk your mum out of your inheritance and somehow get you to pay for his coffee to go.
In 2010 Sousa failed quite spectacularly at Leicester and though the Foxes consequently went on to secure a fantastical title and later bring in Brendan Rodgers, just look at what they could have won. A swoonsome, immaculately-attired Bond baddie, that’s what.
2. Luis Enrique (Spain)
It’s a depressing truth to acknowledge for anyone who has piled on lockdown weight this past year, but there does seem to be a direct correlation between managers looking sharp and having a well-toned physique.
This certainly applies to Enrique, who unquestionably possesses an innate sense of style but also happens to have a middle-aged God-bod.
It’s easy to admire him for this. It’s easier still to hate him for it.
1. Roberto Mancini (Italy)
Ladies and gentleman, all rise for the inspiration behind this article.
A man who somehow has the body of an Action Man figure despite knocking into his late fifties. A man who exudes discernment despite having a fiery temperament.
A man who recently told Esquire: “I find that the classic elegance of the peacoat for me is an irreplaceable, versatile, perfect garment. A garment of the seafaring tradition adapted to our everyday life.”
Now imagine Graham Potter saying that.
Football doesn’t deserve Bobby Manc and his dead-drop attire. He is nothing short of bellissimo.